As my laptop now approaches the year old mark Tosh keep asking me if I want to renew my warranty for another 2 years. £60 is it worth it or should I just bank the £60 and use it for if I need to buy a new one ?
Laptop, extended warranty ?
EU warranty on electrical goods is two years, "extended warranty" is free money for them.
If its not broke in yr 1 its unlikely to in years 2&3 assuming same use etc,
Bath shaped curves an all that
The EU rule allowing the return of goods up to two years after purchase is at odds with the returns policies adopted by most major shops.
However, as this is a directive is only partially adopted by the UK, its use is a grey area.
Despite this, many shops have willingly refunded items when presented with the directive and its argument, so it could potentially improve your position.
So what has happened?
Most major retailers will have a stated returns policy that complies with UK consumer law. Those interested can see the exact wording of the Sale of Goods act here, but put simply the law says that retailers must sell goods that are 'as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality'.
If a defect is detected when, or in a reasonable period of time after, the sale is made, then buyers can demand a full refund.
However, the rules get fuzzier when faults develop over time and a buyer has to return goods after possessing them for a longer period.
Under UK law, buyers in England and Wales can get a partial refund or full repair up to six years after the purchase was made (five years from discovery in Scotland). The refund should take into account how much use the customer has already had of a product. Ultimately, a county court would decide this.
However, the likelihood of getting such a refund is dramatically reduced after just six months. The reason is that for six months after the purchase, it is up to the retailer to show that a fault on an item is down to the actions or misuse of the buyer, rather than an inherent fault in the product.
After six months, the burden of proof switches to the buyer and it is they who must then show a fault is due to some inherent problem, something that can be almost impossible in all but the most straightforward cases.
For example, the plasma TV you bought five months ago stops working without explanation and you return to the shop you bought it from, expecting a refund. The store manager is reluctant but can find no explanation for the fault. There are no scratches or damage to show it has been dropped, or signs of water damage. Complying with the Sales of Goods Act, he understands without such proof he must refund you money.
But were the fault to develop at seven months, he would not need such proof. The TV may show no signs of damage or misuse, but the store manager no longer needs to show there was any. Instead, you must show to him that there was a shoddy component or design fault that caused the problem. In the absence of these things, he is under no obligation to return your money.
In reality, most retailers offer returns policies that extend this 6-month period to 12 months. But after that refunds are hard to come by.
So how does the EU rule change things?
The EU directive in question is 1999/44/EC. The full wording is contained here (open the word documtent and scroll to page 7) but the important bit is this: 'A two-year guarantee applies for the sale of all consumer goods everywhere in the EU. In some countries, this may be more, and some manufacturers also choose to offer a longer warranty period.'
As with UK law, a seller is not bound by the guarantee 'if the (fault) has its origin in materials supplied by the consumer'. But the EU rule does not require the buyer to show the fault is inherent in the product and not down to their actions.
The EU rule also says buyers need to report a problem within two months of discovering it if they want to be covered under the rule.
How can I use this rule?
Reports of cases where shoppers have used the EU rule to get refunds suggest that even senior staff at stores may be unaware of it, so be prepared for some blank faces if you need to use it to argue your case. But eventually, after referring the complaint to legal teams, reports suggest the stores have coughed up.
Use this checklist to see if you could try and use the EU rule:
• The goods were purchased no longer than two years ago
• The store will not provide a refund or repair because you are returning the item after their return period has ended, usually one year
• You are reporting the fault within two months of discovering it
• The goods show no signs of damage through your actions or misuse.
The best advice is to print off the EU rule and take a copy with you. If staff fail to recognise it, ask them to take your details and report your complaint to their bosses. Take a note of the names of any staff you speak to and explain that you will contact them again soon for a response.
You may manage to get your refund on the basis of the EU directive, however, shops are within their rights to use the Sale of Goods Act as the definitive guideline instead.
What about warranties? Do I still need one?
The EU rule, while extending the guarantees for shoppers does not necessarily mean warranties have no value. Under a warranty you may get extra protection against accidental damage that would not be covered by the UK or EU regulations
Pay all those £60's (or whatever) into a savings a/c.
Chances are you'll be cashing in that a/c not to replace a broken item in year 2 or 3, but to upgrade.
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