A second problem with warranty law (after exclusion and modification of warranties) is that of privity. Privity is the legal term for the direct connection between the seller and buyer, the two contracting parties.
For decades, the doctrine of privity has held that one person can sue another only if they are in privity. That worked well in the days when most commerce was local and the connection between seller and buyer was immediate. But in a modern industrial (or postindustrial) economy, the product is transported through a much larger distribution system, as depicted in Figure 17.2. Two questions arise: (1) Is the manufacturer or wholesaler (as opposed to the retailer) liable to the buyer under warranty theory? and (2) May the buyer’s family or friends assert warranty rights?