In addition to the protection given to consumers by the Sale of Goods Act, manufacturers and retailers will also issue their own guarantees or warranties. The two are basically the same thing so for the purposes of simplicity we will refer to them as warranties. It is a myth that certain products (electrical products for example) automatically come with a 12 month warranty – there is no legal obligation for shops or suppliers to provide them – it is simply to enhance consumer confidence in their product and promote sales. It also provides them with valuable marketing information which is why you will need to register your product by filling in a card with your personal and purchase details in order to activate it.

Warranties are basically a commitment to repair or replace defective parts within a specified time frame (usually 12 months), although beware of any small print requiring the consumer to bear the cost of any shipping, labour etc as this runs contrary to the Sale of Goods Act which states that it is the seller’s (retailer’s) responsibility to ensure the goods are repaired or replaced at no cost, minimum inconvenience and within reasonable time. Previously there was some doubt as to the legal status of such documents, but European regulations have now confirmed that warranties are legally binding contractual obligations between the manufacturer, or retailer and the consumer for the time frame indicated.

The important point about warranties is that they should never seek to replace your rights under the Sale of Goods Act, and even after they have run out, you will still be protected by these statutory rights which can run for up to 6 years after purchase. Furthermore, you should never be referred back to the manufacturer at any point. Your first and only port of call in the event of a claim is always the seller or retailer. For further info on warranties and extended warranties, see our Guide.

Your Statutory Rights

Common Complaints

And if your statutory rights are broken