Apple Learns Lesson In Magnuson-Moss Warranty Law…And You Can Too
If your company offers a warranty, that’s fine. In fact, it can be good business to offer a warranty. But like the old adage about having your cake and eating it too says, you can’t offer a warranty, allow customers to rely on it, and then not offer what you’re promising. At least, that’s the lesson that many tech giants like Apple are learning.
Apple Gets Sued for Ambiguous Language
Apple has run into legal problems over the language of its warranties, which is a good reason why you should have a qualified business attorney review your promises, including warranties, that are made to customers and the general public.
Apple’s warranty says 2 things. On the one hand, it says that if your device or product needs to be replaced, or needs replacement parts, you could get refurbished parts. However, it also says that those parts will be “equivalent to new in performance and reliability.” But consumers sued, saying that in no way could refurbished materials be as good as new (or at least, that the language was confusing and contradictory).
For Apple’s part, it has said that those terms don’t conflict at all, because refurbished parts and devices are not inferior, and are like new.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
Apple was originally sued under what is known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty act. Magnuson-Moss says that if you offer a warranty (which you don’t have to do under the law), the terms and conditions of the warranty must be clear and be able to be understood by consumers. The law only applies to consumer goods priced over $10, not business goods or goods bought for resale.
Magnuson-Moss requires that you designate your warranty as being a full, or a limited warranty. The warranty must be available for consumers to see and read, at the same place as the sale is made, so consumers can see and consider it when making a purchase. The seller also has to give a customer copies of any warranties that are made by any manufacturers, if different than the seller.
Warranties also can be conditional on customers buying other products. You could not warranty your magic toothbrush so long as the brush is stored in your special magic toothbrush container.
It should go without saying that Magnuson-Moss also prohibits conflicting terms in warranties, or warranties that fool customers into thinking there is warranty coverage when there isn’t.
Modifying Implied Warranties
The law also makes it illegal for a warrant to modify, alter, or void, any implied warranty. As a general rule, every product sold contains an implied warranty that the product works, and is suitable for the purpose sold. This is true, even if nothing in writing provides an express warranty. You cannot offer a written warranty that alters or voids an implied warranty.
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today to review your business documents or if you have a consumer or warranty related business lawsuit.