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Warranties Guarantees ??

Most of us may have seen the terms warranty / guaranty on billboards, on TV or heard about them on the radio and sometimes you read about in a user manual. To you it is just a piece of paper you want to through away, because you probably think it is not that important anyway. Warranties and Guarantees represent legal obligations that the seller/Manufacturer has to consumers in case anything happens to the product they are selling within a clearly specified period of time. The moment warranties/ guarantees are created they become contractually binding, so if terms are not meant, it becomes a contractual breach that can lead to legal actions against the seller/ manufacture. Let me try to explain these terms in more detail…

What is a guarantee?
A guarantee also referred to as an Express warranty, a promise, claim, affirmation or assurance (usually in writing) that a product will meet acertain standard of quality, description, performance or condition. That product will have to be replaced or repaired if specified quality is not met. It can be in writing or an oral statement and can also be created by a simple advertisement or a sign on the store. I can give an example of a fan heater, a fan heater is known for radiating heat, typically to raise temperature of a room. However if the seller claims/ promises that the heater will heat up a very large room at over 30 degrees, the customer can return the fan heater for a full refund or replacement if it does not heat up a large room at over 30 degrees as specified. One should not confuse a guarantee with an expression of opinion such as “This fan heater is the best in town!” this is just a simple opinion not a promise.

Manufacturer Guarantees
Some items purchased may come with a manufacturer's guarantee. Often there will be a registration card that needs to be completed and returned to the manufacturer make sure you complete that registration card because the claim might not be valid if manufacturers do not see your registration. Once you have sent off the card keep all the documentation in a safe place in case you need to make a claim later.
If the manufacturer promises you that a laptop battery you want to buy will last for five hours when the laptop is in full operation, it means an express warranty has been created. However if that promise turns out to be false you can go to the seller and claim for a refund a replacement.
Face creams, soaps, body oils usually have claims to work within a specified period of time, for example sellers can claim that with a certain cream, stretch marks or dark marks will be removed if application is done continuously. When those claims are false and product does not work as promised you can also go back to the seller and claim your guarantee
For you to be able to make a claim you have to prove that the product you purchased is not performing as specified by the seller and the promise made to you when you purchased it has not been fulfilled. You also have to prove that you did not cause the problem yourself. That is why it is very important to keep records of those guarantees such that when you need the claim later it will not be that difficult to prove. The guarantee can be on a receipt, email, user manual or even on the packaging of the product so it is very important to keep that information for probable later use.

What is a Warranty?
According to consumer law a  warranty is a written statement that promises the good condition of  a product and states that the manufacturer/ seller is responsible for replacing or repairing the product if defects are to arise within an agreed period. For example when you buy a TV with a written promise that it will be repaired for free, if it stars giving you problems within the first year of purchase you will have to return it to be fixed or replaced.
Warranties can either be expressive (guarantees) or implied.
An implied warranty is an assumed warranty that a product is fit for its original purpose. For example when you by a color TV you do not expect it to start showing black and white images. There are two types of implied warranties; there is implied warranty of merchantability and implied warranty for fitness of a particular purpose.
  • Implied Warranty of Merchantability applies whenever a customer purchases a product because it is known that the products should perform its intended purpose. A washing machine is intended to switch on and wash clothes but when you have bought it and it refuses to switch on completely you have the right for a refund or replacement under the implied warranty of merchantability since it is not able to perform its intended purpose.
  • Implied Warranty of fitness of a particular purpose is when the seller guarantees the customer that the product recommended by him is suitable or fit for a particular purpose. As long as the buyer makes that purpose known and the seller is aware that the customer trusts them to recommend the exact product needed, that is when an implied warranty for fitness of a particular use is created. For example if a customer asks a merchant for a blender that is specifically made for fixing cocktails such as frozen margaritas. The sales person then recommends a particular model, when the customer tries to use that blender and finds out that it does not have the capability to crush ice. The customer may return the blender under implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose.
You should consider different Manufacturer warranty terms when you shop, some warranty terms have limitations and warranty terms are seldom negotiable especially the length of the warranty, whether it covers only parts or certain problems. There are two types of warranty terms; these are, full warranty or limited warranty.

Full Warranty – if the terms of the warranty state that it is a full warranty it means that the manufacturer/ seller must repair or replace product during the specified warranty period. For example if a TV stops working properly within a year of purchase, if it is covered by a full warranty the seller is obliged to replace or repair it for free. The law mandates that if the seller plans to fix the product, they must do it within a reasonable space of time and it must be convenient for the customer to take the product to and from the place it will be fixed

Limited Warranty – However for this type of warranty, it is limited to specified parts, certain types of defects, or other conditions. For example if a TV has a limited warranty and for some reason it stops working properly the warranty might only cover for parts that are needed but customer may need to pay cost of labor for the TV to be fixed. Sometimes the limited warranty may also stipulate that the manufacturer and the customer should also split cost of repairs for a period of time.
It is very important to understand the terms of a warranty before buying a product so that you know exactly what you are getting in to.

Sometimes sellers can offer what is called an extended warranties/ service agreements. This is a prolonged warranty offered to consumers in addition to the standard warranty. It’s like insurance and costs you extra money on top of the money you paid for the product. When deciding on getting an extended warranty, you need to ask yourself if the benefits of an extended warranty are worth the cost. Consider how the extended warranty or service contract enhances your regular warranty.  Sometimes you may realize that your regular warranty will cover almost exactly the same defects that an extended warranty is trying to cover so might be much more cost effective to stick to your regular warranty. Ultimately, do not be pressured to take a service warranty, you should only take it if you feel its right for you. Some products can last a lifetime e.g. freezers so getting service warranties can be awaste of money. However some products are temperamental e.g. computers so getting service warranties for them can actually be such a great idea. 

About The Author

gugulethu moyo

E-commerce Intern at Zimall

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