Implied Warranty

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated August 5, 2020

What is an Implied Warranty?

An implied warranty is an unwritten guarantee that a product or service works as expected.

How Does an Implied Warranty Work?

An implied warranty is a lot like an assumption. For example, when you buy a new car from a car dealer, the implied warranty is that the car works. When you order a hamburger at a restaurant, it comes with the implied warranty that it is edible.

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) contains an "implied warranty of merchantability" that states that in every sales transaction, the good sold must be fit for the ordinary purposes for which the good is used, would pass without objection in the trade, is adequately packaged and labeled, and reflects the promises made on the label. Sometimes an implied warranty also exists when the seller knows what the buyer is going to use the good for and the buyer relies on the seller's judgment when choosing the goods. If the buyer is a knowledgeable buyer, however, the implied warranty doesn't always exist, especially if the buyer knows as much or more about the product than the seller does.

Why Does an Implied Warranty Matter?

Implied warranties protect consumers from purchases involving products or services that are not what was represented by the seller. They are often the legal mechanism behind why consumers can usually return defective products to merchants for a refund. Sometimes, sellers will disclaim an implied warranty at the time of sale (though they have to do this in writing and usually in boldface print).