2012 blogpost warranties

How Warranties Work: Basic Types of Warranties - Express Warranties

How Warranties Work:  Basic Types of Warranties - Express Warranties

There are two basic kinds of warranties, express and implied, both of which provide remedies to a customer if their product is found to be defective. Before I go into the differences let me clarify what these usually cover.

The Manufacturer's Defect

A 25 year warranty covering manufacturing defects does not mean that the product will be perfect for 25 years (or even that it will last that long). It does apply to any manufacturing defects found in that time. For instance, we sell laminate flooring, made of a few layers of different materials combined into single boards. If the top layer, the image of the wood with its shiny, protective top, separates from the board, it’s called "delamination". We don’t want delamination, so our manufacturers make the floors such that they won’t do that, and they guarantee that to our customers.

Let’s say 15 years into the life of a product with a 25 year warranty, the boards start to delaminate

. We’ve got images peeling up off the floor all over the room. Assuming the floor wasn’t installed in the sauna (where the warranty would be void, because of all the steam) this should be covered by the warranty. The floor wasn’t manufactured to be impervious to every form of scratching, or from damage by the falling of a scratchy brick, but it was designed to stay intact for the 25 years of the warranty, and it hasn’t. It’s a defect that was already in the product at the time of purchase which made itself known within the warrantied time period. The manufacturer owns that one, and has to remedy the situation. Make sense? Onward then.

The Express Warranty

Ricky cuts our samples.

Basically, these are any promises the seller volunteers to make available to her customers. They have been “expressed”, as in stated with words, rather than implied (not stated, just known, wink-wink, nudge-nudge). These stated promises can be offered explicitly in any one of many modes. They can be made on an actual warranty certificate, as claims in advertising, in descriptions of the product, even in the provision of samples, which need to accurately reflect the final product sold. I’m pleased to say that at Floors To Your Home, we cut our own samples. We just open a box of the flooring someone wants to see and slice off a packageable sized piece for the person who has asked to see one. This makes accurate representation a sure thing for us.

If you read part 1 of this series, you might think that express warranties can only be written, but that isn’t the case. This includes any promise stated at all as a promise. The caveat is that only the written ones are covered by the Magnuson-Moss law. Also, while verbally stated promises create some legal requirements for those who make them, they have to be stated as promises. Sales talk, hyperbole, what some call ‘puffing’ (and I call lying) such as “This bicycle will outlive you!” will probably not hold up in court if a claim is made by a living 80 year old man whose 65 year old bike has given out.

Now, if the warranty is given without directly stating how long it is in effect, then the general rule is that a warranty of unspecified duration is considered valid for four years. Also, even if the seller gives you an express warranty, the law still considers the product to be covered under the other major type of warranty, . . .


The full series:

pt.1: What is a Warranty

pt.2: Which Law Governs Warranties

pt.3: The Express Warranty

pt.4: Implied Warranty #1

pt.5: Implied Warranty #2

pt.6: Full and Extended Warranties

pt.7: The Limited Warranty

pt.8: The Caveats (the “bewares”) 

pt.9: Used and “ As Is” Sales 

pt.10: Who is Responsible?

pt.11: How Warranties Work: Who is Responsible? The Installer? The Shipper?

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David is has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with  W. David Lichty


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