Whenever I buy a gadget, appliance, or other electrical item there is a leaflet inside that says something like ‘register to validate your guarantee’ or warranty.
I was under the impression that you are automatically entitled to the manufacturer’s guarantee from the date of purchase without having to do anything?
In which case, all I need is the receipt?
Should I be following instructions and registering my products? Or is this a wheeze to steal my personal data?
There have been questions over whether consumers have to activate their guarantees
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: This is a question I’m sure many people have wondered about.
First thing to note is that guarantee and warranty are two different things, even though the names are often used interchangeably.
Guarantees are usually free and offered by the manufacturer. Most are given as a promise regarding the quality and lifespan of a product, assuring customers the provider or manufacturer will repair or replace a product if it doesn’t live up to standards.
When given one of these, companies require you to fill out a registration card to validate the guarantee.
It is very important for customers to register their guarantee as if you don’t, then you may find that you don’t qualify for a repair or replacement.
Meanwhile, warranties are similar to an insurance policy and are often not free.
Standard and extended warranties may last longer than guarantees and may offer wider protection in cases of accidental damage.
For example, if you were to purchase a Whirlpool fridge from John Lewis, you may be given the option to ‘extend warranty’ for a fixed sum from John Lewis, which would go on longer than the manufacturer Whirlpool’s guarantee.
Consumers may need to claim on their warranty or guarantee if something has gone wrong with a product after the first six months and they want a repair or replacement, or if a trader’s gone out of business and there’s a problem with the goods or service they provided.
What is the Consumer Credit Act?
Many people use their credit cards to buy white goods – products that customers will often rely on their guarantees for should something go wrong.
If you have trouble claiming against your guarantee, You might find you’re eligible to rely on the Consumer Credit Act, which is an important law that covers most commercial lending in the UK – and protects purchases made by credit cards.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act gives customers additional protection on credit card purchases that cost more than £100 and less than £30,000.
For example, credit card customers might want to claim on Section 75 in the event they suffer from a breach of contract or misrepresentation when buying goods.
It removes the risk that people could be put into debt for goods or services that weren’t received at all, were faulty, or were otherwise not as described.
It also provides protection for purchases made from companies that then go bust before the service can be provided – such as a flight or concert.
To find out more, click here.
With guarantees, customers should receive a registration card, fill it in and send it back to the manufacturer whenever they purchase a new product.
If you haven’t, your guarantee may not be valid. In this case, try looking for a contact number on the guarantee, and get in touch. You might also be able to register online.
If you can’t find contact details, call the seller or trader and ask for advice but they may say the guarantee is no longer valid.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to claim on your guarantee or warranty, it may first be easier to see if you can claim on your legal consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
For example, when an item is faulty, customers can often go to the retailer they purchased it from and ask for a refund, return or repair under these rules.
When buying new appliances, you will often receive a guarantee for a set amount of time
If this doesn’t work, then may be the time to use your warranty or guarantee.
Usually you’ll need proof of purchase, details of the problem and a photocopy of the warranty or guarantee to make a claim.
If a product you received as a gift is faulty or subject to a product safety recall, you can still claim by getting proof of purchase from the person who bought your gift, if this is possible.
One of the main things to check, however, is the time limit on the guarantee as if this is out of date, you are very unlikely to be able to claim on it.
If you are worried about your personal data being shared, contact the company to see what they are planning to do with it.
In some cases, firms do not require your permission to pass on data.
Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Expert, adds: Most electrical goods are sold with a warranty or guarantee, however customers should check the terms and conditions to see if they need to register the product for it to be valid – it is not always automatic.
It’s usually worth registering a new product because it also means the manufacturer can contact you if there is a safety issue or product recall.
It’s important to remember that warranties or guarantees do not replace your statutory rights, so even if they are not validated, customers will still have rights under the Consumer Rights Act if their product isn’t up to scratch, which could entitle them to a repair or replacement or sometimes a full or partial refund instead.