Can statements made about a car's quality be treated as an express warranty?

Is there a specific statute that establishes this?

I've heard before that things that someone tells you about a car's quality or condition can be treated as an express warranty, but am not sure where, specifically that rule comes from.

If something mentioned about the car is found to be not true, would that be considered a breach of warranty and would the seller then be liable to either correct the issue or take the car back?

If so, is there a limit to the scope of issues that would apply here? (i.e how small of an issue would count)

I am not writing in regards to a specific issue I've had, but am purchasing a vehicle privately and was curious about this.

In my own scenario, I've been texting someone I know about purchasing a car, and have several statements in writing from this conversation regarding the condition of the car.

As an example, if someone told you that a car had an aftermarket, performance exhaust installed on the vehicle and you then found that it was just the stock part, would that count?

What if someone told you that the car was in good condition and hadn't been in any accidents, but you later discovered there was frame damage on the car?

1 Answer 1


What you describe is covered by the concept of fraud, which is more serious. If a person knowingly makes a false representation of the car as having a particular kind of exhaust, which you rely on in accepting their offer, that is fraud: the "offense" occurs before the contract (it is what gets you to agree to the contract). A express warranty is part of the contract, typically has a time limit, generally comes from the manufacturer, and are about reliability.

Regarding fraud, it is necessary that the seller knows that the statement is false. If he actually believes that the car has a custom exhaust system (because he paid for one) but the shop simply took his money, and you later buy the car, then he hasn't defrauded you. A claim like "this car will last 100,000 miles" can be a warranty, but if the car dies after 50,000 miles, that is not fraud, because the seller doesn't know the statement is false, he was just mistaken about whether it will turn out to be true.

An express warranty as defined in the Uniform Commercial Code would subsume frauds.

  • You've explained the difference here very well.
    – schizoid04
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 15:43
  • 2
    As the link in this answer explains a bit more directly, a verbal statement about a car from the person selling it will generally constitute an express warranty about it pursuant to the UCC. The warranty liability, unlike fraud liability, would arise even if the seller doesn't know that the statement is false.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 17:22

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