What to do if a manufacturer will not honor “lifetime” warranty?

I paid an up-charge for a manufacturers “lifetime warranty”. When I called to have a broken fan replaced, I was informed that they no longer honor the warranty past 1 year. Is this legal in CA?

Asked on January 1, 2011 under General Practice, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the manufacturer for breach of contract and specifically breach of express warranty.   As a "lifetime" warranty it is not limited to a year. In addition to a cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit for breach of express warranty, you may have a claim for breach of implied warranty of merchantability.  The implied warranty of merchantability means that the fan has to be of a quality acceptable in the trade.    Another type of implied warranty is the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.  Since you did use the fan for a year, it may be difficult to claim that there was a breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose if the fan was functioning properly.

It is also possible that you may have a claim for fraud since the company's "lifetime" warranty is only honored for a year.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce reliance on which you justifiably relied to your detriment.  Your argument supporting a claim of fraud is that you paid for a lifetime warranty which the company intentionally misrepresented to you and is now claiming that it is only a one year warranty.  You justifiably relied on a lifetime warranty to your detriment by paying the additional charge for that warranty.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.