In addition to having their legal rights a consumer may be offered a guarantee (e.g. by a manufacturer or retailer) on a voluntary basis. Guarantees – sometimes called warranties - do not have to be offered but if they are, under the Sale of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, those given free of charge with the product:
- will be legally binding on the person offering the guarantee;
- will have to be written in English and in plain intelligible words;
- must be available for viewing by consumers before purchase, e.g. by advising where they may be seen such as on the internet for those with access; and
- state that they do not affect the consumer’s legal rights.
If a manufacturer reneged on a free guarantee then the consumer could enforce it in a small claims court. The retailer would not be involved.
If the consumer wishes to inspect a free guarantee, to help make a purchasing decision, then the person offering it has to make it available – if they cannot do so immediately, they should follow up promptly with a copy which is posted or sent via email etc.
It is up to the company offering free guarantees to decide on their duration. Many products come with a free one-year guarantee; some have two or three years while others have none. This is entirely legal.
Extended warranties are provided in some circumstances to provide a level of comfort to the consumer that they will not be given large repair bills later in the life of the product. While it is true that consumer have the right to claim that faulty goods are not durable or have been faulty since delivery they must make these claims in a court of law.
Consumer must decide if they think an extended warranty is worth the money or not for the products they have purchased.