A warranty can essentially be defined as a type of formal promise that is made in action with the sale of real estate or a specific consumer product. There are all sorts of different warranties that one can include in a contract. Such warranties will typically depend on the type of product that is being sold to consumers.
In general, some promises or guarantees that may be found in a warranty contract include the following:
- That a consumer product is of a particular grade, quality, or craftsmanship;
- That a manufacturer will provide a replacement or refund in the event that they lose the item or that a product is damaged;
- That a manufacturer will do the repairs for the buyer if necessary;
- That a product is actually the type of product being sold in its ad;
- That a product can either be returned or refunded within a certain time frame; and/or
- That a purchaser has certain rights over the real estate or consumer product covered by a warranty contract.
In other words, a “warranty contract” is an official agreement that specifically contains the types of guarantees that the parties agreed to entertain upon entering into business or a sales transaction together. Some warranty provisions may be inserted into the actual sales contract itself, while others may decide to create a standalone or separate contract document.
In addition, most warranty contracts should include the date that a particular warranty goes into effect. It should also indicate whether or not a consumer will be subject to an expiration date as to when the time to file a claim under the conditions of a warranty contract might lapse. As such, both buyers and companies may want to consider hiring separate local counsel to draft or review the terms of a warranty contract.
What are Some Types of Warranty Contracts?
As with any type of contract, a warranty contract can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the parties involved in a sales transaction. Thus, it is not an exaggeration to claim that there are as many warranty contracts as there are for the different kinds of consumer products and/or real estate being sold in the marketplace. Generally speaking, however, some common types of warrant contracts may include the following:
- A consumer warranty contract: A consumer warranty contract is frequently associated with all types of standard consumer products, such as toys, appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing, and so forth. This enables a buyer to obtain a refund or replacement in the event they are not satisfied with their purchase.
- An auto warranty contract: An auto warranty may be included in the contract that is created when someone purchases a motor vehicle. In this instance, the auto warranty is used to ensure the replacement of car parts or to guarantee that a car can be repaired for a certain period of time. An auto warranty is usually included as part of the terms of a car manufacturer’s legal obligations as specified in the full package that one receives when entering into a transaction to buy a car.
- An implied warranty: An implied warranty is typically found in connection with the sale of real property like a house or a plot of land. The reason for this is because there is usually an implied warranty built-in when the seller transfers the title to the land to the buyer. In this context, it is implied that the buyer will receive certain rights in that property, such as the right to exclusively use and enjoy their land.
What are Some Legal Remedies for Warranty Violations?
Some legal remedies for breach of warranty violations may include a monetary damages award that is issued by a court after filing and winning a breach of warranty lawsuit. The legal remedies recovered in such an instance will typically permit a warranty holder to receive any guarantees that were promised to them under the terms of a warranty provision.
Another legal remedy that one may be able to recover after a warranty clause has been violated or breached is an injunction. An injunction is basically a court order that requires a business to make good on the things it promised in its warranty contract, such as making necessary auto repairs or replacing defective car parts).
This tends to happen in cases where a consumer bought a product because it included a warranty clause that promised a certain quality or grade of product.
In addition, breaching any of the rights promised to a consumer under a warranty contract can hurt the reputation of a business or a private seller of a product. Such practices are often frowned upon. They will usually harm a company’s reputation since guarantees are normally viewed as a legal tool that encourages consumers to feel safe and buy the product free from worry of being harmed.
For example, if two similar products are sitting on the same shelf within the same store, a consumer will more likely than not buy the product that is covered under a warranty clause. Accordingly, the warranty in this case will serve as a way to punish a business or private seller since it will mean they could potentially lose business if they do not uphold their promises under a warranty.
Another example that can be useful in applying this concept to a common setting is when an auto warranty permits a car owner to get repairs from an auto plan for at least a full year after they purchase their car. The car dealer or manufacturer will then have a legal duty to offer those repairs to them. Once again, failing to follow through on such a promise can hurt a company’s business reputation, which in turn, could cause the company to file for bankruptcy.
As such, most companies are willing to offer legal remedies in the event that they clearly breached one or more of the provisions included in a warranty contract.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I Need Assistance With a Warranty Contract?
As discussed above, a warranty contract is a type of legal document that is important from the perspective of both a company and the average consumer. Thus, it is generally recommended that you hire a contract lawyer in your area if you need assistance with editing, reviewing, drafting, or revising a warranty contract.
A lawyer who has experience in handling matters involving concerns or disputes over warranty contracts will be able to provide valuable legal advice on the applicable warranty laws that have been enacted in your particular state and can apprise you of your legal rights and legal protections under such state laws.
Your lawyer can also review any contracts that contain a warranty statement before you sign them. Having a lawyer to look over your documents will help to ensure that you do not sign away or forfeit your legal rights, such as the right to sue a business for breach of warranty. In addition, your lawyer can make sure that a warranty clause is in fact enforceable against another party, or alternatively, that it is not enforceable against you or your business.
Finally, your lawyer will also be able to provide legal representation if you are being sued or if you wish to file a breach of warranty lawsuit against another party for violating the terms of a warranty provision in a contract.