What is an express warranty?

An express warranty is a contractual guarantee that a specific statement is true and is supported by legally enforceable consequences should the promise be broken. Express warranties are generally used in commercial transactions, such as real estate purchases or sales of goods and services.

What Constitutes an Express Warranty?

Express warranties are distinguished from other types of warranties by their specificity. They are specific promises made by a seller either  orally or in writing. These promises can include descriptions of items or services, representations of goods in samples or models, and statements of fact. For instance, if you buy a car and the dealer promises you that the car you bought comes with a CD player but you are given a car without one, then the dealer has broken the express warranty made to you.

Exaggerated statements or opinions are not considered express warranties. For example, if an advertisement for shoes says, “These are the best pair of shoes you’ll ever own,” that is considered puffing or the seller’s exaggerated opinion of the product. As such, if you buy the shoes and decide they are not the best shoes you’ve ever owned, you cannot hold the seller to that proclamation because it is an opinion and not an express warranty.

Enforcing an Express Warranty

Many companies that sell goods and services often provide customers with a written list of warranties. To take full advantage of express warranties, be sure to read them carefully so you know all of the terms and conditions, such as when they expire and whether there are any exclusions. If you have issues regarding express warranties, try to work it out with the seller directly by discussing your concerns. If the seller is a large retail company, you may need to write a letter to its corporate headquarters describing the problem. You may also want to contact your state’s consumer protection or Attorney General’s office to help resolve the matter.

In order to enforce an express warranty, you may want to seek the advice of a contract or commercial attorney who can go over the warranty, as well as any specific state laws that may be applicable in order to determine the legal remedies available to you.