Understanding Express vs. Implied Warranties

Buyers' Training
June 13, 2012 — 2,508 views  
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When most people consider what a warranty is, they immediately think about when they bought their latest touchscreen cell phone and they decided to purchase one that came with a warranty. This warranty was basically a promise saying that if something happened to the phone - if it got dropped in the bathtub or the screen was cracked - it would be replaced or fixed free of charge. However, another type of warranty is when a company tells a customer that the cell phone can work underwater up to 10 feet. Warranties in this sense are typically what is referred to as an express warranty. Other examples of express warranties might be when an auto company says a car will get 30 miles to the gallon or when a cosmetic brand says lipstick will stay on for up to eight hours.

According to Cornell University Law School, express warranties are described under the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.). The article states these are warranties by the seller in which a promise or affirmation of fact is made to the buyer that relates to the goods being purchased. Express warranties are descriptions about the goods or products being sold to the buyer. Unlike a warranty that some people might think of, where it promises the product will be fixed if A, B or C happens, this is simply an affirmation of the value of the goods. The U.C.C. notes that the words "warrant" or "guarantee" are not required when making an express warranty.

Another type of warranty outlined under the U.C.C. is an implied warranty. This is when the warranty is not specifically stated, but implied, as the name would suggest. Implied warranties allow a buyer to purchase products or goods with confidence that the goods meet certain standards. Cadden & Fuller Attorneys at Law explain this ended the old adage of 'buyer beware.' These type of warranties either state that the goods are fit for a particular purpose or create the merchantability of the items being sold.

The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) says that almost every purchase by consumers is covered by an implied warranty and these warranties are created by state law. A warranty of merchantability promises the buyer that the item being purchased will do what it is intended for - a blender will blend and a bowtie will tie. The other type of implied warranty that promises a product is fit for a particular purpose might be if a retailer said a rain jacket was intended to protect from the rain.

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