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Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

consumer item products written

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty–Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act was the first federal statute to address the law of WARRANTY. The act (15 U.S.C.A. § 2301 et seq.) mandates that a written warranty on any consumer product that costs more than $5 must completely and conspicuously disclose, in easily understood words, the terms and conditions of the warranty. A warranty may guarantee several things, such as that the item will perform in a certain way or that the manufacturer will repair or replace the item if it is defective.

The act was sponsored by Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Frank E. Moss. Congress passed the act in 1975. Its purpose was to improve the information available to consumers, prevent deception, and improve competition in the marketing of consumer products, which are defined as property distributed in commerce and actually used for personal, family, or household purposes. The act provides a federal CAUSE OF ACTION for consumers who experience problems with warranted durable goods. If a plaintiff prevails against a seller in a lawsuit brought under the act, the plaintiff is entitled to recover all litigation expenses, including attorney's fees based on actual time expended, as determined by the court.

The Act does not require that manufacturers or sellers of consumer products provide written warranties. Instead, the act requires that manufacturers and sellers who do warrant their products to clearly disclose the terms of the warranty so that the consumer understands his or her rights under the warranty.

In addition, according to the act, a written warranty on a consumer product that costs more than $10 must be clearly labeled as "full" or "limited." A full warranty means that whoever promises to fix the item must do so in cases of defect or where the item does not conform to the warranty. This action must be done within a reasonable time and without charge. A limited warranty can contain reasonable restrictions regarding the responsibilities of the manufacturer or seller for the repair or replacement of the item.

FURTHER READINGS

Schaefer, David T. 1996. "Attorney's Fees for Consumers in Warranty Actions—An Expanding Role for the UCC?" Indiana Law Journals 61 (summer).

CROSS-REFERENCES

Consumer Protection.

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