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Breach of Express or Implied Warranty

Martinez Law Office, Inc April 5, 2023

Warranties are legally-binding promises made by a seller to a buyer. There are two types of warranties: express warranties and implied warranties. Understanding the nuances between them is key because it affects how you make and honor your warranty promises. A breach of either an express or implied warranty can result in legal action taken against a business.  

If you are considering taking legal action for a breach of an express or implied warranty or need help defending against a lawsuit pertaining to a breach of warranty claim, contact Martinez Law Office, Inc. As a business litigation attorney in Santa Ana, California, I represent business owners that deal with breach of warranty claims either as plaintiffs or defendants. I also serve clients throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.  

What Is an Express Warranty?  

An express warranty is a written or verbal assurance provided by the seller or manufacturer of a product, explicitly guaranteeing the quality, performance, or condition of the product. These warranties are often detailed in the product’s packaging, marketing materials, or user manuals, and include specific details about the terms and conditions of the warranty, its duration, and the remedies available to the buyer in case of a breach. 

According to the American Bar Association, special words are not necessary for an express warranty to be valid. Express warranties do not necessarily need to be contained in a formal document, as they can also be based on advertising.  

Examples of express warranties include guarantees that a product will function correctly for a particular period or assurances that the product is free of defects or damage. It’s important to note that an express warranty is legally enforceable, and if the product does not meet the promised terms, the seller or manufacturer may be held liable for breach of warranty. 

What Is an Implied Warranty?  

Implied warranties are unwritten and unspoken guarantees that a product will perform as expected and be suitable for its intended purpose. These warranties are based on the reasonable expectations of consumers and may be implied by law or arise from the nature of the transaction. 

There are two primary types of implied warranties: the warranty of merchantability and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The warranty of merchantability ensures that a product sold by a merchant is fit for the purposes for which it is used, while the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose arises when a seller or manufacturer knows or should have known that the buyer is relying on their expertise to choose a product appropriate for their specific needs. 

What Are the Differences Between Express and Implied Warranty? 

The key differences between express and implied warranties lie in the manner in which they are communicated, their scope, and their enforceability: 

  • Communication. Express warranties are explicitly stated by the seller or manufacturer, while implied warranties arise automatically by law or from the nature of the transaction. 

  • Scope. Express warranties tend to have a specific and narrow scope, covering only the aspects of the product that are explicitly mentioned. Implied warranties, on the other hand, are broader in scope, covering the general expectations of a product’s fitness for its intended purpose. 

  • Enforceability. While both express and implied warranties are legally enforceable, certain conditions may lead to the exclusion or modification of implied warranties. For example, a seller may disclaim implied warranties by stating so explicitly in writing, using language that is clear, concise, and conspicuous. 

Understanding the differences between these warranties can help businesses manage the legal implications associated with warranty claims and avoid costly disputes or litigation.  

What Constitutes a Breach of Express Warranty?  

A breach of express warranty occurs when something promised by the seller fails to materialize as promised. If an express warranty has been broken, then buyers can take legal action by filing a breach of warranty claim with the court system and requesting compensation for any damages incurred due to misrepresentation or faulty goods. This type of breach can also lead to class-action lawsuits if multiple customers have experienced similar issues with their purchased products or services. 

What Constitutes a Breach of Implied Warranty?  

An implied warranty is breached when there’s proof that goods or services were not fit for their intended purpose at the time they were delivered—or if they fail to meet industry standards or common expectations for similar products/services.  

Additionally, if there is evidence that goods/services were defective at delivery, this can be considered a breach of implied warranty as well. Depending on where you live and how comprehensive your state’s laws are, you may find that certain implied warranties apply even if there was no express warranty made about them at all.  

Breach of Warranty Claims and Remedies 

When a warranty (express or implied) is breached, the customer can file a claim to seek various remedies, including repair or replacement of the defective product, refund of the purchase price, and, in some cases, damages for additional losses resulting from the breach. To avoid or minimize breach of warranty claims, businesses should: 

  1. Clearly define the terms of their express warranties and ensure that their products meet the promised specifications and performance standards; 

  1. Ensure that warranties are communicated effectively to customers, including any limitations or exclusions; 

  1. Train employees to provide accurate information about products and warranties; 

  1. Implement robust quality control procedures to minimize the occurrence of defects or failures in products; and 

  1. Provide efficient and customer-friendly mechanisms for addressing warranty claims and resolving disputes. 

If your business is facing legal action for a breach of an express or implied warranty, you might want to contact a skilled attorney.  

Seek Skilled Legal Guidance  

Navigating the world of warranties can be a daunting task for any business owner, especially those who need to take legal action for a breach of an express or implied warranty or defend themselves against breach of warranty claims. If either of these two scenarios applies to your business, contact Martinez Law Office, Inc. Reach out to my office in Santa Ana, California, if your business needs help with a breach of warranty claim.