Updated November 3, 2020:

Types of Warranty

The types of warranty you receive depends on state laws and the type of merchandise you buy. In essence, warranties are the guarantee of the quality and/or performance of products. A warranty can be oral or written, and it is essentially a guarantee from the seller.

Most consumer purchases are covered by warranties, even if they are not explicitly noted. Under the law, two types of warranties exist and are enforced via the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): express and implied. The UCC applies in all states and the District of Columbia, and it is a means of consolidating all laws on commerce to make interstate legal issues more efficient.

Also, this allows all states to adopt the same definitions. In 2003, a revised version of Article Two of the UCC was approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and American Law Institute. With that, no state had adopted Article Two, as of 2006.

Warranty Types

Most people also believe that a warranty is primarily a written guarantee from the seller, but there are variations. It’s also vital to bear in mind that a seller may sell an item “as is,” in which case, a warranty would not apply.

Express Warranties

For instance, express warranties may take various forms. Whether it is written or spoken, it is a guarantee that a product meets a certain standard of reliability and quality. An express warranty may take the following forms:

  • Statements made during negotiations
  • Tags on a sample or product
  • A sales agreement

Express warranties may also be provided in three key ways:

  • Via supplier affirmation to a purchaser regarding the products
  • Via description of services or goods
  • Via a model or sample, which are used during the bargaining or sales negotiations process

Express warranty is also a warranty that manufacturers create, and it is the kind you would recognize most. If an item fails, the producer would replace or fix the product at no extra charge. Many warranties are found on product packaging or are available as an additional choice.

For instance, if you choose to purchase a toaster with a one-year warranty against any defects, this would be an express warranty that would bind the manufacturer to fix or replace the item if it’s defective. Express warranty does not mean it has to be in written form. Oral warranties are just as valid.

A notable example of an express warranty would be: “All four tires last for 250,000 miles.”A verbal express warranty can also come in a simple form, such as a car salesman telling a potential customer, “I assure you that the engine will last at least 100,000 miles.”

If a vehicle does not live up to such a claim, the buyer can go to the seller, although proving a warranty in this case would be hard because it was only in oral form. Other warranties can be stated in writing, but they may not resemble traditional warranties. For instance, a light bulb manufacturer noted the following on the packaging: “Bulb will last 10,000 hours.” The words “warranty” and “guaranteed” would not appear on certain prints, but the claim would still be an express warranty. You should also take note of statements such as “these tires last a lifetime.” Such a statement does not qualify as an express warranty.

Implied Warranties

Most consumer purchases are covered by implied warranties for merchandise. This means that the product is guaranteed to work. For example, a vacuum cleaner does not generate sufficient suction to clean the average carpet and is in violation of the implied warranty. Another example is if you purchase a refrigerator that has an implied warranty stating that the fridge will work as intended. If the fridge does not cool properly, the manufacturer does not have an express warranty in place, but the implied warranty would still take effect.

Federal law states that products must abide by the following standards:

  • Must adhere to standards of trade as applicable to the contract
  • Must be suitable for purposes for which goods are usually used, even if the buyer otherwise ordered them for use
  • Must have sufficient quantity and adhere to quality standards within the confines of the contract
  • Must be labeled and packaged as prescribed under an agreement
  • Must meet package label specifications, even if it is not specified under the contract sale

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