If my computer operating program automatic updates, constantly reboots, wastes my time and costs me money as a small business, do I have any grounds to sue?

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If my computer operating program automatic updates, constantly reboots, wastes my time and costs me money as a small business, do I have any grounds to sue?

After going through every tutorial and guide I could find to disable the

automatic updates, it constantly reboots and resets settings from programs it has no business touching. Earlier in the year, when I had a lot work for clients I’d put my PC into sleep mode. At which point, it would self-wake anywhere between 1-3 am. This had caused me enormous stress.

This woke me up in the middle of the night for a week straight since I have a

loud PC. In the morning, all of my programs and windows were closed, because of

the midnight reboot.

The only option here is to ‘change the active hours,’ to a time when I’m not


After doing so, I woke up this morning, after weeks of finally being able to

work without interruption, and wake up my PC. Normally I’m not awake at these

hours, so that’s when the ‘non-active hours were set.’ Lo and behold, I walk

out of my office for 5 minutes to grab a cup of coffee and come back to all of

my programs and windows closed again, waiting for an update. Half an hour of my

time gone again. For what must be the 10th time…

What documentation do I need to prove this is causing undue stress and

financial losses?

Asked on May 25, 2018 under Business Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the program is defective, you may be able to sue for the cost of the program (to get your money back) but for no more than that; or if the computer is defective, for the value of the computer. The seller of a defective product is generally liable only for the cost/value of the product.
Furthermore, you have a duty to "mitigate" or limit your losses through reasonable steps--like getting a different computer, downloading different software, and/or bringing the machine into something like "Geek Squad" to fix it and its software for you. If you don't take reasonable steps to reduce your loss, you can't recover any compensation for those things which you could have avoided.
Also, you can never recover for your stress--the law simply does not provide compensation for the stress someone experiences dealing with a problem or set back.
And as to financial loss, in addition to the fact that the law would expect you to take steps to reduce it--like bringing your machine in to be fixed or getting a new computer or software so you can work effectively--you have the problem that would have to show that it would be reasonaly foreseeable to the vendor that the problem you describe would cause a small business a financial loss, since you can only recover for reasonably foreseeable losses or damages. This may be difficult to show.
For all these reasons, you are unlikely to be able to recover for anything more than the cost of the defective software and/or computer.

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