Shops flout warranty selling rulesOFT probe finds stores ignore rules

06 October 2008

People shopping

Shoppers aren't getting the protection they're due under rules brought in to stop hard sell on extended warranties. 

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has just published the results of a test which found that many stores aren't giving shoppers warranty information required under rules introduced in 2005. The rules were designed to stamp out dodgy sales tactics and allow shoppers to compare different warranties. 

Under the rules, stores must show prices for a warranty next to the relevant product, and they must supply a leaflet detailing certain information and your rights. But the OFT found that leaflets weren't always prominently displayed and five out of 13 leaflets examined missed out some required information.

Broken the rules

In 45% of stores visited by undercover shoppers, the required information about extended warranties was missing, the OFT said.

Its researchers also found that up to one third of sales staff failed to give consumers the correct information concerning their rights.

The OFT says it has written to the stores concerned and is working with trade bodies to ensure electrical stores are aware of their obligations. 

More competitive

The good news is that the OFT has found that action to make warranties more competitive has saved consumers money - to the tune of £51m. 

The number of people buying extended warranties at the point of sale has also fallen drastically, from 82% in 2002 to 68% this year - and 15% now shop around for extended warranties, compared to just 4% six years ago.

Last year, Which? found some unnecessary extended warranties that cost half the price of the product itself. 

You have the right to cancel a warranty and get a full refund 45 days after buying it, and to be informed that any price quoted for a warranty, including a discount, is valid for 30 days. 

 

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