Commissioner's blog: Say ‘no’ to extended warranties
Would you pay for something you’re entitled to get for free? Buying an extended warranty on new whitegoods, electronics or even a car could mean you’re doing exactly that.
This is because products are automatically guaranteed in a number of ways under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which may apply even after the warranty period has lapsed.
In the past two years, Consumer Protection has received more than 1,300 enquiries and around 230 complaints about extended warranties, mostly to do with difficulties accessing a repair, refund or replacement when a product develops a fault within the warranty period.
Under the ACL, any product or service purchased from a business must be without faults, fit for the intended purpose, match any description or sample, as well as last a reasonable amount of time depending on what it is and how much it cost.
Businesses sometimes try to convince consumers they need an extended warranty or care package to receive a solution for a fault that occurs after the manufacturer’s warranty expires, but in reality this insurance policy may be for a scenario already covered by the law.
Take for instance a $2,000 television that comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months; should that device becomes faulty after 18 months, consumer law will already protect the purchase because it is reasonable to expect an expensive TV to last longer than one year.
Where you go for help with a faulty product may depend on which rights you are exercising. For ACL issues you can contact the retailer, while a manufacturer’s warranty issue may need to be taken up with the manufacturer directly. Extended warranties are generally provided by an external company (third party), so these issues may need to be reported to them. Check the paperwork received when buying the product for any contact details.
Next time you’re offered an extended warranty while shopping, ask the salesperson for a clear explanation of the benefits above the entitlements you already have under the ACL.
Retailers or suppliers risk breaching the law if they use unfair tactics or put undue pressure on you to buy an extended warranty, or mislead you into paying for the rights you already have under the law.
More information about extended warranties, including a list of questions to ask the salesperson before paying for one, is available on our website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/extended-warranties
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
Share this page: