9 bizarre ways that you can void your product's warrantyThe warranty clauses that can catch you out
22 June 2016
The first thing you do when you take delivery of a new coffee machine, vacuum, fridge or washing machine is turn it on to test it out. The last thing on most of our to-do lists is reading the warranty from cover to cover.
Knowing what's in a warranty will help you negotiate repair or replacement should a fault emerge. But warranty exclusions are often scattered throughout a product's operating manual, buried in the manufacturer's website, or on a warranty card inside the product's packaging.
Below we reveal some of the more curious clauses in product warranties, so you know what to look for in the fine print.
For more common exclusions, don't miss our full consumer rights guide to common warranty exclusions.
Curious clauses in product warranties
1. Coffee capsules
Our recent coffee capsule taste test uncovered some great-tasting third party pods for Nespresso machines - but judging by coffee machine warranties, you might want to think twice before you use one. Any damage caused to your machine by a third party Nespresso capsule won’t be covered by your machine’s warranty.
The good news is that non-Nespresso branded coffee capsules are usually well-designed to fit these machines, and ever since a French court ruling forced Nespresso to share information on its machines, the quality of third-party coffee pods has improved.
2. Don't forget to descale
When you come to descale your coffee machine, resist the urge to reach for vinegar to do the job. Vinegar will not only make your coffee taste bad, but could also damage the sensitive internal components and void the warranty, says manufacturer De’Longhi. It recommends that you use its own branded descaler - at £10 for 500ml. But, it also says that using a suitable unbranded descaler will not void your warranty, so you might want to go for a cheaper option if you can find one.
3. Farmers left out
If you're a farmer who is fond of getting a homemade morning caffeine hit, you may be voiding your coffee machine’s warranty. Using your coffee machine in a farmhouse or any other non-domestic place, such as an office or B&B, might leave you unable to claim a repair or refund if your machine develops a fault.
4. You booze, you lose
Should you have the (quite frankly, genius) idea to cool your boozy summer punch in your fridge’s water cooler tank – think twice, as you may end up with a damaged water tank without warranty cover.
5. Light bulbs not covered
Many washing machine warranties state that replacing a washing machine’s light bulbs, hoses, filters – or any other consumable parts – are not covered. But there are exceptions; if you have to take off a panel to get to the light bulb, at least one manufacturer (Beko) says this will be covered.
6. DIY debris
If you're doing any home renovations or DIY, clean up with care. Vacuuming up ash, plaster or rubble might void your vacuum’s warranty.
7. Keep coffee machine parts out of the dishwasher
If you are giving your coffee machine a spring clean, one FrancisFrancis warranty says not to place your drip tray in the dishwasher. This might damage it and, you guessed it – it probably won’t be covered by your warranty.
If you are collecting a new washing machine through Click&Collect system, you might not be covered if the appliance is damaged on the way home. If this concerns you, then get it delivered by the manufacturer or retailer, which will be covered.
9. Left out in the cold
The container lids, control knobs and handles of your fridge can be the first things to go. But, if they fall off or break, they might not be covered by some warranties.