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Can a warranty be denied?

When you buy something, you want to make sure that you get what you are expecting. You want a product that performs the way you were told it would perform at the time of purchase. If that doesn’t happen, you want to have some kind of recourse. This is why there are warranties.

However, a warranty also protects the warrantor. It has built-in stipulations that outline the responsibilities of the customer. If the customer has violated any of these reasonable terms, a warranty can be denied.

Different kinds of warranties

“Warranty” is a catchall term that refers to the agreement that exists between a manufacturer or merchant and the consumer. It details the responsibilities of each party should the product fail. This agreement may take several forms. In many instances, the consumer has more protection than they realize. The key to being empowered and making the most of a product warranty is understanding the four types of warranties.

Implied warranty

As it sounds, an implied warranty isn’t written. It doesn’t even need to be spoken. In fact, the manufacturer has nothing to do with creating an implied warranty. It is created by state law. An implied warranty is based on ​​legal precedents set by the courts regarding “fair value for money spent.” There are two parts of an implied warranty: the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of a product’s fitness.

  • The implied warranty of merchantability: This covers the basic expectation that the product you are buying can do what it is supposed to do. If you purchase a smoke detector, for instance, it must be able to detect smoke and sound an alarm. If this is not the case, not only must the manufacturer remedy the situation by repairing or replacing the faulty unit, but the company may be liable for damages.
  • The implied warranty of fitness of a product: This part of an implied warranty goes a bit deeper than most consumers probably realize. The fitness of a product involves specific performance. If you purchase a dehumidifier at a store and the salesperson tells you it is suitable for a 3,000 square foot space, but it can only handle a 1,500 square foot space, it isn’t fit to perform as promised. This protects the consumer, so they don’t get stuck with a product that underperforms.

Express warranty

An express warranty is created by the warrantor. It can be written or oral. A written express warranty is often a document that is included with the purchase. This document may be part of the owner's manual or be a separate piece of paper that outlines the agreement between the manufacturer and the consumer. Alternatively, a written express warranty may be a claim made on the product’s packaging. For instance, when a hand sanitizer is advertised as being able to kill germs in 15 seconds, this is a written express warranty.

An oral express warranty is expressed verbally. This could be a claim made on a television or radio commercial.

Full warranty

A full warranty means something very specific. It means the warranty is transferable, and the duration is not limited. A full warranty is offered free of charge and nothing unreasonable is required of the consumer to receive the full benefits of that warranty. Also, if a product cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of tries, the customer has the option of either getting a replacement or a full refund. Only if all of these conditions are met can a product be considered a full warranty.

Limited warranty

A manufacturer can offer a limited warranty. This happens when one or more of the conditions required for a full warranty are not met. In this instance, the manufacturer must label its warranty as “limited.”

10 reasons a warranty might be denied

Since each type of warranty is a slightly different agreement between the seller and the buyer, the type of warranty is largely responsible for the reasons why it may be denied. For example, a full warranty is transferable between owners, while a limited warranty might not be. Here are 10 reasons a warranty might be denied:

  • If the warranty period has expired
  • If the part or the defect is not covered
  • For normal wear and tear of the product
  • If the customer uses the product in a way other than it was intended
  • If the consumer made alterations to the product
  • If the product has transferred ownership
  • If the consumer fails to complete required maintenance tasks
  • If a repair is not performed by an authorized shop
  • If the consumer hasn’t followed the proper course of action for initiating a claim
  • If the product has questionable damage


If an advertising claim is not listed in the warranty, is it still part of the warranty?

A. Yes. For this reason, it is important to keep records of all promises of performance, regardless of whether they are in the warranty. For instance, a product that is advertised as having specific capabilities must live up to those advertising claims, whether or not they are also in writing. 

Does a product have to come with a written warranty?

A. No. The written express warranty is completely voluntary — a manufacturer does not have to offer a warranty in writing. However, if this is the case, the manufacturer must still abide by the state laws governing implied warranties. This way, the customer is always protected.

Can I review the product’s warranty before I buy the product?

A. Yes. In fact, that is a very important part of a warranty: the consumer must be able to review the warranty in full before purchasing the product. This is handled in different ways by manufacturers and merchants, but it is not negotiable.

What happens if a manufacturer refuses to honor its warranty?

A. Whether it is an express warranty or an implied warranty, it is a contract between the consumer and the warrantor. If a company fails to honor its warranty, it is considered a breach of contract. This gives the buyer the ability to pursue legal action to settle any disputes.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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