Consumer Law

What Are the Basic Requirements of the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?

By Amy Loftsgordon, Attorney
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act sets certain requirements for businesses that offer warranties.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (the federal law that governs consumer product warranties) creates some basic requirements for manufacturers and sellers who offer written warranties on their products.

The three main requirements are:

1. The warrantor (the party who makes the warranty, which could be the manufacturer and/or the seller) must designate the written warranty as either "full" or "limited.” A full warranty means that the manufacturer or seller promises to fix or replace the product when there’s a defect. A limited” warranty, however, limits the warrantor’s obligations when it comes to repairing or replacing the item. For example, if you buy a clock with a limited manufacturer’s warranty, the warrantor (the manufacturer) might have to replace or repair only certain parts if the clock breaks. If the broken part isn’t covered by the limited warranty, you’re out of luck.

2. The warrantor must give certain details about the warranty’s coverage in a single, simple, and easy-to-understand document. The document must contain information such as:

  • the name and address of the company making the warranty (the warrantor)
  • the product or part that the warranty covers
  • how long the warranty lasts
  • what the consumer should do if there is a problem with the product
  • what the warrantor will do if the product is or becomes defective (replace it, repair it, or give the consumer a refund)
  • whether the consumer must pay any expenses, (like shipping, to take advantage of the warranty, and
  • a brief, general description of the consumer’s legal rights.
3. The warrantor must make the warranty available to consumers in the same place where it sells the product (for example, in the store next to the item), and allow the consumer to read the warranty before buying the item.

These requirements ensure that consumers get complete information about warranty coverage on a product before buying the item.

Go to the main warranty FAQ page.
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