Warranty disclaimers help protect you and your business from liability if your goods or services don’t meet your customers’ expectations.
Whether you’re a business owner or freelance professional tasked with creating a warranty disclaimer, you know how difficult it can be to understand and comply with all federal and state laws.
Read on to learn more about warranty disclaimers, see some examples, and learn how to create a good one.
What Is a Warranty Disclaimer?
A warranty disclaimer — also called an “as is” disclaimer — is a document or statement distributed to inform consumers that a business does not accept liability for issues with their product or services.
A disclaimer of warranty aims to protect your business from financial or legal implications from the distribution of faulty products or information.
Companies also use it to inform consumers that there are limitations to the agreement covering your product after purchasing.
Do Warranty Disclaimers Offer Legal Protection?
Warranty disclaimers offer essential legal protection for your company, and the more explicit your disclaimers, the more protected your business will be.
The Uniform Commercial Code standardizes state laws surrounding commercial transactions, and you will need to comply with these laws to be legally protected.
If you choose to have no warranty disclaimer, you should be prepared to accept some liability if customers deem your products or services faulty.
Types of Warranty Disclaimers
A warranty disclaimer typically belongs to one of two categories:
- Express warranty disclaimer
- Implied warranty disclaimer
Your company’s warranty disclaimer will depend on your business needs and compliance with federal and state laws.
What Is an Express Warranty Disclaimer?
An express disclaimer of warranty explicitly states what your company will accept responsibility for regarding the quality of your products or services.
The disclaimer can be made through a written or verbal agreement and does not necessarily need to include words such as “warranty” or “guarantee.” However, it does need to make a measurable statement about what consumers can expect.
If your products or services fall short of the express warranty disclaimer, your company will be responsible for any necessary replacements or repairs.
What Is an Implied Warranty Disclaimer?
Unlike an express disclaimer of warranty, which refers to precise performance claims, an implied disclaimer of warranty insinuates that your products or services will perform the way you state in your product description.
When you sell your goods and services, implied merchantability assumes that they will meet the minimum performance capabilities for which they are intended. However, this implied warranty goes both ways, and your business will not be expected to replace or repair items being misused.
What Can Be Covered in a Warranty Disclaimer?
While a warranty disclaimer should always highlight what is and is not covered when purchasing your products or services, the exact needs of your warranty disclaimer will change based on the goods and services your business provides.
Consider these common warranty disclaimer clauses for your warranty disclaimers:
Accuracy disclaimers protect your business from accepting liability regarding accidental misinformation.
Accuracy disclaimer example:
We make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information.
“As Is” Warranty Disclaimers
“As is” warranty disclaimers may protect your business from liability if unforeseen complications arise.
For example, if your company sells a piece of property, you must disclose any defects you’re aware of. However, an “as is” clause protects your company if the buyer alerts you to defects you were unaware of after selling the property.
“As Is” disclaimer example:
Except as represented in this agreement, all work product by Developer is provided “AS IS”. Other than as provided in this agreement, Developer makes no other warranties, express or implied, and hereby disclaims all implied warranties, including any warranty of merchantability and warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
Disclaimers Regarding Technical Issues
If you intend to provide any web or computer-based services, a technical issues disclaimer is essential to protect you from liability when technical issues arise.
Other common clauses found in warranty disclaimers include:
- Voiding of a warranty when the user misuses the product
- Voiding of a warranty when the user alters the product in any way
- Replacing a product that is lost or stolen
Reading examples of warranty disclaimers from similar industries can help you better understand what to cover in your warranty disclaimer.
Who Needs a Warranty Disclaimer?
The law does not always require warranty disclaimers, but they are always a good idea to protect your business from legal vulnerability.
While you may not think you need a warranty disclaimer, practically every business that provides goods or services should have one.
Below we have listed some examples of specific businesses and industries that need warranty disclaimers.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
If you own or work for a SaaS company, you can create a warranty disclaimer that states you don’t guarantee that the software will be free of errors or interruptions. You may also specify that you don’t guarantee compatibility with other systems or applications that your client may use.
By using a warranty disclaimer with this language, you won’t be responsible if your client misuses your product or if your software doesn’t meet their expectations.
A manufacturer of tangible products should include a product disclaimer to indicate to your customers that you’re not responsible for replacing or repairing products after purchase and that they cannot seek litigation against you if they are physically injured when using your products.
Even if you don’t manufacture the products yourself, you should still have a warranty disclaimer if you sell physical products to protect yourself from the same liabilities as product manufacturers.
Automotive warranty disclaimers are essential for car manufacturers and mechanics to protect themselves from being held financially or legally responsible when cars malfunction or drivers get into accidents.
