What are my legal remedies in California under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?

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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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The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal act in place to protect consumers against warranties on products when the warranties are deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise purposefully inadequate. There are numerous potential remedies in place under Magnuson-Moss.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is not an official law, but an act, meaning that the terms it outlines are recommendations that may or may not be enacted by every court. In fact, warranty laws do vary by state, so the remedies available to you under Magnuson-Moss may vary depending on where you live and where the product in question was manufactured. In general terms, however, Magnuson-Moss contains a few remedies, most of which you will, in fact, find in use in a typical state court system.

Among these remedies is the consumer right to receive reasonable, effective solutions to situations where a warranty on a product is not adequate or is breached. In these situations, Magnuson-Moss offers options for informal conflict-resolution settling of warranty disputes between buyer and manufacturer. This may prevent a drawn-out and costly court case and still result in a satisfactory result. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides what is needed to set up such procedures and otherwise perform actions aimed at settling issues via mediation, arbitration, and other alternative methods.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects the consumer under the federal government; the government is specifically given the authority to take action against a party responsible for a warranty if that party fails to meet the requirements set forth by the Act for a fair contract.

Consumers have the right, under Magnuson-Moss, to pursue a case in court. This may be done in civil or federal court depending on the severity of the situation and any possible damages that may have arisen from the faulty product and/or warranty. Class action suits with multiple plaintiffs are a possibility. Should the consumer win the case, he or she (or they) are also entitled to recovery attorney fees along with the original amount of the damage.

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