Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Nov 8, 2012

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A warranty is a guarantee of the quality and performance of a product. A warranty can be either written or oral and it can be either express or implied.

When most people think of a warranty, they think of a written guarantee from a seller. However, there are many other warranty types as well. For example:

  • An express warranty is a warranty that a manufacturer makes – the kind you are probably familiar with. If you buy a toaster and it has a 1 year warranty against defects included, that is an express written warranty that is going to be binding on the manufacturer. If the toaster has a defect or malfunctions, the manufacturer will have to honor the terms of the warranty and either repair or replace your faulty toaster. An express warranty doesn’t necessarily have to be written, however, oral warranties and a guarantee can count too.
  • An implied warranty of merchantability is another type of available warranty. This means that the law implies a guarantee when products are sold that the products will perform as expected. In other words, if you buy a refrigerator, there is an implied warranty under the law that the fridge will actually work as a fridge. If you get it home and it doesn’t cool, and if the manufacturer didn’t have an express warranty guaranteeing it, then the implied warranty might kick in.
  • An implied warranty of habitability is a guarantee that a house is fit to live in.
  • An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose kicks in when a buyer expressly asks a seller for a product that can be used for a certain purpose.

There may also be a number of additional warranty or guarantee types available depending on the laws in your state and the item you are buying. However, it is important to keep in mind that a seller may also sell a product “as is,” in which case, a warranty or guarantee will not apply.