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Title 16 Part 239

Title 16 → Chapter I → Subchapter B → Part 239

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 16 Part 239

e-CFR data is current as of November 15, 2018

Title 16Chapter ISubchapter B → Part 239


Title 16: Commercial Practices


PART 239—GUIDES FOR THE ADVERTISING OF WARRANTIES AND GUARANTEES

§239.1   Purpose and scope of the guides.

The Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and Guarantees are intended to help advertisers avoid unfair or deceptive practices in the advertising of warranties or guarantees. The Guides are based upon Commission cases, and reflect changes in circumstances brought about by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) and the FTC Rules promulgated pursuant to the Act (16 CFR parts 701 and 702). The Guides do not purport to anticipate all possible unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the advertising of warranties or guarantees and the Guides should not be interpreted to limit the Commission's authority to proceed against such acts or practices under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Commission may bring an action under section 5 against any advertiser who misrepresents the product or service offered, who misrepresents the terms or conditions of the warranty offered, or who employs other deceptive or unfair means.

Section 239.2 of the Guides applies only to advertisements for written warranties on consumer products, as “written warranty” and “consumer product” are defined in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. 2301, that are covered by the Rule on Pre-Sale Availability or Written Warranty Terms, 16 CFR part 702. The other sections of the Guides apply to the advertising of any warranty or guarantee.

[50 FR 18470, May 1, 1985; 50 FR 20899, May 21, 1985]

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§239.2   Disclosures in warranty or guarantee advertising.

(a) If an advertisement mentions a warranty or guarantee that is offered on the advertised product, the advertisement should disclose, with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood by prospective purchasers, that prior to sale, at the place where the product is sold, prospective purchasers can see the written warranty or guarantee for complete details of the warranty coverage.1

1In television advertising, the Commission will regard any disclosure of the pre-sale availability of warranties as complying with this Guide if the advertisement makes the necessary disclosure simultaneously with or immediately following the warranty claim and the disclosure is made in the audio portion, or, if in the video portion, it remains on the screen for at least five seconds.

Examples: The following are examples of disclosures sufficient to convey to prospective purchasers that, prior to sale, at the place where the product is sold, they can see the written warranty or guarantee for complete details of the warranty coverage. These examples are for both print and broadcast advertising. These examples are illustrative, not exhaustive. In each example, the portion of the advertisement that mentions the warranty or guarantee is in regular type and the disclosure is in italics.

A. “The XYZ washing machine is backed by our limited 1 year warranty. For complete details, see our warranty at a dealer near you.”

B. “The XYZ bicycle is warranted for 5 years. Some restrictions may apply. See a copy of our warranty wherever XYZ products are sold.”

C. “We offer the best guarantee in the business. Read the details and compare wherever our fine products are sold.”

D. “See our full 2 year warranty at the store nearest you.”

E. “Don't take our word—take our warranty. See our limited 2 year warranty where you shop.”

(b) If an advertisement in any catalogue, or in any other solicitation2 for mail order sales or for telephone order sales mentions a warranty or guarantee that is offered on the advertised product, the advertisement should disclose, with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood by prospective purchasers, that prospective purchasers can obtain complete details of the written warranty or guarantee free from the seller upon specific written request or from the catalogue or other solicitation (whichever is applicable).

2See note 1.

Examples: The following are examples of disclosures sufficient to convey to consumers how they can obtain complete details of the written warranty or guarantee prior to placing a mail or telephone order. These examples are illustrative, not exhaustive. In each example, the portion of the advertisement that mentions the warranty or guarantee is in regular typeface and the disclosure is in italics.

A. “ABC quality cutlery is backed by our 10 year warranty. Write to us for a free copy at: (address).”

B. “ABC power tools are guaranteed. Read about our limited 90 day warranty in this catalogue.”

C. “Write to us for a free copy of our full warranty. You'll be impressed how we stand behind our product.”

[50 FR 20899, May 21, 1985]

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§239.3   “Satisfaction Guarantees” and similar representations in advertising; disclosure in advertising that mentions “satisfaction guarantees” or similar representations.

(a) A seller or manufacturer should use the terms “Satisfaction Guarantee,” “Money Back Guarantee,” “Free Trial Offer,” or similar representations in advertising only if the seller or manufacturer, as the case may be, refunds the full purchase price of the advertised product at the purchaser's request.

(b) An advertisement that mentions a “Satisfaction Guarantee” or a similar representation should disclose, with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood by prospective purchasers, any material limitations or conditions that apply to the “Satisfaction Guarantee” or similar representation.

Examples: These examples are for both print and broadcast advertising. These examples are illustrative, not exhaustive.

Example A: (In an advertisement mentioning a satisfaction guarantee that is conditioned upon return of the unused portion within 30 days) “We guarantee your satisfaction. If not completely satisfied with Acme Spot Remover, return the unused portion within 30 days for a full refund.”

Example B: (In an advertisement mentioning a money back guarantee that is conditioned upon return of the product in its original packaging) “Money Back Guarantee! Just return the ABC watch in its original package and ABC will fully refund your money.”

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§239.4   “Lifetime” and similar representations.

If an advertisement uses “lifetime,” “life,” or similar representations to describe the duration of a warranty or guarantee, then the advertisement should disclose, with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood by prospective purchasers, the life to which the representation refers.

Examples: These examples are for both print and broadcast advertising. These examples are illustrative, not exhaustive.

Example A: (In an advertisement mentioning a lifetime guarantee on an automobile muffler where the duration of the guarantee is measured by the life of the car in which it is installed) “Our lifetime guarantee on the Whisper Muffler protects you for as long as your car runs—even if you sell it, trade it, or give it away!”

Example B: (In an advertisement mentioning a lifetime guarantee on a battery where the duration of the warranty is for as long as the original purchaser owns the car in which it was installed) “Our battery is backed by our lifetime guarantee. Good for as long as you own the car!”

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§239.5   Performance of warranties or guarantees.

A seller or manufacturer should advertise that a product is warranted or guaranteed only if the seller or manufacturer, as the case may be, promptly and fully performs its obligations under the warranty or guarantee.

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