What Does Implied Warranty Really Cover?

by JRO on September 20, 2013

Protections Offered by Implied Warranties

The theory of implied warranties under the UCC and general contract law ensure that consumers are not mislead when they purchase products. A manufacturer makes a certain promise under the theory of implied warranties, and it is expected that a product will be sold in a condition that meets this promise. Federal and state laws govern the theory of implied warranties.

Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose

Under the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, a buyer purchases a product under the assumption that a seller has sold it for a particular use. An example may be a person who buys hurricane shutters from a company that specializes in the sale of hurricane shutters and who expects that the shutters will protect a home from strong winds. If the shutters fail to meet this use, then they would fail to meet the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. In addition, a seller may feature certain advertisements along with the sale of the item for a particular use that also assure a buyer as to the usefulness of the product. The buyer essentially relies on the skill and judgment of the seller when he or she makes a purchase. In addition, the seller knows or has reason to know that a buyer is purchasing a product from him or her for a particular reason.

Implied Warranty of Merchantability

Under the implied warranty of merchantability, the seller warrants that the goods meet an average condition. This concept is relevant when a seller deals with goods of a specific kind. It is automatically assumed that a seller who deals with goods of a specific kind is able to sell goods that are fit for one’s use. An example of this would be a store that sells tires. If one purchased tires that turned out to have holes or otherwise not function in a proper manner, then one would have legal recourse against the seller under this theory.

Implied Warranty of Workmanlike Quality

The implied warranty of workmanlike quality is relevant when a purchaser is paying money for the services of another. Under this theory, the seller warrants that his or her services will be performed in a “workmanlike” manner. This means that a service will be performed in an adequate fashion as an ordinary consumer would expect.

Other Cases Involving Implied Warranties

The doctrine of implied warranty basically covers any scenario in which circumstances indicate the seller has made an implied promise to a buyer. Even if a seller has sold a good “as is,” it may still be possible to sue him or her under a theory of implied warranty. A seller is required to abide by state law and put an “as is” disclaimer into writing when he or she sells a product without any warranties. The typical implied warranty usually lasts for four years under state law, and this means that a buyer can file a lawsuit at any time within this time frame.

Damages Available Under Warranty Theories

If a seller fails to correct any defect in a product or a service, then a buyer may have legal recourse. He or she can file a lawsuit for damages. The same damages that are available under a negligence or strict liability theory are also available under a warranty theory. This means that a plaintiff may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of consortium and damage to property.


1. FTC-http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0252-warranties

2. Cornell-http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-315


In addition to warranties, Bishop Masterson focuses on Product Liability, Criminal Defense, Sexual Abuse of Children, Personal Injury and other complex legal subjects.

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