When a merchant makes a promise about the quality, condition, or reliability of a product that is relied on when buying a product, they have made a warranty or guarantee.
What is a warranty?
A warranty is a verbal or written statement that makes promises that a product will meet specific expectations.
The 2 main types of warranty are:
An express warranty is an agreement by a seller to provide repairs or a replacement if a product is found to be faulty, usually within a specified period. Under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a company must provide a written express warranty if a product is sold for more than $15.
An implied warranty is a warranty to replace or repair a product or do a piece of work again, which is not in writing but is understood. Cambridge Dictionary.org
It is an unwritten guarantee that a product or service operates as expected to expected standards which are governed by state laws.
See: Warranties – Sales of goods for more information.
What is a guarantee?
A guarantee is a promise of the continued performance of a product or service after it has been purchased. The manufacturer has given a promise regarding the content, quality, or performance of the product and if the product or service fails to deliver this, then the manufacturer will replace, repair, or provide a refund for the product. A guarantee adds to the rights of the consumer.
What is the difference between a guarantee and a warranty?
The difference between the two is minimal and can come down to personal preference. Whether a merchant describes their promise as a guarantee or warranty will not stop it from having legal effect. If the product becomes faulty or is not fit for purpose within a specific time then the promise being made by the merchant is legally binding.
A money-back guarantee
If a merchant advertises a product with a money-back guarantee they must provide a full refund if a customer decides to return the product. These guarantees are usually limited in time such as 30 days after purchase.
Salespersons blatant exaggeration – Puffery
“It’s the best car in the world!”
A merchant’s comments that are an opinion or exaggeration do not create a warranty or guarantee. Exaggerated claims are not generally taken seriously by courts and are treated as ‘puffery’.
What is Puffery?
Puffery is defined by the Federal Trade Commission as exaggerations about a product or service, “made to attract buyers.” Puffery is legal as long as the statements are not fraudulent.
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