/ Home & Energy, Shopping, Technology

Have you ever voided a warranty for some bizarre reason?

Kitchen products

Cleaning your coffee machine with vinegar, vacuuming up ash and other slip-ups might actually void your product’s warranty. Have you ever been refused a repair because of how you used the product?

Looking into the fine print of product warranties, there are many commonplace behaviours that will void the warranty. How you use it, how you clean it and where you keep it may all affect whether the manufacturer will agree to fix a broken product.

Cleaning your coffee machine

For example, the warranty on your coffee machine could be voided if you use it in a farmhouse, or if you don’t descale it regularly using the appropriate descaler. But make sure not to use vinegar, as that may also void your warranty.

Some coffee machine manufacturers even recommend that you keep the machine’s original packaging just in case you need to send it back for repairs, because any damage that occurs in transit will not be covered by its warranty.

If you stray too close to the fireplace while vacuuming and suck up some ash, or if you’re renovating and vacuum up some rubble or plaster, your warranty on your vacuum cleaner could very well be voided.

Or, if you have a pressure cleaner, some brands will only cover warranty repairs if you’ve used their branded detergent.

Too cold for your freezer

Keeping your washing machine somewhere that goes below zero degrees Celsius – like your garage – may also void your warranty.

We’ve heard from Which? members who have bought a chest freezer advertised as ‘suitable for outbuildings’, only to find when they read the manual that it’s designed to operate in temperatures ranging from 10 to 43 degrees. And this isn’t an issue that only affects the few. Out of 2,605 voters, 85% of you said that you keep your freezer in the garage.

The question is; are these warranty clauses actively referred to by manufacturers to turn down customers who want their products repaired?

Of course, you should remember that you have the option to go to the retailer in the first instance with your faulty product. Still, I’d love to hear your examples – have you or someone you know had a warranty repair refused based on a so-called behaviour clause?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

There can be good reasons why manufacturers have exclusions in their guarantees. Beth’s example of keeping a washing machine in an unheated building is an obvious example. Most washing machines still contain some water at the end of each cycle and if this freezes it could cause damage.

This and other exclusions would apply to many different brands of products. In my view it is vital that the manufacturers tell us of conditions that don’t generally apply to similar products so that we are properly informed when buying a product.

Perhaps we should distinguish between a manufacturer’s guarantee and an insurance backed warranty in discussions about consumer rights, even though these terms are often used interchangeably.

So far I have not had any claims turned down because I have not followed instructions.

Profile photo of alfa
Member

I have had a few things replaced where the manufacturer would have every right to say I had tampered with it so my fault.

One was a leaking hosepipe reel. I thought it would be simple to repair but it was impossible to put back together. I phone the manufacturer and told them what I had tried to do, and they were very understanding and replaced the reel.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Excuse me for pointing out a typo in the Intro – fourth para, after second word insert “machine”.

With reference to Graham’s comment in the Intro, wooden sheds tend to be warmer overall than garages as they benefit rapidly from any morning sunshine and retain any ambient warmth during daylight hours. They cool rapidly at dusk and are more prone to frosts but the duration of the cold period is much shorter than that with a garage so the appliance can recover well. Even when connected to or integral with the house, a garage can be persistently cold over much longer periods and the large doorway is rarely draught-proof, indeed it usually lets in a severe draught. If the garage also houses the central heating boiler that helps to maintain a frost-free condition but the boiler will usually be dormant overnight.

The response to the poll/survey is good so far as it goes, but only people with both a garage next to the house and a freezer could answer that question and that is a small minority of the population.

Profile photo of Lauren Deitz
Member

Thanks for flagging John, the edit has been made 🙂

Member
Mike Hindson-Evans says:
2 April 2016

Our freezers and a fridge live in our garage. One half-height fridge (“the champagne fridge”) plus two full-height freezers have lived in our double garage (integral to the house) since we moved in at the start of 2005. There have been no failures within warranty – a freezer dying after eight years has given us the service which we expect; we defrost each one every second year. Perhaps having the full-height freezers (where your items are in slide-out baskets) may have some benefits versus the chest freezers, where you can usually count on finding something old in the perma-frost at the bottom!

You need to make sure that the freezer backs are clear of the wall to let air circulate. Our biggest problem was a mouse nest which formed, a couple of winters ago, under the compressor of one of the freezers – poor thing must have needed the warmth!

Mike

Profile photo of Ian
Member

My beloved once hoovered up about half a bucket of water with her Electrolux cylinder machine, then wondered why it wouldn’t work. We then bought a Rowenta wet and dry and that still works perfectly. That was 31 years ago.

