Understanding Express and Implied Warranties

If you’ve ever purchased an electronic device or home appliance before, you might be familiar with the sales pitch for purchasing an extended warranty. Generally, a warranty is a promise made by either a manufacturer or seller that the item being sold is as promised. While warranties aren’t limited to electronic devices alone, they do come in two forms, express and implied warranties. Understanding the difference between the two, and what rules apply, can help you identify any issues that may arise.


Express Warranties

Sometimes a legal term will leave you scratching your head, wondering what it means. An express warranty is not such a term. As you might have guessed, an express warranty is a warranty that is made explicitly, usually through writing. While express warranties do not have to be made in writing, most are. A common example of an express warranty is the one-year warranty that generally comes with consumer products ranging from watches to televisions. While there are no standard types of warranties, a manufacturer or seller that is making the warranty will still be bound by any express warranty it makes.


Implied Warranties

Implied warranties, however, are not explicitly stated, and come in two main categories. These are the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. An implied warranty of merchantability warrants that a product will reasonably perform the purpose for which it was designed. An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, however, states that a product will perform a specific purpose for which the individual purchased the product. While this might sound like the two categories cover the same type of matters, there is a subtle difference between the two. While the implied warranty of merchantability simply warrants that the product do what it was designed to do, the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose requires involvement from the seller. In order to create an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, the seller must know of the particular purpose for which a purchaser will use the item, and the purchaser must rely on the seller’s skills or judgment to select an item.


Bringing Suit

While both express and implied warranties are governed by the federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, they are also regulated by state law, with the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act deferring to state law in the event of a conflict. In addition, your state’s version of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) may provide some minimal protections for consumers.


Under both state law and the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, consumers may bring a lawsuit in the event that either a manufacturer or seller breaches an express or implied warranty. Grounds for the suit include failure to honor a written warranty, failure to honor an implied warranty, and failure to honor a service contract agreement. Should the consumer come out victorious, he may be able to recover damages from the breach, along with any remedies available under state or federal law.


Contact an Attorney

While consumer law can be tricky to deal with at times, there is no reason for you to navigate the law on your own. If you are looking for a dedicated, experienced attorney, then contact the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. to make an appointment today.