Packaged Warranty Language Creates a Contract Between Manufacturer and End-User
In Horton v. Woodman Labs, Inc., No. 8:13-cv-3176-T-30MAP, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45502 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 2, 2014), the Middle District of Florida held that the manufacturer’s written warranty constituted a written agreement between the manufacturer and the end-user, even though the end-user bought the product from a third party and not the manufacturer, citing Mesa v. BMW of N. Am., LLC, 904 So. 2d 450 (Fla. 3d DCA 2005), and Fischetti v. Am. Isuzu Motors, Inc., 918 So. 2d 974 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005).
The express terms of the contract, in this case the warranty, should control the outcome of the parties’ dispute. In Mesa and Fischetti, the warranties explicitly stated that they were not limited to the original purchasers, but extended to end-users regardless of how purchased. Interestingly, the language the court in Horton construed to accomplish that effect was the statement that “[the] products and accessories are guaranteed against manufacturing defects one (1) year from the original date of purchase.” I think it is somewhat of a stretch, though not altogether unreasonable, to construe that sentence to address the identity of the parties to whom the warranty extends. It seems like it was attempting to address the length of the warranty, and nothing more. Maybe the word ‘original’ creates room for disagreement, as its inclusion could theoretically be read to contemplate later purchases. All this shows though is that, as we continue to repeat, you should draft your agreements with care. For manufacturers, if you want to limit who benefits from your express warranty language, simply say so in the warranty, e.g. by expressly stating that the warranty extends only to the original purchaser.
How We Can Help
If you, a friend or a family member find themselves in a situation such as this, please call the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A. at 305 670-3330 right away. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is a licensed civil law attorney who has been practicing law since 1987. He is available whenever you need him to pursue your rights. Please learn about our firm at www.FerrisLawFirm.com.