If we ruin something through our own stupidity we’ve never tried to get it fixed under warranty. Too honest, I suppose, but in the case of our Miele Cat and Dog machine it failed after nine months. That was fixed by Miele under warranty. We assumed it was dog hair causing the damage but a very nice note from the Miele folk asked us not to use it in future for sucking up plaster…

Profile photo of Beryl
Member

A Miele Cat and Dog Machine? Does it shampoo them or Is it a new remedy for a hangover. I am familiar with the hair of the dog but never the cat. 🙂

I happen to own a Miele vacuum cleaner that is supposed to suck up hair from your carpets but have found it doesn’t work very well on synthetic fibres due to static-electric problems. See:

campaignforwool.co.nz – Anti-Static

I haven’t complained about it as it does a pretty good job on the woollen carpets.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

We had two cats so we bought a Miele Cat & Dog vacuum cleaner. Now we have no cats. Could there be a connection? It’s a very good machine and well over twelve years old now. Answers to the name of Moggie. The other v/c is confined to the ground floor and is called Henry. They seem to get on alright with each other.

Member
Rob Thompson says:
2 April 2016

I am a 72 year old technophobe and dread replacing my mobile phone.
Sainsbury’s mobile phone counter had a sign saying “we find the right phone for you”.
I emphasised my lack of knowledge and my need for simple basics services.
I was offered a phone which I took away.

The instructions, in tiny print proved impossible to understand, defeating all three generations of my family, including a qualified programmer and a 16 year old screen addict. It simply could not be set up.

Taking it back within the week, I was refused a refund as I had not kept the packaging.
I said I had not been told this was a condition of sale and they offered to show me the clause on-line – the only reference they had!
There was no procedure for this department to handle this situation.

Polite persistence eventually brought the the manger and more polite persistence
resulted in him finding a away to get my refund at the supermarket’s main service desk.

It should not necessary to return packaging which is often long been discarded and which may still bear the scars of the vigorous assault so often required to open it.

Profile photo of stevegs
Member

I looked into possible problems with freezers in garages when I replaced an ageing LEC freezer that I’d kept in the garage for over 30 years. I selected a Whirlpool (available locally at discount) – the spec on their website indicated a minimum ambient temperature of -10degC, which seemed OK since the garage will never get quite as cold as outside – partly due to heat generated by the freezer itself. I’ve had no problems – it got down to -13 on winter 2010/11. Perhaps it’s because Whirlpool is American, where they expect greater extremes of temperature.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

There has been a whole conversation devoted to freezers in garages. For freezers on their own there seems no problem in principle. For fridge freezers there is a potential problem in that the fridge shuts off at around 5 deg C and unless there are separate fridge / freezer compressors the freezer will then stop being cooled (BEKO have a way of dealing with this, however).

In view of the contributions and interest to that Convo it would seem useful for Which? to make some sort of a pronouncement on the topic, as it clearly interests many consumers.

Profile photo of DeeKay
Member

We’ve had freezers in an outhouse for many years without problem but your correct Malcolm about fridge freezers. . . They’re engineering does not suit other than normal room temp range because the stat is in the fridge and if the ambient is around fridge temp the unit will not operate and the freezer will thaw
A fridge freezer freezer is not really a proper long term storage freezer anyhow in my eyes

I’m not sure why one would want a fridge freezer in a garage. . .I understand why a large overflow freezer may be needed as once was here to gather up the offers and freeze them

I have avoided fridge freezers since I got the idea that they are not as easy ran as a larder fridge and a separate freezer. . . Chest freezers being best as the cold does not fall out of them when opened
The only down side has been the super hard ice cream from the out and out freezer. . .I cant eat ice cream anyhow and the children are all grown up and as they leave they take a freezer with them it seems
We have stuff in the freezers for some time and most of the combo units were not as cold as we would have wished for. . . .Perhaps the American style ones or others have separate compressors but as best I see they are for maintaining frozen food until it’s used rather than long term or freezing a load of stuff

