Updated November 5, 2020:

Breach of Warranty Remedies

Breach of warranty remedies could entail solving a warranty breach problem via arbitration or settling the matter in court. If you sign an agreement to buy a product and it ends up defective, you may have to sue the seller for being in breach of a warranty or agreement. An agreement and warranty sound the same, but they come with different legal meanings.

Any time a company offers a service or product to the public, it comes with automatic promises in the form of a warranty pertaining to the quality of such services and goods. Sellers and manufacturers usually provide warranties with products, otherwise known as express warranties. Whether the service or product comes with an express warranty, the law also gives consumers the option of implied warranties to protect them against deceptive sales techniques and defective merchandise. If a merchant is in violation of a warranty, consumers may invoke their rights via federal and state law, including statutory claims and common law.

Breach Types

Breaches can come in immaterial or material form. Immaterial breaches occur when a court decides that damage does not have an effect on warranty terms, such as a mark on the side of a new flat-screen TV. Since the scratch does not prevent the TV from working, it would be considered immaterial. On the other hand, a flat-screen TV that does not operate would constitute a material breach. Merchants create an express warranty by making a certain guarantee regarding the quality of its services and goods.

  • Example:  An appliance manufacturer should guarantee that a refrigerator model is free from defects for a certain time of one year from the purchase date. If a refrigerator does not work during a one-year period because of a manufacturing or design flaw, instead of the damage being done by the consumer, the manufacturer must provide any remedy stated in the warranty to replace the unit.

Other express warranties of a refrigerator may include guarantees by a seller or distributor that the unit would be delivered to a consumer that’s free of damage, or a guarantee from an appliance repair company that assures you that the repairs will last for a certain time period. Also, merchants are not always required to issue express warranties, but it is a good business practice to do so.

Implied Warranties

Various implied warranties apply regardless of whether express warranties exist. The implied warranty regarding merchantability also applies to the selling of goods. It ensures that goods match the description stated within an agreement and either match or exceed the stated quality.

If a consumer requests goods for a certain purpose and tells the seller of the purpose, the implied warranty regarding its fitness yields additional assurances on the consumer’s end. Such an implied warranty ensures that, in addition to the general notion of merchantability, the goods will be suited for its intended purpose.

The implied warranty pertaining to habitability also protects tenants where residential leases are concerned. While state laws mostly mandate that landlords keep leased properties in safe conditions, such as commencing regular repairs and general upkeep in accordance with housing codes, an implied warranty yields additional protections.

Uniform Commercial Code

Article Two of the UCC establishes the obligations and rights of sellers and buyers in regards to implied and express warranties in the selling of goods. Sellers must note that it has the authorization to transfer the goods to a buyer and that such goods are free of unmentioned liens. The UCC defines implied warranties of fitness and merchantability, and it establishes parameters in the creation of express warranties.

Moreover, it creates limits on the ability of a seller to exclude an implied warranty from the sales agreement for the buyer to discard such warranties. Consumers may invoke warranties via civil claims for the breach of the agreement. All 49 states, including Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, and additional U.S. territories, have adopted Article Two.

However, Louisiana has a different legal system rooted in European civil law instead of English common law when it comes to the governance of selling goods. Civil codes in Louisiana allow for warranties that are the same in UCC, including a warranty that goods are free of defects and fit for an intended purpose.

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