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52. Product Warranties

Product Warranties

Product Warranties Law is an aspect of Consumer Protection stemming from a seller’s promises about a product that product he/she/it is selling. Based on state and federal law, products ranging from toasters to cars to washing machines to lamps, etc., have warranties for the benefit of a consumer who buys those products. Warranties (promises) can be express or implied. An “Express Warranty” is specifically stated, usually in writing; for example, the buyer of a new washing machine might be given a written 1-year express warranty guaranteeing the washing machine’s performance and for repairs/parts/replacement if the washing machine does not perform correctly during that year. An “Implied Warranty” is one imposed by law on the seller to protect a buyer’s reasonable expectations about a product. Based in the federal Uniform Commercial Code, followed in some variation by every state, there are 2 types of implied warranties: the “Warranty of Merchantability” and the “Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose.” An implied Warranty of Merchantability means that a product must reasonably conform to an ordinary buyer's expectations. For example, an ordinary buyer of a washing machine would expect it to work the way washing machines usually do; if this washing machine doesn’t have a rinse cycle, for example, then the washing machine breaches the Warranty of Merchantability. A Warrant of Merchantability always exists unless the seller states that there is no Warrant of Merchantability or the product is sold “as is.” An implied “Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose” means that the buyer is relying on the seller to provide a product that performs a specific function and the product does perform that function. For example, an underwater camera must be waterproof; if a retailer sells an underwater camera that is not waterproof, then the seller breaches the implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose.

When a warranty is breached, consumers are empowered by laws and statutes to force sellers, distributors and/or manufacturers of the product to repair or replace the product and/or to pay money damages. Lawyers specializing in Product Warranties Law are familiar with federal and his/her state’s regulations about express and implied warranties and may represent individuals/organizations on either side of a warranty argument.


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