What is a warranty, what is a guarantee and what are my consumer rights?

The differences with warranties, guarantees and consumer rights

People get muddled between these three things. Rarely do you need a warranty, however, there are situations where you may choose to buy a warranty.

Consumer rights

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that items must be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. You have these rights for six years in England and Wales or five years in Scotland.

Items must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose as described and last a reasonable length of time. So, for example, if you have bought a washing machine and it breaks after two years you should still be able to claim. However a consumer is expected to use the appliance reasonably. For example, a washing machine may be expected to be used a few times a week. It will show if it has been used every day twice a day for two years and this may be considered unreasonable and you would not get a repair or replacement.

You should familiarise yourself with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 before paying for any warranty being offered.

It is worth stating I have never paid for or used a warranty. I always assert my legal rights.

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Should you need more help with your legal rights explore the blog and get the book packed full of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Warranties

When you are offered a paid for warranty, check what is included. It should be more than your consumer rights, as shown above. You may feel that it is worth expenditure buying a warranty if you look at it as a type of insurance (as in the washing machine example). This is different to your consumer rights.

For example, a television should, without doubt, last more than three years. So should you buy one of those paid for warranties for a telly? Don’t bother, the CRA will always be better and using the law is free!

Cars are a complicated one! More advice on a warranty for cars on the Motor Ombudsman site here.

Guarantees

If you buy an item that comes with a lifetime guarantee, great. This provides you with more than your consumer rights because if the item breaks after six years you would not be able to go to the Small Claims Court. However, you can go back to the manufacturer and say under the guarantee this hasn’t lasted, I want my refund or replacement, depending on what the guarantee states.

If the guarantee says the company will replace the product within two years if it breaks, ignore it. If the item was expected, reasonably, to last longer than two years then your consumer rights are better than the guarantee and you should take the item back to the retailer, not the manufacturer.

Warranty Guarantee consumer rights what you need to know down one side picture of tv the other side

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Am I a complaining cow?

Well, that’s the name on the tin.

But what does it mean?

I don't complain all the time…Or do I??

For consumers

The things is, it’s not about moaning. For consumers it is about complaining effectively to get what you are legally entitled to. See 20 Top Tips for complaining effectively.

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more information, tips, advice, guidance, consumer laws and replace letters, GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

For business

But for business, well, I have the ear of the consumer. I hear the moans and gripes every day. I know exactly what annoys consumers and you know what? Your company is in there, I guarantee it. Companies say that they listen to customers but do you? Do you really? I don’t think so, because if you did a) my book wouldn’t continue to be such a huge best-seller and b) I wouldn’t see and hear what I do day in day out and have to try and sort things out for people.

If you are a business that really wants to listen to customers, mean it when you say we want to improve things for our customers then perhaps it is time you opened yourself up to challenge. Not just do everything internally or asked consultants what they think about your customer service. Ask someone to tell you what customers ACTUALLY think. That will give you a different perspective.

I'm on a mission to rid companies of poor customer service!

If you want to find out more about what Helen, The Complaining Cow can do for you see Services.

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