whats the difference between

  ajm 01:24 01 Apr 2004

maybe a silly question, but whats the differences between a warranty and a guarantee

  Forum Editor 07:12 01 Apr 2004

many people think the two are one and the same thing, but they're not.

A guarantee is traditionally a promise - that something will be done, or some benefit bestowed. In our context it's usually offered by the manufacturer of an item, and will be valid for a set period - often one or two years. The terms of a manufacturer's guarantee normally extend to covering the cost of replacement parts (or the entire item) if they/it should prove to be defective within the stated period. A manufacturer's guarantee is in addition to (not in place of) your right of recourse to the retailer under current consumer legislation.

A warranty (again in our context) is effectively an insurance which comes into force on payment of a fee by you to the retailer. In fact the warranty will be underwritten by a finance company - a third party - and the retailer gets a portion of the fee in return for getting you to sign up and handling the paperwork. The warranty will be in addition to your rights in law, and also to the manufacturer's guarantee. Warranty claims are usually subject to certain terms and conditions, and you must read those carefully before committing yourself.

Many people in the consumer-advice business have warned that warranties are often highly-priced and totally unnecessary; you get adequate protection under the law, and the cost of extending your protection beyond the statutory period is far and away more expensive than the cost of paying for any likely repairs. In addition, the road to satisfaction under a warranty claim is often a stony one, and stories abound of people who had great difficulty in getting a claim settled.

In the end it's your choice, but if you do pay for an extended warranty make absolutely sure that you've read the small print thoroughly, and that you understand precisely what is (and isn't) covered in the event of a claim.

This depends on wheter you want the laymans definition or "legal Speak"

In lay terms a (manufacturers) warranty is the same as a gaurantee - "We give a years warranty/gaurantee that this product will not break down etc". In other word they "warrant" that the item will be free from defects for that time.

In legal terms a warranty is a term of the contract and its importance will become apparent only when a breach has occured. For example, there are four recognised "terms" of contracts - Warranties, Conditions, Innominate terms and fundamental terms. A fundamental term was one that if broken rendered the contract wholly void as it would amount to non-performance of the contract. A condition is an important term, breach of which would allow the injured party to either affirm or repudiate the contract but in either case claim damages; an innominate term is a term that if broken the remidies will depend on the seriousness ofthe breach. For example, can the contract continue despite the breach and damages be awarded to the injured party or is the breach of such a serious nature the effect is to remove the contract of all its value? These types of terms are decided by the courts where breach of a condition allowing the injured party to repudiate the contract would be "over the top" but that damages would suffice.

A warranty is a minor term, breach of which will not affect the substance of the contract to the degree that it can be repudiated (unles the parties have agreed otherwise - in which case it will be a condition) and a breach of a warranty will allow the innocent party a claim to damages only. It has been said that a warranty is

"an express or implied statement of something which the party undertakes shall be part of the contract; and though part of the contract, collateral to the express object of it"

So for example, a warranty may be a retailer stating that all goods are shipped for next day delivery. You place your order and dont receive the goods for three days. (due to a fault their end). The contract was for the sale and purchase of goods and the next day delivery was collateral to that purpose. That delivery was late does not render the whole object of the contract lost - you still have your goods and your only remedy is to damages.

However, if you state that the goods MUST be delivered by next day then the emphasis shifts and that term becomes at least a condition (allowing repudiation or affirmation and damages) if not a fundemental term (the goods had to be received next day for a job and were sourced elsewhere rendering the purpose of the contract - goods on next day delivery - the overriding objective.

And the FE provides an excellent discription of the difference between warranty and gaurantee! (Which is probably what you were after in any event....!

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