What is an "implied warranty of merchantability"?

An implied warranty of merchantability is an implied warranty on a product for sale that essentially guarantees through implication, that a product will reasonably conform to a buyer's standards and that the product is suitable for sale. In other words, unless the seller of the product explicitly states otherwise by using a phrase such as “as is” or “defective” in describing the product, the buyer has the reasonable right to expect that the item he is buying will conform to his basic expectations and will have no flaws that are not immediately discernible or part of the nature of the item.

Understanding the Implied Warranty of Merchantability

The implied warranty of merchantability is just that – implied. Implied warranties are not expressly stated, and they are considered as having risen from the nature of the transaction and the basic understanding between buyer and seller. This means that the seller does not have to explicitly state the warranty. Implied warranties are essentially built into transactions, as long as the seller doesn't specify otherwise, it's legal and reasonable for the buyer to assume that things are as they should be and as they are basically represented.

There is no recourse for the seller in stating that there is no warranty in place because he or she “never told” the buyer what to expect. The lack of having said anything doesn't remove, and in fact reinforces, the implied warranty, since if there was something to have been said, the seller would have been obligated to say it by providing information regarding any caveats on the product.

Getting Help

If you have purchased a product that you believe violates the implied warranty of merchantability, you should consult with a lawyer in your area to learn more about implied warranties and to find out what your recourse is, if any, in dealing with the defective product.