In most cases, any item purchased is covered by some kind of warranty. A warranty (also known as a guarantee) is a type of assurance from the manufacturer or merchant about the quality of goods or services purchased. A warranty gives consumers recourse if something they buy fails to live up to what they were promised.
Warranties take two forms: implied or expressed. A seller may also sell a product “as is,” meaning that the product comes with no warrantee at all. Implied warranties are just that; they are not written or stated, but exist nonetheless. Almost everything customers buy comes with two implied warranties:
- The implied warranty of merchantability: The implied warranty of merchantability warrants or guarantees that a new product will work correctly as long as customers use it for a reasonably expected purpose. For used products, the warranty of merchantability warrants or guarantees that the product will work as expected, considering its age and condition.
- The implied warranty of fitness: The implied warranty applies when customers buy a product with a specific purpose in mind. If they explained their specific needs to the merchant, the implied warranty of fitness guarantees them that the product will meet their need.
In contrast to implied warranties, expressed warranties are usually written and included with the product. An expressed warranty may be part of an advertisement or included on a sign or display in a store (e.g. “genuine full lead crystal”), or it may even be an oral description of a product’s features. Most typical expressed warranties contain words to the effect that “this product is warranted against defects in materials or workmanship” for a certain time. Expressed warranties are not automatic. Most expressed warranties come directly from the product’s manufacturer, although some are included in the merchant’s sales contract.
In most states, implied warranties last indefinitely. In a few states, however, implied warranties last only as long as any expressed warranty that comes with a product. In these states, if there are no expressed warranties, the implied warranties last forever.