Definition of a warranty
A warranty is a legally binding assurance that any problems caused by a defect in the manufacturing of a certain product will be remedied during a certain specified period of time.
The customer will usually pay for the privilege of having a warranty which will usually extend to the following things:
- Accidental damage
- Cost of repairs
- Cost of replacement parts
A warranty for the above things is most common in the case of purchasing electrical products and in most cases a warranty will last for 12 months to two years. In some cases in relation to more expensive goods a warranty may last for up to five years.
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 the Sale of Goods Act?
Even if you do not have a warranty over goods which you have purchased you will still be provided with statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 as amended.
In the absence of a warranty the retailer of the goods is automatically liable for any faults which may develop within the first six months of ownership. Following this initial six month period the consumer will have to prove that any faults occurring are not down to misuse of the product or general wear and tear. Other factors such as the price paid, the specification or the model of the goods, the length of time you have had the goods and the length of time which they should last.
This means that if you have purchased a product which should last six years but which has broken down after only two the supplier or retailer will be liable to provide a satisfactory repair. If this cannot be done they should provide you with a replacement product. If neither of these can be agreed on then often a partial refund of the cost of the product can be provided.
What if my warranty has run out?
If a warranty which you have purchased in relation to goods has run out this will have no effect on your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act meaning that a retailer cannot refuse to provide you with a repair simply because the length of time of the warranty has expired.
Your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act can often last for up to six years in relation to certain products in many cases lasting longer than any acquired warranty.
What is meant by an extended warranty?
An extended warranty will become valid after the basic 1-2 year warranty has expired and will often run 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 a consumer with more protection than their basic rights under the Sale of Goods Act.
Since April 2005 following the introduction of the Supply of Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order 2005 retailers selling electrical goods must supply extended warranties in the following ways:
- The price of the extended warranty must be displayed alongside the electrical item when it is on display in the store but also when it is advertised through the press
- Information regarding the consumers’ existing statutory rights must be provided.
- Information regarding the consumers’ cancellation rights, information in relation to the circumstances of the company going out of business and information in relation to the existence of the warranty following a claim must be provided.
- Information in relation to the 45 day cooling off period whereby an extended warranty can be cancelled must also be provided. Following an agreement for an extended warranty this information must also be provided to the consumer in writing.
- Information in relation to the consumer’s right to purchase an extended warranty for up to 30 days on the same terms that it was first offered in the store must also be provided.
These rules will not apply in the following circumstances:
- If the warranty was provided for free
- If the warranty does not relate to repair or replacement of the goods