Warranties and guarantees

Guarantee and Warranty – What is the difference?

Also see our Clever Article: Warranties – Sales of goods

Clever Content

  • What is a Warranty or Guarantee?
  • What is a warranty?
    • Express warranties
    • Implied warranties.
  • What is a guarantee?
  • What is the difference between a guarantee and a warranty?
  • Money back guarantees.
  • Obvious exaggeration;
    • What is Puffery?

What is a Warranty or Guarantee?

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:

Express warranties:

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 time 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.

Implied warranties:

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 our Clever Article: 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

“It’s the best car in the world!”

A merchant’s comments that are obviously an opinion or exaggeration do not create a warranty or guarantee. Obviously 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 for the purpose of attracting buyers.” Puffery is legal as long as the statements are not fraudulent.

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