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Express Warranties

Express warranties are promises and statements made by a seller or manufacturer, about a product or its performance. These promises and statements can be made verbally, in advertising or in writing.

Express warranties are defined broadly to include promises, representations and statements of fact or opinion that can reasonably be interpreted by a consumer as a promise relating to the sale, quality, quantity, condition, performance, efficacy, use or maintenance of the product.

To qualify as an express warranty the promise must also be something that would induce a reasonable person to buy the product. You do not have to show that you actually relied on the promise. But because it has to be something that would persuade a reasonable consumer to buy it, sales pitches such as saying that the product is the "best on the market" or a "marvellous bargain" may not be considered express warranties.

When an express warranty is made the product must live up to the promises made by the seller or manufacturer.

Verbal Promises

A verbal promise by a salesperson can be binding even if it conflicts with a written contract. Of course, it is best to get all the promises about the product or its performance in writing or, at the very least, to have someone with you as a witness. This helps prove to the business or to a court, if necessary, the promises that were made.

Advertising Claims

Most of us are used to extravagant claims made in advertisements or found on the label or packaging of a product and probably do not give them much thought. These can however, be considered express warranties if they meet the definition discussed above.

In the case of promises in advertisements you may not always be able to make a claim against the retail seller. A retail seller must live up to an express warranty on the label or package of the product unless the retail seller makes it clear that they do not adopt those statements. A retail seller does not have to stand by promises in advertisements by the manufacturer unless they adopt these promises. In this case you would have to make your complaint to the manufacturer.

Remedies

If an express warranty is breached consumers are entitled to certain remedies. If the product is repairable, the consumer must give the seller reasonable time to repair it, at no cost to the consumer.

If the product or services are substantially different from what a consumer could reasonably expect given the things like the purchase price or description a consumer can choose to return the product for a refund instead of getting it repaired.

If a product cannot be repaired, the consumer can reject the item and get a refund (less the value of any use received from the goods). Remember, this applies even where there is a store policy of "No Refunds."

If the seller won't repair the product, the consumer can get someone else to repair it and sue for reimbursement from the seller, including damages for any expenses incurred as a result.

Warrantors (the manufacturers or sellers giving the warranty) are responsible for the costs of taking the product apart and putting it together again, unless the consumer agrees to pay those costs. The consumer is responsible for getting the product to the manufacturer or seller so that it can be repaired. However, if the size, weight or installation of the product means that the removal or transport would be a "significant cost" to the consumer, the seller or manufacturer must pay these costs.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.