Implied Warranty Of Merchantability

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Definition: Implied Warranty Of Merchantability

Full Definition of Implied Warranty Of Merchantability

In common law jurisdictions, an implied warranty is a contract law term for certain assurances that are presumed to be made in the sale of products or real property, due to the circumstances of the sale. These assurances are characterized as warranties irrespective of whether the seller has expressly promised them verbally or in writing. They include an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, an implied warranty of merchantability for products, and an implied warranty of habitability for a home.

Fitness For A Particular Purpose

An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, sometimes referred to simply as a warranty of fitness, is a warranty implied by law that if a seller knows or has reason to know of a particular purpose for which some item is being purchased by the buyer, the seller is guaranteeing that the item is fit for that particular purpose. This differs from a warranty of merchantability in two ways:

  • First, the warranty of fitness applies to all sellers, not just professional merchants; and
  • Second, the warranty of fitness requires the seller to know or have reason to know of a specific purpose to which the property sold is going to be put.

For example, if Joey buys four end-tables from Susan (a non-merchant) and then uses them to prop up his car while he works on the muffler, Susan is not liable for any injury that occurs to Joey – unless Joey told Susan that he was buying the end-tables for that purpose.

The implied warranty of fitness is described in US law by Article 2, Section 315 of the Uniform Commercial Code.


An implied warranty of merchantability is a warranty implied by law that if a merchant (meaning someone who makes an occupation of selling things) sells something, that merchant is guaranteeing that the goods are reasonably fit for the general purpose for which they are sold. To be merchantable (salable), goods must meet the following conditions:

  1. The goods must conform to the standards of the trade as applicable to the contract for sale.
  2. They must fit for the purposes such goods are ordinarily used, even if the buyer ordered them for use otherwise.
  3. They must be uniform as to quality and quantity, within tolerances of the contract for sale.
  4. They must be packed and labelled per the contract for sale.
  5. They must meet the specifications on the package labels, even if not so specified by the contract for sale.

This warranty will apply to one who is a merchant and regularly deals in the type of merchandise sold. If the merchandise is sold with an express “guarantee”, the terms of the implied warranty of merchantability will fill the gaps left by that guarantee. If the terms of the express guarantee are not specified, they will be considered to be the terms of the implied warranty of merchantability.

In the United States, this subject is governed by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC allows sellers to disclaim the implied warranty of merchantability, provided the disclaimer is made conspicuously and the disclaimer explicitly uses the term “merchantability” in the disclaimer. Some states, however, have implemented the UCC such that this can not be disclaimed.


An implied warranty of habitability is a warranty implied by law that by leasing a residential property, the lessor is promising that it is suitable to be lived in, and will remain so for the duration of the lease.

Disclaimer of an implied warranty

An implied warranty can be expressly disclaimed in a sales contract by the use of specific language, such as the words, “as is” or “with all faults”. Such language must be conspicuous in the contract, e.g., in a different kind of print or font that makes it stand out. On the other hand, express warranty, that is, any affirmation of fact or promise to the buyer, or description of the good, oral or written, can be negated or limited only if such disclaimers are not unreasonable. (Uniform Commercial Code, Section 2-316 (1)).

Some jurisdictions, however, limit the ability of sellers or manufacturers to disclaim the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness, such as Massachusetts. (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 106: Section 2-316A).

Contractual language can also limit the remedies available for breach of an implied warranty – for example, capping recoverable damages or limiting the remedy to a replacement of a defective item. However, such a term can be found to be unconscionable. For example, if a defective product causes a personal injury, a contractual provision limiting recovery in such a case will be deemed prima facie unconscionable. (Uniform Commercial Code, §2-719(3).)

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Modern Language Association (MLA):
Implied Warranty Of Merchantability. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 23, 2021
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Implied Warranty Of Merchantability. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 23, 2021).
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Definition Sources

Definitions for Implied Warranty Of Merchantability are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 24th April, 2020 | 36 Views.