A product warranty is a promise or a guarantee by a product manufacturer to stand by the product for a specified amount of time from when a customer purchases it. It is a way by which good manufacturers give assurance that their products will perform to specified or promised levels or will meet set conditions. Under product warranties, the manufacturer usually agrees to fix or replace the product if it becomes defective in one way or another during the specified time period.

Warranties are very common with new goods, and most are sold with an implied warranty that they are as advertised. Used or second-hand goods don’t usually have any warranty, implied or otherwise, and are sold “as is” with no promises.

Implied warranties

Implied warranties are exactly that; implied. They are not written down anywhere but are born of the nature of the transaction as well as the intrinsic comprehension of the customer as opposed to what the seller expressly represents. Implied warranties are covered by federal law and are adopted differently by each state. Under the United States Constitution, the following warranties are implied unless the seller explicitly declares otherwise:

  • Warranty of merchantability – a merchantable good is one that conforms to a customer’s expectation. This kind of warranty is implied except when the seller disclaims it. A seller may also circumvent it when he/she sells with the phrase “as is”.
  • Warranty of aptness for a specific purpose – when a customer depends on the retailer to select goods suited for a particular purpose or task, then an implied warranty is bone unless disclaimed. This means that the warranty is broken if the seller selects a product that does not conform to the request of the buyer.

Written contracts

Although not a requirement by law, most new products come with a written warranty that the buyer can produce to demand compensation or repair.

These are usually in form of paperwork included when the product is purchased although some companies have their written contracts inform of a code that directs to a softcopy warranty. Written warranties show how long the warranty is, who to contact in the case of provoking the warranty, what parts or defects are covered under the warranty and other conditions and limitations.

Spoken warranties

These constitute a salesperson making an oral promise that the product will work or an oral commitment to take responsibility if the product fails in some way. Spoken warranties are not very popular since there is no way to prove them. It is always advised to get everything in writing.