You are here: Information Center >> Consumer Protection >> Warrantees


What is a "warranty"?

A warranty is a promise by a manufacturer to stand behind its product. Under federal law, warranties must be available for you to read before you buy, even when you are purchasing through a catalog or on the Internet. A warranty must be written in plain language and contain the following information:

What types of warranties exist?

TIP: If a seller states in writing that the product is sold "as is," implied warranties do not apply. This is true even if the salesperson makes a verbal promise to take care of any problems that may arise. Several states, including Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, do not permit "as is" sales.

My warranty says that it does not cover "consequential damages." What are they?

Consequential damages are losses resulting from failure of the product, including your time and expense in getting the damage repaired.

EXAMPLE: If your refrigerator breaks down, you may get a new refrigerator, but you will not be able to cover the cost of the food that spoils as a result.

Can I rely on an oral warranty?

There is no requirement that a company honor an oral warranty. To protect yourself, if a salesperson makes an oral promise to you, get it in writing.

What is an extended warranty?

An extended warranty is actually a service contract, not a warranty. Like a warranty, a service contract provides repair and/or maintenance of a product for a specific amount of time. Unlike a warranty, service contracts are not included in the price of the product; they will cost you extra money and are sold separately.

Should I pay for an extended warranty?

Whether or not you should purchase an extended warranty is up to you. To determine whether you need a service contract, consider:

I did not register my product after buying it. Can I still take advantage of its warranty?

Under federal law, the answer depends on whether it is a "full" or "limited" warranty. Full warranties cannot be conditioned on the return of a registration card; limited warranties can.

How can I minimize problems?