To understand the express or implied warranty definition, you first need to understand what warranties are. A warranty is, generally, offered by a manufacturer or seller of a product. Warranties are typically made in writing and there is also such a thing known as an express warranty. An express warranty does not have to be in written form to be considered legit.

Which Entities Govern Warranties?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act governs written express warranties. It is a federal law and is recognized in several states. This act outlines a variety of requirements that must be included in written warranties, such as disclaimers and limitations. The Federal Trade Commission is the entity that issues certain regulations that are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Act. The Act doesn't in any way limit a consumer's rights according to state law, neither does it limit remedies.

It's also worth noting that express warranties are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) as well. The UCC was not meant to provide protection over the rights of consumers. Instead, its purpose is to protect transactions that take place between merchants. The protection offered by the UCC is usually viewed as being fairly low.

What Is an Express Warranty?

An express warranty is a promise made by a seller or manufacturer. It is usually written in statement form, however, it can come in verbal form too. For example, an auto dealer may make an express warranty to provide all maintenance on your car for a period of three months after you purchase it. Although this warranty can come in verbal form, it is usually in the best interest of the consumer to obtain it in written form.

Express warranties are commonly seen in advertisements. Take for example, you see an advertisement that states a piece of clothing is made purely of 100 percent cotton. If you purchase the shirt and discover it's not made entirely of cotton, this means the warranty has been breached and the seller needs to remedy the problem.

How Do Express and Implied Warranties Differ?

There is a difference between an express warranty and an implied warranty. Express warranties can come in written or verbal form. Implied warranties are automatic and provide protection to consumers when goods have a value that exceeds a certain amount. This protection for the consumer is considered a base level of protection.

The purpose of an express warranty is to guarantee that the product or service being sold will meet a certain quality standard. More so, that the product or service will be reliable.

Example of a Verbal Express Warranty

An example of a verbal express warranty is when an auto salesperson informs a customer that "the engine in this car will last at least another 125,000 miles." If the customer purchases the car and the engine doesn't last for another 125,000 miles, the buyer can then contact the seller and ask for a remedy. As stated before, though, verbal warranties are sometimes hard to prove in a lawsuit.

What Is an Implied Warranty?

Implied warranties are unlike express warranties in that they arise from the circumstance of the sale being made or they stem from the actual sale itself. They come in two forms:

  • An implied warranty of merchantability
  • An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose

An implied warranty of merchantability outlines how a product must perform in a reasonable manner according to the purpose that it was designed to achieve. An implied warranty of fitness, however, states that a product will meet the specific needs of a customer. It's important to understand that the purpose for which a product was designed may not always be why a consumer purchases it. His or her reason for using the product may differ from its original intended purpose.

When a seller makes an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, this means he or she understands the intended use of the product by the consumer. Knowing this type of information is not required when a seller makes an implied warranty of merchantability. For example, if a customer comes into a jewelry shop and says he wants to buy a watch that will perform well while scuba diving at a depth of 50 feet in the water, then the jeweler can make an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose by stating the watch will perform well in this depth of water.

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