When you buy something, is it covered by a warranty in case it breaks?

Generally, yes. A warranty (also called a guarantee) is an assurance about the quality of goods or services you buy and is intended to protect you if something you purchase fails to live up to what you were promised.

An express warranty is one that is actually stated, usually in writing. Most express warranties state something such as "this product is warranted against defects in materials or workmanship" for a specified time. Most either come directly from the manufacturer or are included in the sales contract you sign with the seller. But an express warranty may also be in an advertisement or on a sign in a store ("all dresses 100% silk"), or in a salespersons oral description of a product's features.

An implied warranty is not spoken or written but is based on reasonable consumer expectations. There are two implied warranties-one for "merchantability" and one for "fitness." The implied warranty of merchantability is an assurance that a new item will work if you use it for a reasonably expected purpose (for example, that a toaster will toast bread or a power drill will drill holes). This warranty applies only to the product's ability to perform its basic purpose, not to everything that could possibly go wrong with the product. For used items, the warranty of merchantability is a promise that the product will work as expected, given its age and condition.

The implied warranty of fitness applies when you buy an item with a specific (even unusual) purpose in mind. If you communicated your specific needs to the seller, the implied warranty of fitness assures you that the item will meet these needs.

An express warranty lasts for the term stated in the language of the warranty-for example, "three years after the date of purchase." The lifespan of an implied warranty depends on state law. Some states limit an implied warranty to a period of time-one or two years, for example. Others say that an implied warranty lasts only as long as any express warranty made about a product.

If there is no express warranty, sellers can sometimes avoid an implied warranty by selling the item "as is." Some states prohibit all "as is" sales. And in all states, the buyer must know that the item is sold "as is" in order for the seller to avoid an implied warranty.

Most of the time, a defect in an item will show up immediately or soon after you purchase the product. If the seller or manufacturer refuse to fix the or replace the product, you may be able to sue. If the seller or manufacturer won't make good under a warranty, you must sue within one to four years of when you discovered the defect, depending on your state's laws.

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