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1.9.1.1 Introduction

The basis of warranty law under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Article 2, and UCC Article 2A is that goods sold carry with them certain warranties as to their quality and performance, and that if the goods do not meet these standards, then the buyer has a remedy. The seller’s good faith, ignorance of the product defect, or best efforts in making or selling the goods are not defenses.411 If the goods do not meet the promised warranty standard, the buyer has remedies as specified by various warranty laws.

The first step in any warranty case is to determine which warranties come with a product. The two major types of warranties are express and implied. Express warranties are created affirmatively by the seller,412 and implied warranties are created by law (the UCC or common law), irrespective of the seller’s actions or representations.413 There is also a warranty of title promising that the seller can pass good title to the buyer for any goods sold.414

Other consumer legislation mandates minimum warranty protections, and these warranties are generally referred to as statutory warranties. Examples are state laws creating warranties for a specified period and specified scope for manufactured homes or used cars.415 Another concept related to a warranty is the extended warranty, service contract, or mechanical breakdown insurance. While express and implied warranties are part of the bargained-for product, extended warranties, service contracts, and mechanical breakdown insurance offer additional warranty or warranty-like coverage for a separate price.416

There may be express and implied warranties from both the seller and the manufacturer. There can be, and usually are, multiple warranties in the same transaction. Warranties are construed as consistent with each other and cumulative wherever possible.417 When warranties conflict, the intention of the parties determines which is dominant.418

UCC Article 2 generally determines the creation of express and implied warranties for the sale of goods. UCC Article 2A does the same for the lease of goods.419 The UCC does not apply to the sale of services (although it may apply to mixed transactions involving both services and goods420). In automobile repair, home improvement, and similar service transactions, the applicable warranty law is the common law of express and implied warranties. States also generally recognize an implied common-law warranty of workmanship for new home construction.421 Tort claims for negligence and state deceptive practices (UDAP) claims may also be appropriate.422

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