implied warranty of merchantability

Primary tabs

An implied warranty of merchantability is a type of warranty defined in U.C.C. § 2-314. U.C.C. § 2-314(1) states that, unless otherwise excluded or modified, a warranty that the goods are merchantable is implied in a contract for sale if the seller is a merchant of these sorts of goods. 

In other words, if the seller is a person who deals in these particular goods or, by their occupation, holds themselves out to others as having knowledge or skill particular to the practices or goods involved in the transaction, it is implied that, each time the seller sells this good, the seller promises that the good is fit for the ordinary purposes for which it is originally intended to be used. 

This warranty arises by operation of the law; it is independent of anything the seller may say or do. However, when the buyer has either (a) examined the goods, sample, or model as fully as desired or (b) refused to examine the goods, there is no implied warranty with respect to defects that should have been revealed by examination. 

In Webster v. Blue Ship Tea Room, 347 Mass. 421, 198 N.E.2d 309 (1964), for instance, the plaintiff ate a piece of bone while eating fish chowder and was subsequently injured. The court found that the plaintiff waived the implied warranty of merchantability because the plaintiff voluntarily ordered fish chowder, the plaintiff was familiar with fish chowder, and it is natural to expect fish bone in fish chowder.

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]