The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may choose to sell products “as is,” meaning that any consumer who purchases their product takes the risk of the product not working as it should, or not being of the quality the consumer expected. Since this is not a good way to gain loyal customers, most sellers of goods offer warranties on their products. The reliability of these warranties will vary from one seller to the next, and consumers may not always know what to expect from any particular warranty. A federal law passed in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (the “Act”), protects consumers from manufacturers or sellers of “lemons” by establishing standards and requirements for product warranties, and giving consumers the right to enforce the warranties in court. If you have been the victim of a deceptive warranty practice or a breach of warranty, a Chicago lemon law lawyer can help you understand your rights and obtain compensation.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The Act protects consumers, defined as people who purchase goods for personal use, from deceptive warranty practices. It makes a distinction between implied and written warranties. Implied warranties are typically defined by state law, such as the implied warranty of merchantability. Written warranties are promises provided by manufacturers or retailers, known as “warrantors,” regarding the workmanship or quality of the product.

Requirements of the Act

The Act sets minimum standards regarding both written and implied warranties. It does not require manufacturers and suppliers to provide written warranties for their products, but when they do, it prohibits them from disclaiming or limiting the term of implied warranties that are established by state law. Warrantors only have a “reasonable” opportunity to cure any defects in a product or other events that trigger provisions of a warranty.

Regarding written warranties, the Act requires warrantors to clearly identify whether a warranty is a “full” or “limited” warranty. Full warranties meet the minimum federal standards. They cover anyone who owns the product during the warranty period, not just the original purchaser, are provided free of charge, and give the consumer an option for a replacement product or a refund. Limited warranties only offer some of the protections or promises of a full warranty. Written warranties must be available to consumers to read before purchasing a product.

Rights of Consumers Under the Act

Consumers have the right under the Act to reasonable efforts at repair for products under warranty, followed by the option of revoking acceptance or receiving a replacement or refund. The Act authorizes civil claims for breach of warranty, and consumers may recover damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. If the amount of the claim is greater than $25,000, the Act allows a consumer to file suit in federal court. It also allows a consumer to file a class action lawsuit for breach of warranty if more than one hundred consumers have a comparable claim.

Serving consumers throughout the Chicago area, the experienced lemon law lawyers at Nationwide Consumer Rights bring decades of experience with consumer rights litigation and class actions. We have dedicated our practice to exposing rip-offs and frauds and protecting the rights of consumers around the country. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Chicago lemon law attorneys, please contact us online or at (630) 333-0000.