Guarantees on Goods and Services
If an item that you have purchased is faulty, you have the right to return the item to the retailer who should be able to repair or replace the item or refund you the cost of the item. These rights are known as your statutory rights.
A guarantee or warranty on a product gives additional protection and this protection is extended to anyone who has possession of the goods during the lifetime of the guarantee.
A guarantee or warranty is a written statement given by the manufacturer or other company. The guarantee or warranty indicates that the manufacturer or other company will repair or replace an item within a set amount of time after it has been purchased. Guarantees are legally binding. That is, they are enforceable through the courts if necessary. The written guarantee should contain the following information:
- What goods the guarantee applies to
- The name and address of the person who will honour the guarantee
- The duration of the guarantee
- The procedure for making a claim under it (which may not be more difficult than ordinary commercial procedure)
- What action the guarantor undertakes to do and
- Whether the purchaser must pay any charges for getting the product repaired (such as postage and packaging).
Products such as some household durable goods (pots and pans, furniture etc.) and electrical goods typically come with a guarantee. Some services may also be guaranteed. For example, work undertaken in a house (such as damp-proofing a building) may also be guaranteed for a specific period of time.
Guarantees may be used by anyone in possession of goods during the guarantee period. Guarantees can be particularly useful if you receive a gift as you may not need to show proof of purchase to claim the guarantee. Always check the terms and conditions of the guarantee.
Some retailers may offer an extended warranty on larger electrical items, such as a washing machine. An extended warranty covers the item or service after the manufacturer’s guarantee period is over. It is like an insurance policy and it is completely optional. Before you pay for an extended warranty, think about what the cost of fixing or replacing the item would normally be.
Advice on guarantees and warranties
- Read and fully understand the guarantee and warranty
- Make sure the warranty covers problems that you are likely to have
- Do not lose the guarantee or warranty (if you choose to get one)
- Remember that you have a guarantee or warranty if the item is faulty
- Remember that you still have your consumer rights.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has information on guarantees and warranties on its website which you may find useful.
Guarantees are covered by Sections 15–19 of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. Any term in a guarantee which makes the retailer or guarantor the sole arbiter of whether the buyer has a claim is void.
Generally, retailers and manufacturers do not charge for guarantees. There may be a charge for an extended warranty but you should not feel obliged to pay for an extended warranty as a guarantee and warranty supplements your consumer rights.
How to apply
There are different terms and conditions attached to different guarantees. It is important that you know what these terms are when you buy the product or service and if you go to use a guarantee. You can address any queries that you may have on guarantees to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Where to apply