Warranties and guarantees are both legal contracts which add to your legal rights as a consumer. Different products come with different warranties or guarantees, so you may need to check the terms and conditions associated with your particular product.

A warranty or guarantee is particularly useful if; something has gone wrong after the first 6 months and you are unable to prove that the fault existed at the time of purchase; if you purchased the item from abroad, but the manufacturer is based nationally; or if the trader who originally sold the product has gone out of business by the time that you spot the fault with the product.

In cases where you discover a fault within the first six months, it may actually be easier for you to get a refund, repair or replacement without using your warranty or guarantee.

Fill in the return card

If you buy a product which comes with an additional warranty or guarantee, you might have to activate it within a certain amount of time after your purchase. This is normally done by filling in and returning the “return card” which comes with the product. Manufacturers are increasingly encouraging their buyers to register their products online. If you do not do this, then you might not be covered by the product guarantee.

Claiming with your Warranty or Guarantee

As each warranty and guarantee is different, you will need to thoroughly check your paperwork to find out how to make a claim. The paperwork should state how long the particular warranty lasts for after purchase, and what that warranty entitles you to. If you cannot find the paperwork or you cannot see the information on your paperwork, contact the manufacturer. They may request that you provide proof of purchase and full details of the nature of the problem.

Understanding your Warranty

It is important that you read through your warranty and understand what your rights and responsibilities are in relation to the product. If a warranty has been written in a way that uses particularly deceptive wording or circular logic, then the warranty may be deemed to have “unfair terms” and you could be afforded additional rights. In many circumstance, the warranty may only be used by the person who purchased the product, unless “third party rights” are mentioned. It is worth checking these terms if you purchased the product secondhand or if you received the item as a gift.

It is worth checking the time limit of claims and checking to see where your responsibilities lie in regards to postage, packaging, transportation and labour costs relating to the replacement or repair of the product.

Cancelling an Extended Warranty

If you purchased an extended warranty with your product, you have the right to cancel the warranty without charge in the first 14 days. In certain circumstances, you may have up to 45 days to cancel an extended warranty which you purchased with a product. For example, if the extended warranty covers at least 12 months on an electrical item, and if the warranty was purchased at the same time as the purchase of the goods, then you should be able to cancel without charge in the first 45 days.

Electrical goods include; kitchen appliances, white goods, entertainment devices, electronic kitchen implements and many other household items. You are also entitled to a full refund for the cost of the warranty, as long as you have not already tried to use the warranty. After this period you will only be entitled to a partial refund if you have not used the warranty.

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