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Q.What is the implied warranty of merchantability?

A.Implied warranties are legal rights that exist as a matter of law, whether or not the manufacturer and/or dealer makes express representations about the goods. To the extent that they exist, implied arranties create legal rights above and beyond what is in the written warranty. There are two types of implied warranties; they come automatically with every sale of goods: (1) the implied warranty of mechantability and (2) fitness for a particular use.

The Implied Warranty of Merchantability is implied by law in every contract (unless specifically disclaimed in the contract of sale) with a merchant for the sale of new or used goods. It guarantees that the goods will be reasonably suitable for their ordinary purpose.

Pursuant to California Commercial Code section 2314(2), for goods to be "merchantabile", they must:

  • "Pass without objection in the tradeunder the contract description; and
  • In the case of fungible goods, are of fair average quality within the description; and
  • Are fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used; and
  • Run, within the variations permitted by the agreement [i.e., the contract of sale], of even kind, quality and quantity within each unit and among all units involved; and
  • Are adequately contained, packaged and labeled as the agreement may require; and
  • Conform to the promises or affirmations of fact made on the container or label if any."
  • The official comment to this Code section says it "does not purport to exhaust the definition of merchantable" and leaves open the possibility that there may be, in certain situations, additional attributes of merchantability.

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