I have got a washer and dryer lately (both Grundig made in Turkey) and they are operational and the heat pump dryer has it’s quirks but works fine and a load easier on leccy than conventional or condenser types. . .It may be on a par with bulk LPG for costs if one considders that the gas dryer also uses electric to rotate and they are quite sore on leccy for rotation
The washer is also easy on the watts as in watts per hour with it’s inverter drive but there are washes near to 3 hours so one has to be deliberate about choosing a short wash otherwise any savings would quickly disapear. . There is also the loads more miles the mechanicals are doing so we try to keep it short
Note. . . These two machines are out in a switch/control room with waste heat from electronics but also has frost protection and are working fine but the dryer works much better if the door is closed. . .I’ve been experimenting and it seems that the heat pump dryer does much better in a warm space. . . .No surprise’s there
There are far too many options as usual and ironing does not feature on our agenda
We just want dry. . .real dry if possible
Just choose Xtra dry cottons and the moisture sensor and pcb will shorten the time as the clothes dry if needs be
It can start showing over 3 hours but be finished in half that time if the clothes are dry
We dont have enough clothes to be sorting them into different times so the whole lot goes in in one go

I am now trying to sift through the myriad or refrigeration to choose a larder fridge and upright freezer and it’s an uphill battle because price or brand does not assure one of anything it seems

I am taken aback at the cheapness of near everything but I also note that many have in the spec’s for use in a garage etc.. . This is good to a point
I also note that the above dryers are not for use outside but I done my homework and it is operating fine
I would like more info on ambient temp required rather than have to use my experiences to make judgement on such things
Not everyone will have such info/experiences to hand or head but many will understand factual degree’s C. . . .Many garages have boilers in them and are pretty pleasant places and on the other hand I have been in utility rooms that are like a chiller in winter so an actual required temp quote would be good as not everyone see’s “garage” or outbuilding in the same light
My outbuilding is never freezing but it is an outbuilding
My daughters outbuilding has the boiler in it and as it is cavity built with only one door it never really cools down but nevertheless both are outbuildings so the warranty could be in question and really should not be
An actual temp number would also clear up potential ambiguities around warranty claims. . . Maybe the manufactures want to leave a little get out clause or two

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

A friend has been looking for a fridge-freezer and was told that twin compressor models are being phased out because they use more power than single compressor units. That seems plausible but not if compared with a separate fridge and freezer.

Profile photo of DeeKay
Member

Yes Wave it’s according to what one wants/needs like most things

If one looks at it from purely an energy point of view one could be led off track a bkt like the hot water inlets for washers or the lack of and now a few are re-appearing again due to solar heated water
I know there’s been loads of debate about this but in our old house I would not have a single inlet machine

Lots of large fridge freezers look like they could do the job but the freezer part is not as cold as a proper freezer
We want a freezer that’ll keep things for months on end and we want one that is sizeable we now need upright because of space. . .It’ll be hard to beat a big chest with no drawers
Even the 700 wide one with bottom drawers would get it tight with two turkeys and a few other bits. . . .Our remaining big chest would hold loads of turkeys let alone two. . .Look at the price of frozen turkey after Xmas. . . It’s good value meat

The fridge freezers have very small freezers even the big 50 50 which are not really half and half and are not what we need. . The freezers look like match box’s

The American style have very narrow freezers and are pretty power hungry and although wifey likes the gimmicky ice makers etc my reefer friends tell me they are troublesome and in our local council skip/recycle yard the fancy two door US types outnumber traditional by quite some margin. . so we are back on track for two separate units

We currently have one larder fridge and the last remaining largest chest freezer Hoover made in our kitchen and we dont want to cut down too much

Litre for litre a larder fridge is as good as a fridge gets for power consumption and function. . .
We would like another freezer about half the size of our current one but it’s going to have to be upright. . . .
Too get the size and function we are going to have to go with two units unless we see something appropriate. . . .We still have a little time and are looking in the “big” stores and on line

I done all this puzzling about 15 years ago when we had family and came to the same conclusions and ended up with two big chest freezers that were in an out office and later moved into a new very large kitchen we built. . .This time we dont have the room and that is deliberate to cut costs into the future.
We have set our children up as best we can and this is the price we pay so we cannot have a new 1050 bungalow like some. . .I dont want a new bungalow. . . We want something that runs on a few pence per day not another noose around our necks to pay until we die
To see our children with good deposits for proper houses not some 7/800ft terrace/town house box is nice and worth it in our eyes

Member
Gregory Goon says:
2 April 2016

I had a Hotpoint refrigerator whose handle broke in normal use. Hotpoint refused my claim on the grounds that the handle was a” decorative item”. Fortunately, i had bought the fridge from John Lewis, and they paid up like gentlemen.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Gregory -was this handle in the small print designated as a “decorative item ” as the handle has a mechanical use in law as a means of opening the fridge without causing hurt to yourself-ie- the natural use of opening the fridge as an integral part of the function of the fridge . If you caused injury to yourself opening it a non – natural /mechanically designed way then you could sue. A good lawyer could win this case . I have not come across this type of financial avoidance in a legal sense in the US , there they usually send it free of charge as they are too scared of US citizens eager to go to law on even the slightest thing.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Gregory – It is the retailer and not the manufacturer that is responsible for dealing with faulty goods, even if the fault is caused by the manufacturer using substandard components.

