Magnuson Moss Warranty Act Summary
Enacted in 1975 the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that regulates warranties on consumer products that cost $25 or more and do not perform as expected after purchase. The act applies to implied warranties, written (or express) warranties and service contracts. The statute is intended to protect consumers from deceptive warranty practices, ensuring that warranties when provided by a seller are more easily understood by the buyer and enforceable should a breach of warranty occur. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is often referred to as the federal lemon law though each state has its own law regarding defective consumer products including vehicles.
A full warranty must fulfill certain specific requirements and in the event of a defect, malfunction, or if the product fails to conform to the written warranty, the warrantor can attempt to fix the product at no cost to the consumer and within a reasonable time period. A full warranty cannot restrict the duration of any implied warranty on the product and in the event of an issue that cannot be fixed or repair after numerous attempts; the consumer must be able to choose either a replacement or refund at no charge. If the damage associated with a warranted consumer product can be proven by the warrantor to have been caused by damage once the product had left the place of purchase or by unreasonable use, the warrantor’s responsibilities under the Act are waived.
For the purpose of service contract regulation, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that full and clear disclosure of the terms and conditions set forth in a service contract must be presented in an easy to read and comprehend manner in order to prevent any deception on the part of the seller and misinterpretation on the part of the buyer. In certain situations a service contract may fall under state law and thus would not be regulated under federal warranty law.
If a consumer pursues a remedy for a breach of warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Act, they may hire an attorney, file a complaint and pursue legal action against a warrantor. Reasonable attorney fees and court costs may be recovered under the act if the consumer or plaintiff prevails. Contact a lemon law attorney who can advise of your rights under both the federal lemon law and the lemon law in the state where the vehicle was purchased.
Last Modified: Friday, March 22, 2013