Subaru, for example, utilizes the terms “as is” and “without any warranty of any kind” in their warranty disclaimer to inform buyers of what they can expect when they purchase Subaru performance parts.
In addition, resale vehicle business owners often require customers to sign a used car warranty disclaimer form.
Furthermore, car repair companies provide automotive repair warranty disclaimers regarding the work they do on their customers’ existing vehicles.
For example, Auto-Lab includes a limited auto repair warranty disclaimer for 24 months after the invoice date or before the vehicle gets driven 24,000 miles — whichever comes first.
Benefits of a Warranty Disclaimer
Warranty disclaimers provide a singular — yet significant — benefit: they protect your company from legal and financial liability — especially when customers misuse your product or service. Therefore, they should be easy to understand so that your customers know what to expect when they run into trouble.
Risks of Not Using a Warranty Disclaimer
If you’re trying to weigh the pros and cons of creating a warranty disclaimer for your business, consider the following risks of not using one:
- Customers may misuse or modify your product and expect you to replace or repair it if issues arise.
- Customers may hold your business responsible if they are injured while using your product.
- Customers may expect you to replace items that they have lost or which have gotten stolen.
- Your business may be held accountable if you accidentally misrepresent information in your written content and this information impacts another business or an individual.
Warranty disclaimers are all about mitigating risk and ensuring reasonable boundaries are established.
Warranty Disclaimer Examples
Understanding what a warranty disclaimer is and how your business can use one is essential. Sometimes, the most helpful way to learn is by looking at examples of other companies that have done a great job with their warranty disclaimers.
This section will highlight warranty disclaimer sample clauses from various businesses and industries to help you better understand how powerful the disclaimer of warranty language can be.
In its Terms and Conditions, the NFL has a disclaimer of warranties clause that is extremely thorough and uses language such as “as is,” “warranties of merchantability,” and implied warranty of “fitness for a particular purpose.”
THE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS.” WE MAKE NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON RELATING IN ANY WAY TO THE SERVICES, INCLUDING ANY PART THEREOF, OR ANY WEB SITE OR OTHER CONTENT OR SERVICE THAT MAY BE ACCESSIBLE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY THROUGH THE SERVICES.
This language clearly states their absolution from any responsibility relating to issues with their services.
In their warranty disclaimer, Azuradisc explicitly states that the user may use Azuradisc’s software at their own risk. They also clarify that they are not responsible for any technical difficulties that arise because of their software warranty disclaimer.
You expressly acknowledge and agree that use of the Software is at your sole risk. […] AZURADISC DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE SOFTWARE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, OR THAT THE OPERATION OF THE SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT DEFECTS IN THE SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED.
This warranty disclaimer clause from Amazon plainly states that they cannot be held responsible for any damages that arise from using their services unless they have a separate written contract that negates this.
TO THE FULL EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY LAW, AMAZON WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING FROM THE USE OF ANY AMAZON SERVICE, OR FROM ANY INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, PRODUCTS (INCLUDING SOFTWARE) OR OTHER SERVICES INCLUDED ON OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU THROUGH ANY AMAZON SERVICE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, AND CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN WRITING.
This clause is not only an example of relieving themselves from any oral contracts that people may claim they made but also from any misinformation accidentally spread via their products and services.
These examples showcase how you can use warranty disclaimers to preemptively protect your company from financial and legal responsibility when people utilize your products or services.
To legally protect yourself, you should consult a legal professional or compliance solutions company to confirm that your warranty disclaimer is compliant and thorough.
How To Write a Warranty Disclaimer
When writing a warranty disclaimer, remember that your ultimate goal is to protect your company from being held financially or legally responsible for any complications when customers use your products or services.
Here are some tips for writing a successful warranty disclaimer:
- Note all the areas wherein complications might arise when a customer utilizes your product.
- Communicate these pain points in your disclaimer using easy-to-understand language — avoid legalese.
- Ensure that your disclaimer uses language that effectively absolves your company from liability and uses legally appropriate wording such as “as is.” You may want to use legal software or hire a legal professional to help you.
- You should reference relevant laws noted in the Businessperson’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law.
Depending on your product or service, you may not need a lengthy warranty disclaimer. Still, the language you use is what will ultimately protect your company from any litigious customers.
Warranty disclaimers are an essential tool in protecting your business from financial and legal liability when customers are dissatisfied with your goods or services.
Whether you utilize an implied or express warranty disclaimer, the likelihood is that your business could benefit from it, and one day you’ll be happy you went to the trouble of creating a comprehensive one.