In contract law, a warranty has various meanings but generally means a guarantee or promise which provides assurance by one party to the other party that specific facts or conditions are true or will happen. This factual guarantee may be enforced regardless of materiality which allows for a legal remedy if that promise is not true or followed.
Although a warranty is in its simplest form an element of a contract, some warranties run with a product so that a manufacturer makes the warranty to a consumer with which the manufacturer has no direct contractual relationship.
A warranty may be express or implied, depending on whether the warranty is explicitly provided (typically written) and the jurisdiction. Warranties may also state that a particular fact is true at one point in time or that the fact will continue into the future (a “promissory” or continuing warranty).
In addition to standard warranties on new items, third parties or manufacturers may sell extended warranties (also called service contracts). These extend the warranty for a further length of time. However, these warranties have terms and conditions which may not match the original terms and conditions. For example, these may not cover anything other than mechanical failure from normal usage. Exclusions may include commercial use, “acts of God”, owner abuse, and malicious destruction. They may also exclude parts that normally wear out such as tires and lubrication on a vehicle.
These types of warranties are provided for various products, but automobiles and electronics are common examples. Warranties which are sold through retailers such as Best Buy may include significant commission for the retailer as a result of reverse competition. For instance, an auto warranty from a car dealership may be subcontracted and vehicle repairs may be at a lower rate which could compromise the quality of service. At the time of repair, out-of-pocket expenses may be charged for unexpected services provided outside of the warranty terms or uncovered parts.
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