warranty or guarantee

Sorry, its outside the warranty period is something you hear too often.

Guarantee and warranty are terms often used incorrectly, and the time limits set can be an excuse not to help you. For some reason we all think a guarantee or warranty lasts just 12 months, and then we are on our own. Well some very annoyed and determined people have fought their way through this customer service wall.

There are two ways around this excuse.

Back in 1999 the European Parliament decided to set a common guarantee period for consumer goods, and set it at two years, yes 2 years. Some manufacturers give a longer period, and thank you very much to them, but the minimum is two years.

DIRECTIVE 1999/44/EC is the official title. It applies to consumer goods sold within Member States. Consumer goods includes everything bought by a consumer for private, that means non-business, use. The only exceptions seem to be gas, electricity and water when provided as a utility.

This European Directive may have improved things in many countries, but we already had better consumer protection in place, called the Sale of Goods Act.

Next time you are told you are out of warranty or guarantee you could just print off the European Directive and read it over the counter to your supplier until you bore them to death. Its not a great read, but a very useful one.

The best protection lies in the Sale of Goods Act which gives you strong rights against the retailer rather than the manufacturer. Three things are necessary:

  1. the goods must be as described,
  2. the goods must be of satisfactory quality – takes account of description, price, durability, freedom from defects, and
  3. be fit for purpose.

You do not expect a television to pack up in 15 months, and the law agrees. Once an item is beyond six months it is up to you to show the item has failed due to manufacturing fault.

The protection is six years in England and Wales, and five years in Scotland.

The positive thing about a written warranty or guarantee is certainty, but the Sale of Goods Act is there for you if you can sensibly say the item is not of satisfactory quality.

warranty one year or two guarantee

We do hear of members having warranty and guarantee problems, so let us know how you get on.