What invalidates a warranty or guarantee?
In his latest column for the Sunday Mirror, Dean Dunham takes a closer look at your rights when it comes to manufacturer warranties or guarantees.
It seems even breathing on something yourself is enough for a manufacturer to claim they don’t have to fix it – but it turns out even replacing a screen isn’t enough to invalidate your warranty when something else breaks.
Your actual rights explained
Many products are sold with a manufacturer’s warranties or guarantees, for typically between 1 and 5 years depending on the goods. A warranty is a contract between the consumer and the manufacturer, and the manufacturer must do whatever it promises it will do in the warranty. However, claiming under a warranty is not always straight forward or easy and many find that they can’t claim due some rule written into the ‘terms and conditions’. One common theme I hear is that the manufacturer has claimed that the warranty is void as a third party has effected a repair. Here are some examples:
iPhone screen repaired by a third party
Chad from Middlesex wrote to me in December and said that Apple had refused to fix his iPhone claiming that the warranty was void due to the fact that he had his screen repaired by a third party.
Sealed plug on SONY TV repaired by a third party
Lisa from Dartford wrote to me in February and said that Sony had refused to repair her television as the warranty was void due a third party replacing the sealed plug.
Fridge had part replaced by a third party
John from Stockport wrote to me this week and said that the manufacturer of his fridge (whom he did not name) had rejected his claim under the manufacturer’s warranty as he had used a third-party engineer to replace a part.
When they’re within their rights to reject your claim
In some cases, this will be a fair and reasonable approach, so for example if a third party replaces a motherboard in a laptop and you then claim that other parts that attach to the motherboard are ‘faulty’ it would be legitimate for the manufacturer to reject the claim. They, therefore, may not be able to establish if it was a genuine manufacturers fault or something caused by the work of the third-party repairer. However, the position is very different if the third-party repair has no relation to the fault that is subject to the manufacturer’s warranty claim.
When they still have to repair or replace it no matter what they claim
A good example is Chad’s claim about the iPhone. The fault he was complaining about had nothing to do with the cracked screen that had been repaired. The good news for Chad is that it appears that Apple seem to now agree with this concept as in March this year they told their employees to accept warranty claims, even if the screen had been previously repaired by a third party. Of course, Apple has limited this to claims where the fault isn’t linked to the third-party screen repair.
In conclusion, just because you use a third party to repair goods it does not mean that your warranty is automatically void and certainly does not take away your consumer right.
Dean Dunham – Sunday Mirror
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