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When Does Website Content Create an Express Warranty Under the UCC?

| Sep 12, 2011 | Firm News |

Zwart v. Hewlett-Packard Company (N.D. CA Aug. 23, 2011) 2011 WL 3740805

Can website content create an express warranty for the goods offered? In Zwart v. Hewlett-Packard Co. (N.D. CA Aug. 23, 2011) 2011 WL 3740805 the court said “yes.” Plaintiff claimed that the computer he purchased online did not have a wireless card with features described on HP’s website. Plaintiff argued that the website’s feature descriptions constituted an express warranty, and that HP was liable for a breach of that warranty because the laptop did not conform. The foundation for plaintiff’s case was UCC Section 2-313(1)(b), which provides that “any description of goods which is made the basis of the bargain creates an express warranty that the goods shall conform to the description.”

HP answered that the website language could not be construed as a representation or warranty. The court indicated that because the language at issue was activated when a customer opened a pop-up box, it was reasonable to conclude that this could be a representation. The court’s analysis was cursory. The court did not actually conclude that the language was a representation creating a warranty, merely that the allegation was sufficient to survive an attack on the pleadings. Further, the court noted that California case law supports the proposition that a limited warranty might not bar the right to pursue a claim for an express warranty by description.

Ultimately, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case, because the website language at issue related to custom-order laptops, and the plaintiff had only purchased an off-the-shelf laptop, not a custom laptop.