Topics on this page
- Express Warranties
- Implied Warranties
- Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Use
- Implied Warranty of Title
- Extended Warranties
- What can I do?
A warranty is a promise from the manufacturer or the seller of a product. The promise means that the manufacturer or seller will replace or repair a defective product for a set period of time after purchase. If a manufacturer or a seller violates (“breaches”) the warranty, then the buyer can sue the seller for damages.
Warranties may be “express” or “implied,” as explained further below.
Express warranties are statements that a makes (either orally or in writing) about the product being sold. For example, if a seller says that a product is of a certain quality or will remain free from defects for a period of time, that is an express warranty. And if the product does not remain free from defects within that time, the manufacturer or seller must repair or replace it.
Some warranties may cover only part of a product or promise to repair different parts for a different length of time. For example, the drivetrain on a car may have a longer warranty than other parts of the car.
Express warranties also include promises that become part of the reason why the buyer purchases the product. For example, if a seller says that a table is made of metal and the buyer agrees to buy the table because it is made of metal, there is an express warranty.
Also, if the seller shows a buyer a sample or model of the product, there is an express warranty that the purchased product will match the sample or model.
Be careful to review the wording of an express warranty before agreeing to buy. Formal words such as “warrant” or “guarantee” are not required to create an express warranty.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Commercial Law § 2-313
Maryland law requires that products being sold work as they should when used normally. This is called an implied warranty (or the implied warranty of merchantability). An implied warranty applies only to goods sold by a merchant (a manufacturer, company, person, or store that is in the business of selling products).
Maryland law makes implied warranties part of the sale of goods even if the seller does not mention them, unless the contract excludes the warranty by saying something like the product is being sold “as is.” Any exclusion or modification of the implied warranty of merchantability must be in writing, mention merchantability, and be conspicuous. But, under federal law, the sale ales of many consumer products, which includes products used for personal, family, or household purposes, cannot exclude the warranty of merchantability.
So, if you buy somethings and it does not work as it should, there is likely an implied warranty that the seller will repair or replace the product—even if you can no longer “return” the item.
A warranty is implied when a buyer relies upon a seller’s skill and judgment, and the seller knows it. If a buyer asks a seller for help selecting a product for something in particular, and the seller agrees to find the right product, the seller has promised to sell a product that will do what was promised.
For example, if a buyer goes to a lumber yard and tells the seller that he needs a special type of pressure-treated wood to build a deck, then the seller knows that the buyer needs the wood for a “particular purpose.” If the seller sells the buyer wood that is not suitable for building a deck, then the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose has likely been violated.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Commercial Law § 2-315
An implied warranty of title means that the seller has the legal right to sell the particular product. When a seller sells a good, that seller gives the implied warranty that the seller has the right to give the product to another person. In other words, the seller promises that the seller is selling rightful ownership of the product to the buyer.
The implied warranty of title is a part of the sales contract unless the buyer knows or should know that the seller cannot give the buyer the product.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Commercial Law § 2-312
An extended warranty is simply another promise to replace or repair a purchased product. Extended warranties are offered as an addition to an express warranty—the extended warranty does not replace the express warranty. The buyer can usually purchase an extended warranty for an additional cost at the time they buy a product.
As an example, a brand new dishwasher may come with a one-year express warranty. If the dishwasher breaks during that year, then the manufacturer of the dishwasher will replace or repair the dishwasher at no cost to the buyer. At the time of purchase, the buyer may be able to spend extra money on an “extended warranty,” which would increase the length of the express warranty for another year (two years instead of one).
Read the Law: Md. Code, Commercial Law § 14-1311
Always keep your receipts. If you have a defective product, and you think the seller or manufacturer should honor one of the warranties mentioned above, try contacting the store you bought the item from and explaining the issue. If you are unable to resolve your problem with the store, consider calling Maryland’s Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528-8662 or contacting them online.