Member
Graham says:
29 July 2016

We purchased a Hotpoint washing machine from curry’s. Putting aside the whole process was a complete nightmare after a few weeks the machine made an awful noise while in use. I phoned Hotpoint and the gentlemen explained that if an engineer found it was not a fault in the machine there would be £150 call out fee. This effectively makes the Hotpoint guarantee useless as I would have no idea how to diagnose what the fault was. We got our local washing machine engineer who found a pin in the hub and removed it for £50 including call out. Hotpoint now say my guarantee is invalid as another non Hotpoint engineer has mended the machine. We will not be paying Hotpoint again.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

If a fault is not down to the machine build or fault then you cannot expect the guarantee to provide cover.

You say a pin was found in the hub? If this was a machine part then I’d suggest you get a report from your engineer to send to Hotpoint to recover (hopefully) the cost and reinstate the guarantee. This may not work as you have done this off your own bat with an unauthorised repairer.

The only way, before you gamble your £150, is to try to eliminate a problem that might be caused by yourself – looking for foreign objects that may have lodged in the pump for example. The instructions should help you make sure it is not something caused by misuse. Just don’t dismantle anything further than instructions allow.

However, a call out charge of £150 is excessive, as you found. There should be some control placed on such charges when a guarantee is in force and when you must use an authorised repairer insisted on by the manufacturer. Perhaps Which? could take this up under one of its “unfair charges” investigations.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Many washing machines are damaged by foreign objects. I once left a pound coin in a pocket and destroyed the impeller of a new drain pump that I had fitted recently. As Malcolm says, it is essential to establish if the ‘pin’ is a foreign object or a part of the machine that has come adrift.

Typically, a call-out charge will include one hour labour. A local service engineer is likely to be a cheaper option, especially if the authorised repairer has to travel a considerable distance.

Manufacturers generally insist that guarantee and warranty repairs are done by their authorised repairers using genuine parts because this gives them some control over costs and the standard of workmanship. As far as I am aware, retailers and manufacturers can charge what they like for call outs because few people will look at these costs when choosing an appliance. Unauthorised repairs, including DIY beyond maintenance covered in the manual, are likely to invalidate a guarantee or warranty.

No normal guarantee or warranty will cover removal of foreign objects, which would be regarded as abuse. Accidental damage insurance may provide cover, but at a significant cost.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Drachma, possibly?

Member
Longjohnsilver says:
15 April 2016

I bought a 10 yr old VW polo for my wife last year. It had only done 7,000 miles and smelt like new inside. It had required a new battery 3 years ago which the owners had bought form the RAC. Due to the low mileage the car did, the battery failed and I had to have it replaced after 3 years at a time we owned it. The RAC refused to honour the 5 yr warranty because the warranty was not transferrable to the new owner. This struck me as ridiculous as there was nothing we had done differently to the other owner that would have lead to failure. I was upset at their stance and thought it unreasonable.

Profile photo of jim5205
Member

I tried to have a 6 month old Lenovo laptop repaired under John Lewis’ 2 year guarantee. I was told that it was accidental damage and that I would have to pay for the repair. I am a Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Electrical Engineers and am sure that the laptop had been given careful treatment. However, I have no means of proving this and so paid up, a fairly reasonable cost of £84. I note, on searching the internet that an lady of 77 had the same treatment from John Lewis with a similar fault with the the same make of laptop. She persisted, took John Lewis to court, and won. I am ashamed to say that I did not have her patience or energy. I now believe that, with John Lewis acting as judge and jury, one cannot rely upon their 2 year guarantee.

Profile photo of alfa
Member

Does your repair have anything to do with one of the hinges to the screen breaking? If so, we have the same problem and seems to be a very common problem with Lenovos.

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

I’ve been told that Lenovo make some great “business grade” laptops, but I bet John Lewis only sell less expensive “home grade” ones.

