LEGAL VIEWPOINT: Warranties – By Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

A warranty is a contractual promise by the seller regarding the quality character or suitability of the goods he has sold. In a suit for breach of warranty, plaintiff claims that the product didn’t meet the sellers promise. If the seller, through words or behavior makes promises about the goods, he has created an express warranty. In addition, certain responsibilities for the quality of goods sold are imposed on the seller by the law. The warranties imposed by the law are implied warranties.

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In order to create an express warranty, it does not matter whether the seller uses the words warranty or guarantee, or he intends to make a warranty. The critical elements for creation of express warranty, the seller makes a statement of fact or a promise to the buyer concerning the goods and becomes part of the bargain between them. Sellers who merely give an opinion or recommends the goods do not create an express warranty. Thus, sellers are not considered to have made an express warranty, if they confine their statements to normal “sales talk”. Sales talk as “it is a good buy”, “goods are first class” and “should be happy” …

Statement by a seller is interpreted as an opinion or as an express warranty often depends on the experience of the buyer and seller. If the seller deals in the goods, and the buyer does not deal in such goods, a statement by the seller about the quality of the goods might be interpreted as a warranty. On the other hand, if the buyer is of experience like the seller, the same statement might be interpreted as an expression of opinion.

In negotiating a sale, a seller may use descriptive terms to covey to the buyer an idea of the quality or characteristic of the goods, for example, this brand is “a skin cream for oily skin”. Similarly, a seller might use pictures, drawings, technical specifications, or in some cases a sample or model. When a seller uses descriptive terms and the buyer takes them into consideration when making the purchase, the seller has expressly warrantied that the goods meet that description. If a sample or model is part of the basis of a bargain of a contract, the seller has expressly warranted that the goods will conform to the sample or model. Express warranty gives responsibility.