Consumer: Product Warranty
Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina
Manufacturers and sellers of products often offer warranties with the product. A warranty is a statement or promise about the product. There are several types of warranties:
1. A full warranty is a promise that the product will be repaired or replaced free of charge during the period of the warranty. State and Federal laws require that if a product is under warranty, it will be repaired and within a reasonable time frame. A limited warranty covers less-usually only parts and almost never labor.
2. Express and Implied Warranties
Express warranties are specific promises made by the manufacturer or seller to backup the product. They can be in writing or oral. For example, if the car salesman says "I guarantee this car will not give you any trouble for at least 10,000 miles." That is an express warranty. "The car is in good condition" is not an express warranty.
Implied warranties are automatic. They are implied by State law and imposed on people in the business of selling specific products such as a car dealer. That a car runs is an implied warranty implied by law. However, not everything that breaks down in a car means that the implied warranty has been breached. You still will have to show that the defects existed at the time of sale.
Warranties that are not in writing are very difficult to prove. Any warranties or promises covering specific products should be in writing. DO NOT RELY ON SPOKEN WARRANTIES.
3. Service Contracts
A service contract provides repairs and/or maintenance for a specific period of time. Different from warranties, service contracts cost extra and are sold separately.
Sellers often pressure buyers to buy service contracts. To decide if you need a service contract consider the following:
Service contracts may duplicate the warranties already offered.
Determine if the value of the service offered by the service contract is reasonable considering the expected repairs the product may need.
Determine what is really covered, parts and systems.
If a deductible is required.
If there is a cancellation and whether there is a cancellation fee.
Is the business providing the service reputable?