Sunday 21 January 2018

Smart Consumer: Even if your warranty is up, you still have rights

Tina Leonard

Everything breaks down at some stage: washing machines, toasters, mobile phones, cameras, printers. . .

If you had a warranty with the product, then you would have been able to go back to the manufacturer to get it sorted. But what if you didn't have a warranty or if it had expired? And where do your consumer rights come into it?

This issue comes up again and again in readers' questions to this page. The latest is from Donal who got in touch about his kettle. It came with a three-year warranty, and was replaced a few times under warranty as it kept breaking down. But when it broke most recently, now outside of the warranty period, he was told that as the warranty was up the kettle could no longer be replaced.

So should Donal dump the kettle and fork out for a new one? No, he should not.

A warranty is something provided by the manufacturer when you buy their product. It's a private contract between you and them and the terms of warranties vary.

Some will last for 12 months; others for two years. Some will provide for repair or replacement; others only repair.

Manufacturers provide these to build trust in their brand, enhance their reputation and to promote loyalty to their products.

Which is great. So by all means use your warranty to get the problem sorted.

But remember the manufacturer has only promised to look after the product for a specific time frame; once that period is over, that promise is over. They might choose to offer some 'goodwill' to you, but that's their call.

So you're on your own then, right? Wrong. Because you still have your consumer rights. These statutory rights exist whether you have a warranty or not.

Under your consumer entitlements, the legal responsibility to provide a remedy for a defective product lies with the retailer.

A remedy provided under your rights shouldn't cost you -- and you have six years to make a claim (for example, to the small claims procedure). But do take into account the expected life-span of the product. Also, you should have proof of purchase.

So, whatever business you handed your money to is the one that has to sort the problem.

If the shop in turn liaises with the manufacturer about a repair or replacement, that's their concern.

Irish Independent

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