As a PC enthusiast, I’ve never actually bought a Lenovo, but I have used some products made by one of their pre-cursors, IBM. I also prefer to do my own repairs, but it seems to be getting harder and harder to dismantle and repair modern laptops and tablets. Five or ten year old ones are much better from that point of view.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Yes Derek unless you are prepared to pay £1000 or more for a gaming laptop ,more and more of the memory etc are being hardwired in reducing the changeability or upgrade . And as you noticed they are making it harder to open and work on if you have the tech. ability .Thats why I bought an expensive gaming PC 4 years ago its still upgradeable ,I can change the lot ,but dont need to change the PU as it is high wattage /high current nor the case which was dear on its own. Its only going to get worse with miniaturization ,it will be down soon to swapping a whole card containing every function except the screen and PU/battery.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

duncan, my Sony laptop is now 9 years old, used everyday, but I fear that one morning it will just not wake up. So should I replace it with a “conventional” PC (I don’t need portability) rather than another laptop? If so what make is reliable? I don’t remember seeing Which? report on PCs – they seem to now concentrate on laptops. tablets and all-in ones (I may have missed it though).
Sorry Which? if this is off topic.

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

Duncan, I agree that desktops are vastly superior. They are also easy to build from components, in which case one becomes the manufacturer and can readily give oneself a lifetime warranty 🙂

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Dont buy from a normal retail shop malcolm go to where I bought mine the biggest UK system builder ,with the biggest reputation for reliability and guaranteeing satisfaction with its warranties . The London company –chillblast.com ,you buy their spec. over all the components OR you input YOUR spec. on each component . I have complete faith in them and if you know me I am the worlds biggest skeptic . Four years -NO problems malcolm . Pick an Intel i7 K processor/or nearest -good quality case Nvidia gtx video card -16 G latest high speed ram DDR4 -Asus middle to top end motherboard – Samsung 240 G SSD for the program -2T drive for the apps.high quality power supply -dont skimp on this !! cheap power supply could knock out your motherboard ALWAYS get an overspec. one so that it runs cool and many quality fans . If you need any help I am well up on PC components . If you are getting windows -DONT get HOME -get Professional or above ,insist on it ,I did . A lot more I could say malcolm over to you. pS if you are going to install LInux on dual boot get an AMD video card not a Nvidia , mines works okay but LInux is more happier with AMD

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Alternatively, you can always buy Apple and avail yourself of the best warranty – 6 years (contract law) – and published on their website. That way you don’t need to worry about Intel this or Nvidia that, as Apple provides everything you could want including a suite of outstandingly easy to use programs and reliability that’s always at the top of the table. In cost terms they may seem a little dearer but like-for-like they’re not.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Laptop computers are more likely to get damaged, like anything that gets moved around. The all-in-one computer is fast replacing the desktop for home use. My first all-in-one was a Mac Classic II with a diminutive 9 inch screen.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Thanks for the help, Duncan and Ian. 🙂 🙂

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Lenovo a Chinese company who in 2009 achieved an award for the highest use of Recycled material in its construction (plastic etc ) worldwide . Figures.

Member
L jeffreys says:
15 April 2016

I bought a nearly New Vauxhall car where the dealer fitted a non Vauxhall approved two bar. When an electrical fault arose I was informed by the repairing garage that the electrical warranty for the whole car was invalid due to the two bar. Vauxhall only approve one two bar…their own. It took six months to sort it out which was done by replacing unit with Vauxhall two bar.

Member
Tony M<ahon says:
16 April 2016

Hi L Jeffreys,
You have me puzzled – a two bar/ one bar what ?

Member
Andrew Collier says:
16 April 2016

I purchased a miniature portable dab radio from Argos and decided to buy their extended warranty, because living in my pocket, this device gets a lot of wear and tear and previous versions had often suffered from the earphone socket malfunctioning.

When after a few months I needed to claim on the warranty, I was told that yes, I could have a replacement but only if that same model remained available and also that the warranty was limited to just the one replacement, so that if that version also failed, i woud no longer be covered. Astonishing.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Andrew-This was always a weak point in miniature plugs fitted to audio/radio portable devices . Older sockets had exposed metal clips for contact that broke ,later sockets had metal contact plates projecting out to make contact with the plug contacts , those can jam in I have yet to see a perfect solution. They could make it non contact proximity but the components involved would be way out of the price band for a large profit for the companies in relation to the cost ,unless it was very expensive in the first place .

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It’s worth looking at the terms and conditions of the extended warranty. They may impose a limit of one replacement or even terminate the warranty if the goods are replaced. If this is the case, Argos was right to warn you that this is the case but I don’t think it is acceptable that you would not be covered if the same model was not available. In this case they should find a mutually acceptable solution such as an alternative model or a partial refund, taking into account the time you have had the radio.

