You are in:
Your most-popular ride suddenly breaks down a week before the big holiday weekend. You’ve been on the phone with the manufacturer but cannot fix the problem without a new part. Unfortunately, you cannot locate the part you need locally and are forced to order from overseas. You are short on time, money, and stressed about whether you will get the ride operable again before the big weekend. Your tendency is to rush into a purchase, often by telephone, to ensure you can get your ride operating again quickly. Stop. Rushing into a purchase, without proper documentation, can leave you with the wrong part and cost you thousands.
We live in a digital age. Every park should have a digital camera on site at all times. Photograph the part being replaced and make sure at least one shot shows an identifying mark on the part, including a serial number or part number if there is one. If the part is visibly broken, photograph the defect so you can show what was broken before you removed or replaced it. The photograph(s) should be sent, via e-mail, to the seller of the replacement part so they can determine the appropriate part needed. Language barriers and different terms used to describe a part may otherwise confuse the order.
Second, document by e-mail or fax what part you are purchasing, the cost, shipping costs and terms. If you are agreeing to return the broken part, be sure to take detailed photographs and e-mail them to the seller who is accepting the “exchange.” Ship the broken part and request a delivery receipt from the courier to ensure you have proof it was received by the seller.
Finally, your “order,” whether on an official part order form or by e-mail/fax, should contain terms relating to any warranty on the new part, any credit or discount for the returned broken part, and other terms relating to the timing for the order. If you need the part immediately, the order should specify that ”time is of the essence” and provide for a penalty against the seller if the part is not shipped within your agreed time frame. After all, for each day your ride is down, you are losing profits.
In sum, properly documenting, both in writing and with photographs, the terms of a replacement part purchase can save you time and money, as well as additional stress. Even in cases involving the most dire need for the part, take the extra few minutes to thoroughly confirm the purchase, and any exchange of parts, to ensure you are protected.
Heather Eichenbaum is an attorney with Spector Gadon & Rosen PC, located in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Florida. Clients include Six Flags, Steel Pier, Gillian’s Wonderland, Holiday World and Reithoffer Shows. Heather can be reached at +1 215-241-8856 or firstname.lastname@example.org