If you complained about a problem with a product purchased for your home while it still was under warranty, you are entitled to get it repaired under the terms of your warranty contract. Even if your warranty coverage has ended but you complained about a problem before the expiration, a company still is expected to repair or replace the product under the warranty terms. However, keep copies of repair orders and the warranty if you need to back up your claims.
To help prevent future problems when you make a major purchase for your home, compare warranties on competing products and ask the following questions:
- What parts and repairs are covered by the warranty?
- Are any expenses excluded from coverage? (Some warranties require you to pay for labor charges.)
- How long does the warranty last?
- What will you have to do to get the product repaired? (Look for conditions that could prove expensive, such as requiring you to ship a heavy object to a factory for servicing.)
- What will the company do if the product fails? Will the company repair it, replace it or return your money?
- Does the warranty cover “consequential damages”? (Most warranties do not. This means the company will not pay for any damage the product caused or your time and expense in getting the damage repaired. For example, if your freezer breaks and the food in it spoils, the company will not pay for the food you lost.)
- Are there conditions or limitations on the warranty? (Some warranties only provide coverage if you maintain or use a product as directed or if you attempt product repair. For example, a warranty may not cover business uses.)
If you are faced with any problems with a product or with obtaining the promised warranty service, take the following steps:
Carefully read the product instructions and warranty. Do not expect features the product was not designed to give or assume warranty coverage that never was promised. Having a warranty does not mean you automatically get a refund if a product is defective. The company may be entitled to try to fix it first.
First discuss your complaint with the retailer. If you cannot reach an agreement, write the manufacturer. Your warranty should list the company’s address. Send all letters by certified mail and keep copies. If this does not work, you can call your local consumer protection agency; contact the company’s dispute resolution organization; take your case to small claims court; or consider a lawsuit. An experienced attorney can provide guidance in these matters.
If you are a victim of fraud involving warranties, contact Consumer Fraud Online to discuss your options with a lawyer.