It is usually good business practice for manufacturers, and even retailers, to stand behind the quality of their products with warranties. A written warranty may provide consumers peace of mind. It may even be the decisive factor for choosing one product over another. For this reason, laws protect consumers with regard to warranties.
Implied and Written Warranties Are Treated Differently
Whenever you purchase a product from a retailer, there's an implied warranty of merchantability. Essentially, the retailer is promising that every product sold is of average quality and can be used for its intended purpose. Written warranties, however, are usually offered by a product's manufacturer and outline what is covered. For example, if you purchase a computer and the screen no longer works after one month, the manufacturer's warranty may allow you to receive a new computer or entitle you to free repairs.
Certain Requirements on Manufacturers
Federal law requires that all written warranties clearly state whether they are "full" or "limited." For example, a full warranty for a computer may cover most problems that arise if the consumer isn't at fault. A limited warranty may only cover the hard drive and specifically exclude the screen. Additionally, a product's warranty must be contained in a single document in easy-to-read language. It must be made available for consumers to review prior to making the purchase.
You Have Legal Rights
In the event you need to use the warranty, but the manufacturer or retailer refuses to deliver on the warranty's promises, you have the right to file a lawsuit. In addition, the law requires the retailer or manufacturer to pay all of your legal fees if the matter is resolved in your favor. Some warranties, however, may prevent you from filing a lawsuit and require you to work out your differences in formal mediation instead.
All Consumer Products Must Be Safe
The lack of a written warranty doesn't release manufacturers from liability when a flawed product design or faulty manufacturing causes injury or loass to a consumer. The law can vary depending on the state. Generally, manufacturers are responsible for physical injuries and property losses when consumers are able to show that the product was likely to be the cause.
A Consumer Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding consumer product warranties is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a consumer lawyer.