Wednesday, August 05, 2009

No Guarantee

About 18 months ago I bought a refurbished Dell from Gasteiner Technologies which came with their standard one year warranty. Last Friday it died and will no longer power on. I had heard a rumour that under EU rules retailers must always give a 2 year guarantee with substantially expensive/electrical goods. It seems that this is not quite true, but that is because the British Sale of Goods Act meets and exceeds EU law. The SoGA says that an item must last a reasonable length of time. All this left me wondering if standard guarantees/warranties have any point at all? Let alone expensive "extended" warranties.

Usually I would be up for the fight, but I am not really sure that I want to peruse this, I almost accept that I took a risk in buying a refurbished laptop and this time I lost. Having said that they did sell me a laptop for £500 which has broken after 18 months, and that's not really acceptable.

Incidentally I was surprised to find that Dell didn't have one standard price for replacing the motherboard of my laptop. I was originally quoted €400, but when I pointed out I could buy a new laptop for that I was told that I could get a discount, the best deal I was eventually offered was £100 if I bought a three year warranty for £160, which if I was then guaranteed to have a working laptop for three years would have been quite a good deal, if I wasn't so against extended warranties and giving Dell any of my money. I've since been told that buying a laptop from Dell is similar, it's always best to ring them and see what's the best deal you can get from them. The representative also used the rather odd analogy of not being able to take out a warranty on a dead person. After I questioned her on what she'd said she swore that she'd said "insurance", though it still seems a bit of an odd thing to choose to say.

UPDATE: The BBC has a good article on this.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Consumer Advice sent a very clear response to my query:

Based on the information you have provided the key legal points in response to your enquiry are as follows:

In the UK any warranty or guarantee offered for a product is in addition to your statutory rights. Your rights under warranty are limited to the terms and conditions of that document; this will contain the obligations of both you and the warranty provider. If this states that the warranty would no longer be valid, after one year then you may no longer be eligible to make a claim under said warranty.

Under UK law contracts for the sale of goods to consumers are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended). The Act states that all goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must be of a satisfactory quality, fit for their intended purpose and as described. If this is not the case, then you may have the right to reject the goods in question and ask for a full refund of the purchase price. The law says that you only have a short time within which to reject goods and must act quickly in order to make a claim for a full refund. Once you are deemed to have ‘accepted’ the goods, your rights will be limited in the first instance to claiming a repair or like-for-like replacement, or possibly a partial refund.

This means that if your goods are defective, unfit for its purpose or is not the same as any description given to you, you may have the right to claim a refund, repair or replacement. If you have only had the goods a short time and had limited use of it then you may be entitled to claim a full refund. Alternatively, your claim will be for a repair or replacement. It should be noted that if any defect has been caused a result of misuse or mere wear and tear, you will not have a legal claim under the above Act. Your contract is covered under the above act for six years starting from the day the contract was commenced and any claim under the act would need to be made with the seller of the goods and not the manufacturer unless they are one in the same.

In the first instance you should write a formal letter of complaint to the trader in question, giving a full outline of the events to date, the remedy you are seeking and give the trader a time limit within which you expect a response. It is advisable to obtain proof of postage for any letter you send and retain copies for your records.


I think that the shop might argue misuse (the laptop was already a bit damaged when I got i from them, but there is no record of that) or "wear and tear".