Is there any type of warranty for a product I bought from a second-hand store?

QUESTION: Is there any type of warranty for a product I bought from a second-hand store?

ANSWER: An implied warranty of merchantability on a used product is a promise that it can be used as expected, given its type and price range. As with new merchandise, implied warranties on used merchandise apply only when the seller is a merchant who deals in such goods, not when a sale is made by a private individual.

If the store doesn’t offer a written warranty, the law in most states allows the business to disclaim implied warranties. However, selling without implied warranties may well indicate to potential customers that the product is risky -low quality, damaged or discontinued – and should be available at a lower price.

In order to disclaim implied warranties, the business must inform consumers in a conspicuous manner, and generally in writing, that the business will not be responsible if the product malfunctions or is defective. It must be clear to consumers that the entire product risk falls on them. The business must specifically indicate that it does not warrant “merchantability,” or must use a phrase such as “with all faults,” or “as is.” A few states have special laws on how the business must phrase an “as is” disclosure.

Some states don’t allow businesses to sell consumer products “as is.” At this time, these states are Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In these states, sellers have implied warranty obligations that can’t be avoided.

If a business sells a product “as is” and it proves to be defective or dangerous and causes personal injury to someone, the business still may be liable under the principles of product liability. Selling the product “as is” doesn’t eliminate this liability.

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