Goods should be fit for purpose but on the other hand, both the extended warranty or your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act do not cover wear & tear or abuse. An expert opinion would be needed to establish whether the build quality is adequate.

To minimise the risk of future failure, select earphones with an L-shaped plug, which will cause much less leverage on the socket if the cable is pulled sideways.

Member
Peter McGregor says:
16 April 2016

Warranties are only as good as the business behind them. How many times do we get offered apparently excellent, wiude ranging warranties, only to find that the business has folded when we need to claim? All warranties offered should be required to be backed by a counter indeminity from a bank, in case the business fails. Warranties from suppliers could then be relied upon.

Member
denis husselbee says:
16 April 2016

hello i bought a multi cutter for my hedge /stoke pruner/strimmer,i had it nearly 18 months before it was opened due to my health. i opened it on the third of april 2016 to find out it was not as good as describe buy the seller. after contacting both the seller/manufacture both denie it is their ploblem. so as up to now locked in legal dispute.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Goods have to be checked or used soon after purchase. It is unfortunate that you were unable due to ill health to try out your new multi-cutter but it would be unfair in my opinion to expect the seller to be liable in that event, and eighteen months is an unreasonably long time before claiming. Although the product’s performance might not have been as good as you felt entitled to expect, it presumably does work after a fashion and cannot now be rejected as unfit for purpose; it is also presumably in ‘as new’ condition and could be sold on to recover some of your loss. My feeling is that your health is more important than a garden tool and that pursuing legal action might not be helpful in the long run.

Member
Pete B says:
16 April 2016

I purchased a new Nissan Juke, and was persueded by the salesperson to pay for the first three services upfront. I duly did, and received the first service with no problem. However, the car was then stolen, so I am unable to make use of the second and third service that I have already paid for. Although the insurance company have paid me out for the car, so I will never see it again, Nissan customer services inform me that I cannot have a refund as the service pack is sold to the car, so the thief, should they be so stupid, could take it to a Nissan garage and have it serviced. Moral of the story? don`t pay Nissan upfront for a service pack.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Many service packs offer good value so your unusual and unfortunate experience cannot be used to condemn the practise, surely? No more than if you’d just filled the tank with fuel.

Member
Bob Smith says:
16 April 2016

Concerning guarantees in general; my Toyota car has a 5 year guarantee. A modern car is far more complex than any household equipment yet the usual guarantee of such goods is 1 or 2 years. Which? should campaign to get such guarantees increased.
Bob Smith

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I have made this point in several discussions, Bob. The reason that the guarantees have become longer is because they appeal to many car buyers. For many household products such as vacuum cleaners and white goods the technology does not change quickly like it does with mobile phones, so we need to push for longer guarantees. Unfortunately, Which? still does little to promote products that come with longer manufacturers’ guarantees or retailers that include additional warranties ‘free’ in the price.

What Which? has helped achieve is extended (insurance-based) warranties that are better value than they were in years gone by, but these are not as good as having decent manufacturers’ guarantees.

Profile photo of chris - the speaker
Member

As a Trustee of the Phoenix Men’s Shed, here in Halifax, we wanted to set up a fully fitted kitchen and bought a n electic cooker and ceramic hob from B&Q. However, they classed us as a non domestic and therefore industrial setting. The hob didn’t work straight out of the box, so we claimed a replacement, which they qibbled about until we waived the Consumer Rights Act under their noses. The problem with warranties is that the conditions are black and white, there is no grey area, and the staff at B&Q have no remit to deal with a group that is basically a charity that will be using equipment a whole lot less than any domestic situation. Thank heavens for the common sense of one of their staff. I shudder to think what happens if any of the kit breaks down again.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Non-domestic use is not covered by the Consumer Rights Act, as far as I am aware. I do not know what legal protection your organisation has but I am very surprised that anyone would quibble about replacing goods that are faulty at the time of purchase.

I worked in two universities and with very few exceptions I received wonderful support from the companies I dealt with, but most goods were purchased from suppliers that did not deal with the public.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

chris -wavechange has hit the nail on the head . You are classed as a business I have found a very good business kitchen supply company ,excellent service, fast delivery ,good business manners , long maintenance , 40 years in existence -4.8 out of 5 stars and cheaper than other equivalent companies . All equipment SS good commercial makes . catering appliance superstore .com — Kendal /Cumbria . I am very happy with their product ,even got a Christmas card from them . I hope your charity prospers , men,s organisations usually end up fighting against each other due to male hormones and not using the grey matter.

