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Product Warranties

The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 42 USC 2301 et seq. (1984) is applicable to warranties for purchases of automobiles. Under the Act, any warranty accompanying a product must be designated as either “full” or “limited.” Importantly, if a manufacturer has given a full or limited warranty on a new car, it cannot disclaim any implied warranties. However, some states have laws that effectively void any implied warranty for buyer’s guide used vehicles that are checked “As Is-No Warranty.”

Implied warranties are exactly that: implied. They follow the sale of certain consumer goods automatically, without any express writing or document. The implied warranty of merchantability basically guarantees that the product is what it is stated to be and is adequate for the purpose for which it is purchased. Under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), adopted in all 50 states, this implied warranty only applies to sellers in the business of selling the particular item and does not apply to incidental sales or cross-consumer sales.

However, the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purchase applies to all sellers, even nonprofessionals. Under this warranty, the seller is presumed to guarantee that the car sold (e.g., a restored race car), is fit for the particular purpose for which it is being sold.

Inside Product Warranties