Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Warranty Definition:

A guarantee given on the performance of a product or the doing of a certain thing.

Related Terms: Disclaimer, Contract, Innominate Terms, Guarantee or Guaranty

For example, many consumer products come with warranties under which the manufacturer will repair or replace any product that fails during the warranty period; the commitment to repair or replace being the warranty.

In Bouzane, Justice DesRoches wrote, at ¶12:

"A warranty is the assurance by one party to a contract of the existence of a fact upon which the other party to the contract may rely. It is an assurance given by the promisor to the promisee in order to relieve the promisee of any duty to ascertain the fact for himself or herself. It is a term of the contract, but is collateral to the main purpose of the contract."

Justice Dickson of Canada's Supreme Court used these words in Fraser-Reid:

"A warranty is a term in a contract which does not go to the root of the agreement between the parties but simply expresses some lesser obligation, the failure to perform which can give rise to an action for damages, but never to the rights to rescind or repudiate the contract. An affirmation at the time of sale is a warranty provided it appears on the evidence to have been intended. No special form of words is necessary.

"It must be a collateral undertaking forming part of the contract by agreement of the parties express or implied, and must be given during the course of the dealing which leads to the bargain, and should then enter into the bargain as part of it."

Justice Wilson adopted these words:

"A warranty may be distinguished from a representation....

"[A] warranty is a promise that a proposition of fact is true. A warranty is intended to relieve the promises of any duty to ascertain the truth of facts herself, and is tantamount to a promise to indemnify the promisee for any loss if the fact warranted proves to be untrue.

"A representation, on the other hand, is an express or implied statement made before or at the time the contract was executed, in regard to some past or existing fact, circumstances, or state of facts pertinent to the contract, which is influential in bringing about the agreement."1

In Dawson the House of Lords held, extracted from the judgments of Justice Haldane and Finlay:

"The proper signification of the word (warranty) in the law of England is an agreement which refers to the subject matter of a contract, but, not being an essential part of the contract either intrinsically or by agreement, is collateral to the main purpose of such a contract. Yet irrespective of this, the word came to be employed in England where what was meant was something of wider operation, a pure condition....

"The expression warranty imports that a particular state of facts in the present or in the future is a term of the contract, and further, that if a warranty is not made good the contract of insurance is void. It is not necessary that the term warranty should be used, as any form of words expressing the existence of a particular state of facts as a condition of the contract is enough to constitute a warranty. If there is such a warranty the materiality of the facts in themselves is irrelevant; by contract their existence is a condition of the contract."

French: garantie.

REFERENCES:

  • Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc. v. Avonlea Traditions , 4 C.P.R. (4th) 289 (2000, Ontario Superior Court of Justice; Note 1, ¶203)
  • Bouzane v. Murphy, [2000] 2 P.E.I.R. 410 (Prince Edward Island Supreme Court, Trial Division)
  • Dawson's Ltd. v. Bonnin, [1922] 2 A.C. 413
  • Fraser-Reid v. Droumtsekas, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 720

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