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What is an Implied Warranty?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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An implied warranty is a warranty which applies to a sale by the very nature of the sale, even though it is not expressly stated by the seller. There are several different kinds of implied warranty which can be applied to different transactions. Essentially, an implied warranty means that when someone buys a product and uses it in an ordinary fashion, the consumer has a reasonable expectation that the product will function as expected. The exception to this rule is when a seller explicitly denies the implied warranty, as when products are sold “as-is.”

One type of implied warranty is a warranty of merchantability. This type of warranty means that when products are sold, consumers can expected them to work as advertised, and can expect that they will be comparable to other products. A toaster which only toasts on one side of the bread, for example, could be considered a violation of a warranty of merchantability because the consumer would have expected the toaster to toast both sides of the bread.

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Another kind of implied warranty is a warranty of fitness for purpose. Any time someone asks for advice from a salesperson on a purchase, this type of warranty comes into play. For example, if someone enters a garage to buy snow tires for a car and the mechanic sells the consumer a set of tires which are not fit for snowy conditions, the mechanic has violated the warranty of fitness for purpose. When a seller provides advice about a product for a given consumer or set of circumstances, consumers expect the product to be suitable for their use.

The warranty of title is another example of an implied warranty. When people purchase goods, they do so under the belief that the seller has the right to sell the goods legally. If this is not the case, the seller has violated the warranty of title and can be liable for problems experienced by the buyer. Someone selling a car known to be stolen, for example, does not have the right to transfer the title and would be violating the implied warranty involved in the transaction.

Finally, it is also possible to have what is known as a warranty of habitability. This type of implied warranty covers leasing of structures and protects consumers by ensuring that minimum standards of habitability must be met for transactions. If someone leases a house and the landlord takes the roof off, this would violate the warranty of habitability because the house is no longer habitable. Warranties of habitability also play a role in tenants' rights as landlords are required to take steps to keep structures habitable and safe.

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