Profile photo of RichardScott
Member

Slightly different – When buying a Panasonic LED TV at Hughes, I said I chose this one because of the 5 year guarantee offered with it. Hughes said that although it was widely advertised everywhere, Panasonic might not give me the 5 years warranty. A long discussion ensued where I pointed out that the law considered this “an inducement to buy” and they could not back out of it.
I finally got the 5 years by complaining to Panasonic, as Hughes would not shift.

[This comment has been tweaked to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member
peter croggon FCIB says:
17 April 2016

I was a proper banker for over 40 years. This is the point: A guarantee is as good as the people giving it. No more, no less. Some firms often large ones will rely on the law to avoid paying claims under guarantee. American firms use the law either truthfully or not, to avoid their obligations. For many good firms their word is the most reliable. I never worry about guarantees; I know roughly what I can claim on under English common law. ‘Which’ should guide you here it is not very difficult. Do not rely on credit card companies version of the law. This is why I use John Lewis whenever I think I may need to return goods. They are honest.

Member
Paul Reynolds says:
17 April 2016

I purchased a laptop from a company I had done business with in the past. After a few weeks it developed problems and I contacted the supplier. I was told the software was not covered by the guarantee.
I was advised by CAB to send a particular worded letter and after further denials by the company I received the purchase price back in full.

Member
Tom Hall says:
18 April 2016

Not so much a ‘product ‘ guarantee’, more of a ‘service’ guarantee. I have paid my motor insurance company for a ‘protected’ no-claims discount (NCD) for many years, without ever having to put it to the test. Recently I had a minor incident where my car suffered superficial damage to passenger-side front wing and front door.
On renewal of my premium, I discovered that my ‘protected’ NCD was NOT protected and my policy premium had increased by more than 51%.
No satisfactory explanation from insure, despite telephone calls and emails leads me to believe that promises of ‘NCD Protection’ are a SCAM. PLEASE BEWARE

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I believe that the NCD would apply to the premium you paid for your insurance. Once you have made a claim then it is likely that the premium will increase, whether you stay with the same insurer or move to another one.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Not all insurers increase it by a whopping 51 % wavechange many are much lower and I would only lose a year or two in my first accident . Its down to what company you are with and what policy you have with them , I never go for the cheapest when trouble starts it always ends up the dearest.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It’s about 30 years since I last claimed on motor insurance except for broken glass, which is why I did not comment about the increase in premium. I do agree that paying the lowest price for a service is unlikely to offer the best value for money.

Member
Andrew says:
27 April 2016

We purchased an AEG S74010KDX0 Tall Larder Fridge from John Lewis.com. and found that the printed icons and markings on the Control Facia Panel were gradually rubbing off by my finger as we daily adjusted the timer and function press buttons. So we could no longer make ANY adjustments, nor use the countdown timer! My local BrentX John Lewis said they could not assist, as I had bought it online ( not the same company?) John Lewis email Customer Services referred me to John Lewis Technical Support ( case ref 151211-002259) .After many emails back and forth they wrote that :-

” wear and tear is generally not covered under the terms and conditions of the guarantee. The sole reason for this, is on the basis that John Lewis, nor the manufacturer can account for the cleaning, maintenance and cleaning products used in ownership………but there is a possibility your nearest Service Force group might be able to despatch a new label which can be applied to your fridge…. to contact them directly when best convenient as they will need to discuss dates you are available for an inspection, how you clean your product, the location of your fridge and any additional queries which may be raised…”.

Subsequently they wrote that:-
replacing the Control Panel ” would not be covered within the terms the (John Lewis) guarantee and therefore it would not be possible for John Lewis to arrange for any parts to be dispatched on your behalf.,,,,,,, so it would be necessary that you liaise directly with the manufacturer,,,,,You local approved AEG Service centre Respond Services can be reached on 0844 477 6272, and it would be they who would perform any hands-on work. In order to discuss any queries specifically related to the case, seek advice, or raise any dissatisfaction in relation to the terms of the guarantee you would be best served speaking with AEG themselves on 03445 611611. ”

Then after I retorted …Your comments are intriguing, for I was not seeking the repair you rather cavalierly disqualified, rather a replacement.
Evidently it proved not to have been of merchantable quality; not fit for purpose…. I had also pointed out I expected redress from the seller, John Lewis, and not the manufacturer…………..but this fell on deaf ears at John Lewis.com

they replied ” Your appliance is provided with a two year service guarantee upon purchase; this guarantee will cover the costs of remedying any genuine mechanical failures that occurs during this period. The guarantee does not extend towards any impact or customer induced damage or any cosmetic wear and tear that may develop.

