Warranties with the Sale of Goods — Breach of Warranty
Warranties can arise whenever there is a sale of goods, whether it be between merchants or by a merchant to a consumer. There are three main types of warranties: express warranties, the implied warranty of merchantability, and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Uniform Commercial Code — which has been adopted by most States — primarily governs warranties.
Express warranties occur when the seller of goods explicitly makes affirmations relating to a good. They are created by specific representations of fact, specific representations by descriptions, or specific representations by presenting a sample or model. The representations, furthermore, must form the basis for the bargain/transaction.
The implied warranty of merchantability is included in every transaction and guarantees that the goods are reasonably fit for the general purpose for which they are sold. For instance, the purchase of a chair suggests that the chair is good for sitting and its normal/customary use. Similarly, the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose attaches if a seller knows or has reason to know that the buyer is purchasing the good for a specific reason. For example, if the buyer states to the seller that he is purchasing a load of chairs for purpose of scrapping it into hardwood, then an implied warranty will arise which guarantees that the chairs can be scrapped into hardwood.
What is required to prove breach of a warranty? Generally, the claimant must prove the (1) existence of a warranty; (2) that the warranty was breached; and that (3) the breach of warranty caused (4) the claimant damages. A defendant in a breach of warranty action, however, may have a number of defenses available, including lack of notice, disclaimers, and assumption of risk.
Breach of warranty often involves merchants and large commercial transactions. It also implicates nuanced commercial law principles and breach of contract theories. Contact us with questions.