Definition of a warranty
A warranty is a form of guarantee that a manufacturer gives regarding the condition of its product. It also outlines in what circumstances repairs will be made or refunds/exchanges allowed if the product does not perform as expected or described.
A warranty will often limit the circumstances in which the manufacturer will be obliged to fix a problem; for example, repairs may only be made if the fault was due to defective parts or poor workmanship.
A warranty is most common in the case of purchasing electrical products. Generally, a warranty will last for 12 months to two years, although in relation to more expensive goods, it may last longer.
Warranties have the same effect as insurance policies, some are even underwritten by insurance companies and are said to give the consumer the peace of mind over the first few years of ownership of a product.
What rights do I have under statute?
Even if you do not have a warranty over goods which you have purchased, you still have statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015).
If goods bought from a retailer aren’t of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described, you have the right to return them and get a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
Within six months of purchase, it’s up to the retailer to prove that you caused the problem with the goods: if they can’t, they’ll have to repair or replace the goods or give you a refund if that’s not possible.
After this initial six-month period, you will have to prove that any faults are not down to misuse of the product or general wear and tear. This might require you to obtain an expert report, opinion or evidence of similar problems across the product range. Factors such as the price, the specification/model of the goods, the length of time you’ve had the goods and the length of time which they should last will all be considerations.
If all else fails, you have six years from when you bought the faulty goods to take a claim to the small claims court and reclaim the cost of repair of the product.
What if my warranty has run out?
If a warranty in relation to goods you have bought has run out, this will have no effect on your statutory rights under CRA 2015, meaning a retailer cannot refuse to provide you with a repair simply because the warranty has expired.
What is meant by an extended warranty?
An extended warranty is usually something you’ll need to pay for and will be valid after the basic 1-2 year warranty has expired – often running for a further 2-3 years. It is similar to a basic warranty but will often cover damage caused by accident or misuse and in some cases even loss or theft, therefore providing you with more protection than your basic rights under CRA 2015.
Under the Supply of Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order 2005, retailers selling electrical goods must supply extended warranties having provided you with the following information:
- your existing statutory rights;
- that the extended warranty is optional;
- your cancellation rights;
- the status of the warranty following a claim;
- your rights if the company goes out of business;
- the 45 day cooling off period during which an extended warranty can be cancelled;
- your right to purchase an extended warranty for up to 30 days on the same terms that it was first offered in the store;
- the price of the extended warranty must be displayed alongside the electrical item when it is on display in the store and when it is advertised.