The resulting repair that is required to rectify the issues on your control panel will not be covered under the standard two year guarantee you were provided with upon purchase; should you wish to have this particular part looked into, then please be advised that this will be chargeable.

I acknowledge in your email your request of a replacement; regretfully for the aforementioned reasons, this too is a request that I am unable to comply with.

I can appreciate that it is far from ideal for this issue to have occurred; therefore I would be more than happy to offer a contribution towards the costs of repairing the control unit on your fridge, provided that the inspection is carried out by the below allocated agent.”

Eventually a single phone call to AEG customer Services and they organised an engineer to come and fit a new Control Panel, FOC. Although AEG said this would be as an exception, and the fitting engineer said the markings would rub off the new one also ( so I have put Clear Tape over it!)

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Andrew, this is very unhelpful of John Lewis and possibly contravenes the Consumer Rights Act. This expects a product to work properly and to be durable. The part you refer to is not cosmetic, it is functional, isn’t it, and designed to be touched. Therefore it should survive being touched for many years.

However it didn’t come to that fortunately. Glad you got it sorted out. Perhaps if you have used adhesive tape you might replace it with one of those low-tack clear protectors you get on screens and the like, or even cling film, just in case the adhesive causes any problem.

Member
dieseltaylor says:
27 April 2016

I think this is an excellent example of the kind of case that should be addressed by Which?

1. John Lewis .com being disingenuous with Andrew’s rights
2. AEG providing a item unfit for purpose

This is an absolute case study in what is wrong with retail and Which? needs to write to both parties asking for their commnets on their actions , and of course merchantable quality. Sticky clear tape needed! The solution for AEG is so simple you have to marvel at the stupidity of control markings that erase easily.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

This is wear & tear but the controls should be designed to cope with use. I have seen people use abrasive scouring cream on cooker knobs and it is hardly surprising that the lettering wears off. The lettering on computer keyboards often wears off but I have never seen this on any Apple keyboard, however well used.

Wearing of labelling is an incredibly common problem which I first encountered with the Bush radio I was given for passing my O-levels back in 1977. Although I knew what the buttons did, I replaced the worn lettering with Letraset and protected it with clear nail varnish. That was the only problem and the radio still works. I have also used nail varnish to protect lettering that is wearing off.

It’s not just lettering that is the problem with cooker knobs. They are often made from the wrong plastic or not strong enough. The knobs on my 34 year old Belling are still fine.

Which? will offer legal advice if we pay a subscription but it is high time that a member of the legal team ventured onto Which? Conversation to offer advice on issues such as the problem that Andrew has described.

In my experience, manufacturers are better at helping with minor problems even though they have no legal responsibility.

Member
Brian Warburton says:
25 June 2016

I bought a computer monitor from PC World on-line and it packed up within a couple of weeks (1 year warranty). I returned it to the local PC World shop but they told me it was nothing to do with them, they wouldn’t repair it and that I would have to contact the on-line store (same shop) for service. It was very difficult to get any contact with the on-line technical side of things and I kept getting told to try ringing alternative numbers – going round and round in circles.

I eventually got so wound up by this lack of communication I contacted the manufacturer direct. They were very good and sent a courier to collect the monitor for repair or replacement. After a day or two the manufacturer phoned to say they were returning my monitor, without repair, as it was non-EU standard equipment and I should not have been sold this particular variant in the first place. They said I should return it to the seller ASAP. They also said, due to it not being of standard UK build I should not use it as there could be a risk of ELECTRICAL FIRE!

I contacted Customer Services at PC World and was once again passed from pillar to post for weeks but I was not about to give up, as they were obviously trying to make me do. It eventually took about 3 months of calls, emails and letters to get a full refund and a paltry voucher in lieu of ‘Costs and time’.
PC World . . . . Warranty . . . . Service? Not in the same sentence.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

It is illegal to knowingly sell a product to an economic area whose standards and electrical build differ from the area you live in as a permanent resident . This isnt “gray imports ” we are talking about where products are undercut to cut out the “middle man ” but products DESIGNED not to work correctly in each world economic area. If PC World On-line knew your country of residence then they broke the law by selling a product pro-porting to work in your area . As an aside when clicking on TP complaints about PC world products it re-directed me to —PC World On-line –tricky !