It can be easy to get into problems if your warranty is not in compliance with federal law — even if you are fulfilling customer claims.
Generally, there are two types of warranty. “Implied” warranties —based on state law — are unwritten promises that say consumers are entitled to get what they have paid for.
“Express” warranties, however, are promises actually stated to the consumer. They could be written, for example, in a contract or in an advertisement, or they could be oral, such as a sales representative's statement to a buyer about how a window will not leak for 10 years.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law governing written warranties on consumer products and is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission. The act only applies to warranties on goods, and it only applies to consumer sales.
If you give your customers a written warranty, make sure you comply with the act.
If the warranty is not “full,” then by default it must be labeled “limited.” Of course, you can always consider having some parts of a product under a full warranty (such as glass) and others under a limited warranty (such as a window screen). —D.S. Berenson is the Washington, D.C., managing partner of Johanson Berenson LLP (www.homeimprovementlaw.com), a national law firm specializing in the representation of contractors and the home improvement industry; 703.759.1055 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.