Warranties and guarantees
Look at your policy to determine whether it is a warranty or a guarantee.
A guarantee usually is an agreement without any extra charge to repair, replace or offer a refund on goods which do not meet the specifications in the guarantee.
A warranty provides cover for the unexpected failure or breakage of goods, usually after the manufacturer's or trader's guarantee has run out.
Both guarantees and warranties are in addition to your legal rights.
The Supply of Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order requires traders that supply extended warranties on domestic electrical goods to provide consumers with certain information before the sale of an extended warranty.
These requirements include:
- Making it clear that the warranty is optional
- Informing you that the warranty does not have to be purchased at the time the goods are purchased
- Informing you that warranties may be available elsewhere
- Giving you a quotation and informing you that the quotation price is valid for at least 30 days if the warranty costs more than £20
- If the initial warranty was for more than a year, allowing you to cancel it within 45 days and get a refund if a claim has not been made
- If the initial warranty was for more than a year, allowing you to cancel it and receive a pro-rata (partial) refund after 45 days even if a claim has been made.
Common warranty exclusions
A warranty provider may refuse to carry out repairs for a number of reasons – the most obvious being that the warranty didn’t cover the particular problem in the first place.
Check the terms and conditions of the warranty carefully as these will show what is and isn’t covered.
A common exclusion in a warranty document is for wear and tear, and a policy may or may not cover accidental damage.
If a product fails prematurely it may not be covered if the failure is due to everyday wear and tear.
But telling the difference between a faulty, and everyday wear and tear may be difficult, so you may need to get a second opinion.
Warranty provider refusing to pay out
If the warranty company is refusing to pay up for something that's clearly covered, then it will be in breach of contract and you could potentially claim the cost of getting a third party to carry out the work.
You would need to give the warranty company every chance to change its mind and carry out the work itself first.
You must let the company know that you will seek the repair costs from it if it continues to refuse to honour the warranty.
What the law says about warranties
A warranty is a contract between you and the warranty company.
If the warranty provider doesn't comply with the obligations it has under the warranty, then it will be in breach of contract.
If it refuses to take action, use this letter template to demand action from your warranty provider.
The warranty provider will also be liable to you for reasonable losses you have as a result, in particular the cost of someone else fixing the problem.
Your duty to minimise loss
You have a duty to keep your losses to a minimum, so if you do need to get someone else to fix the problem, it's always a good idea to get a few quotes for the work.
This way you can check you're not being overcharged, which in turn, should reduce the likelihood of the warranty provider saying that the losses you're asking to have reimbursed are higher than they need be.
This is also very useful if the matter ever goes to court or to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Consumer Credit Act Section 75
Don't forget that if you pay for anything with a credit card between the value of £100 and £30,000, your credit card company can be jointly responsible for any faults that develop.
You can either claim for a refund using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or, if you're looking to get the product repaired, you can claim for the cost of repairs.