Warranties can be among the most confusing part of a consumer transaction.Several types of warranties may apply at the same time.Retailers, especially of certain products, also sell extended warranties. 

Here’s what to know about warranties when purchasing a product:

  • Which warranty or warranties apply?

1.    There are implied warranties.Implied warranties automatically come with a purchase of goods.These are warranties that are set by law and are “read into” a contract.  Under certain circumstances a merchant (seller of the product) may specifically disclaim an implied warranty, but must do so in writing.  For example, an item sold “as is”. 

2.    There are express warranties.An express warranty is one which is specifically stated and is in addition to any implied warranty.  An express warranty must state what it covers.  These warranties can be oral or written.  However, the Federal law, the Magnus-Moss Warranty Act can only be enforced if the warranty is in writing and the good is over $14.99. All warranties, whether written or oral, may be enforced through state law, such as the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.  However, unless something is in writing it is often difficult to prove what was actually promised.  You should get express warranties in writing.

3.    There are extended warranties. An extended warranty is an additional warranty that expands what is covered and for how long.An extended warranty is an insurance policy that you buy for repair of faulty products.

  • What does the warranty actually cover?

Be sure to get a copy of the warranty in writing and read through what it covers.  Know how long the warranty applies and what major exceptions could apply.When discussing the purchase, ask for information on and research the most frequent repairs or complaints about that product.Be sure to confirm that any warranty would cover these common problems and get this in writing.

  • Who is responsible for the warranty?

The seller of the product is responsible for any implied warranty.Express warranties are likely covered by either the seller or the manufacturer – sometimes both.  Extended warranties may be the seller, the manufacturer, or very frequently a third party.However, the third party may be just the administrator of claims, or the third party may be the one responsible for the coverage.This should be spelled out in the extended warranty. 

  • Do I need to do anything to make sure the warranty is valid?

While you do not need to do anything for an implied warranty, you may be required to register for an express warranty.While the purchase of the extended warranty should provide the administrator contain all the information needed, make sure that there is no additional paperwork.Additionally, if this is an item you may sell, check to see if the warranty is transferable and, if so, how to do that. 

  • What else do I need to look for?

1.    Warranties, particularly extended warranties, may have cancellation provisions in them.Check to see if you can cancel and, if so, how to do so and how much you would get back.Often, the refund is pro-rated based on the period of time left.

2.    Determine if purchasing an extended warranty is worth the cost.  If an extended warranty costs more than the likely repairs you may wish to simply set aside that amount of money.That way if you never have to use the warranty, then you still have the money. 

3.    Check to see the reputation of the seller and the manufacturer as well as any complaints regard the product.

4.    Certain items, especially cars, may have additional protections.For example, a new car sold in Connecticut would be covered under the state's Lemon Law.A used car, depending on its age and purchase price, may be covered under Connecticut’s used car warranty.