Many homes, products, and services come with express warranties–written assurances that the residence, goods, or work will meet certain standards or specifications. For example, a residential seller often warrants that a home will be free of defects for one year. Similarly, an automobile dealer often guarantees that a car will function properly for a certain number of miles. Then, if the item breaks down or malfunctions, the purchaser is entitled to have it repaired cost-free.
All too often, however, express warranties are not provided, or they lapse before any problems arise. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the purchaser is without recourse. In addition to express warranties, a purchaser can often avail herself of implied warranties–assurances not included in the contract but instead imposed by law.
Implied warranties include warranties of habitability, quality, workmanship, and title applicable to homes and warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and title applicable to goods. For example, the implied warranty of habitability assures a buyer or tenant that his home is fit to be lived in, and implied warranties of quality and workmanship assure him that it is free of defects and constructed in accordance with sound standards and applicable law. Likewise, the implied warranty of merchantability is a guarantee that, among other things, the product sold is fit for the ordinary purpose for which it is typically used and conforms to promises made on its label.
Implied warranties are not always automatic. Sometimes a seller can disclaim them or a buyer can waive them. For instance, if a home or product is purchased “as is” or “with all faults,” or if the seller otherwise conspicuously disclaims implied warranties, then the seller may be relieved of liability under some circumstances.
If you are considering making a purchase and want peace of mind, or if you are dissatisfied with the performance of a home or product that you have already purchased and are not sure what remedies may be available to you, contact an experienced attorney.