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A warranty law is a piece of enacted legislation that sets the guidelines for warranting products. This type of law protects consumers against fraud and deception. Manufacturers are not required to provide a written warranty for their products. All products typically receive basic protection under the implied warranty laws, but if a manufacturer chooses to add a specific written warranty, it often must follow the guidelines set out by a warranty law.
Written warranties come in two types — full and limited. Full warranties cover every aspect of product use, and limited warranties detail what is and is not covered by the warranty. In either case, the warranty must be written in clear language that is easy for consumers to understand. Written warranties must be available where the product is sold, so that consumers who wish to read them before buying the product have the opportunity to do so. A written warranty has no bearing on implied warranty law and cannot be used to modify or cancel the implied warranty.
Products sold for resale or used commercially are not protected under a warranty law. Oral warranties typically are not covered, either. Services, such as lawn care and housekeeping, are not covered unless the warranty specifically states that workmanship to install covered parts will be paid.
Full warranties are more restrictive than limited warranties. They must offer a money-back guarantee or a complete replacement or repair of the product. A warranty law typically mandates a refund to any consumer dissatisfied with a repair. The only step required by the consumer to put the warranty in effect is to notify the company of the product defect.
Limited warranties can require the consumer to ship the defective part for repair. They can also limit the amount of time the product is covered or which parts are covered under the warranty. Consumers should carefully go over limited warranties before making a purchase, in order to understand exactly what is and is not covered on the product. A warranty law typically requires all limited warranties to carry prominent labeling that they are limited.
Written warranties, whether limited or full, must include specific information. They must tell the consumer the warranty's length of coverage, exclusions of coverage, consumer's legal rights, to whom the coverage applies and what the consumer should do if warranty coverage becomes needed. It is a breach of warranty law for a warranty not to be upheld. Such a breach gives the consumer the right to sue the manufacturer, distributor and retailer.