Car Law A to Z: I is for Implied Warranty

An implied warranty is one that is not specifically stated. With respect to vehicles, there are two implied warranties: the implied warranty of merchantability (promise the vehicle will do what vehicles are supposed to do—operate safely on the roads and highways) and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (promise that the law says a seller makes when a customer relies on the seller’s advice that the vehicle can be used for some specific purpose).

Implied warranties cannot be excluded—but can be limited—-if you are provided a warranty or a vehicle service contract.  Implied warranties can only be excluded if the vehicle is sold “as is” with no warranty AND a clear written disclaimer of implied warranties is provided to the customer at the time of the transaction.  The Writing...important primary purpose of the Buyer’s Guide sticker found in the windows of many vehicles is to make clear if the seller is offering a warranty on the vehicle.  However, there are too many situations where the dealer conveniently confuses the consumer by marking “Warranty” on the Buyer’s Guide but brokers the purchase of a vehicle service contract (which is actually provided by a third party; NOT the dealer) yet tells the consumer a warranty has been provided.

This warranty stuff can get confusing so it does require your attention before you make a decision to purchase.  If you are purchasing a vehicle from a dealer that sells more than five vehicles in a twelve-month period—which includes the vast majority of dealerships—demand a Buyer’s Guide before signing any documents.  Do not imply or assume or leave important facts and terms unstated.  “Trust me” has sunk many a vehicle purchaser.



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