Standard Warranties and Disclaimers for Consumer Goods

Summer 2023 Manufacturing Industry Advisor Blog
Author(s): Lauren M. Loew

Consumer Products Video Series

Lauren Loew is a Litigation partner in Foley’s Chicago office. Manufacturers of consumer products, their distributors, and retailers face a patchwork of evolving regulations and laws pertaining to consumer warranties. In this video, Lauren discusses examples of both express and implied contract warranties. Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, you will want to stay abreast of changes to warranty law and review your warranty terms yearly.

Key Takeaways

  • Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of consumer products face a patchwork of regulations and laws pertaining to consumer warranties.
  • Disclaimers or defenses that were enforceable a few years ago may no longer suffice.
  • Sellers of consumer products provide both express and implied contract warranties under the Uniform Commercial Code.
  • An express warranty may be created at the time of sale by any affirmation of fact or promise made to the buyer, their descriptions of the goods, and any sample or model, even if the party does not use the words “warrant” or “guarantee”.
  • Sellers also provide implied warranties. Two examples are: 1) implied warranty of merchantability, meaning for example that a product is fit for the ordinary purpose and is merchantable, and 2) implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, which means the seller has reason to know the buyer wants to use that product for a particular purpose and the product is fit for that purpose.
  • If an implied warranty disclaimer appears in a document that is only provided after the sale, it is unlikely to be effective.
  • Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, should stay abreast of changes to warranty law and review warranty terms at least every year, assessing what express warranty you provide, the terms of that warranty, and whether you adequately disclaim any implied warranties.

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