Extended warranty - sign up or lose out
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Extended warranty - sign up or lose out

There are warranties, and then there are warranties.

someone using a laptop in a meeting
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The best one is the Consumer Protection Act automatically bestows on everything you buy - it’s for SIX MONTHS, irrespective of whether what you buy is new or used, on sale or not.

You don’t have to do anything to benefit from it - it just is.

So if it breaks or becomes unfit for purpose in some way, you’re entitled to return it for YOUR choice of a refund, replacement or repair. The supplier does not get to insist on a repair. 

BUT - they may insist on sending it off to be assessed in order to establish if it’s a defect or something that you, the user, caused.

So the only warranty you are legally entitled to is six months. From month seven you are at the mercy of the manufacturer or supplier, and whatever the terms and conditions of their warranty state.

So for starters, if it breaks with the golden CPA six month warranty period, you don’t have to return it with all the packaging it came in, in order to get your chosen recourse.

But if that happens from month seven, you’ll almost certainly be told “sorry for you, no warranty claim” if you don’t have the box etc.

When I bought my current laptop last year, I was told that in order to benefit from the warranty, I had to go online and register by keying in its really long serial number.

Jomanda Wessels insists that she got no such advice when she bought her Dell computer from Dion Wired online in November 2017, with a so-called “3-year On-Site Warranty” - meaning a technician comes to you to do a repair.

So she didn’t register the laptop.

And when she made a warranty claim via Dion Wired’s authorised repair centre - Incredible Solutions - recently, she was told the laptop didn’t have any warranty cover because she hadn’t registered her laptop within seven days of buying it.

“But I got no documentation telling me about this requirement, nor was it indicated anywhere on the packaging or on the Dion Wired website, and even if I had known about the warranty registration requirement and how to do it,  I could not have done it within 7 days of purchase because I did not receive the order on time and you need the serial no for the registration," said Jomanda.

She added: “I don’t understand why it is necessary to register a warranty. Dion Wired should have a record of each serial no issued under the 3yr warranty conditions and the warranty should start from the date of delivery/collection, surely?”

 I raised the issue with Massmart’s group corporate affairs executive, Brian Leroni, who began by explaining that the Dell computer Jomanda bought carries a standard 12-month warranty and the supplier - Incredible Solutions, which has no connection with Incredible Connection - covers an extended warranty period of up to an additional two years.

So given that the laptop was bought in November 2017, Jomanda’s claim was on the extended warranty.

Leroni said the outside of the box which her laptop came in advised consumers that they must register the product online or via telephone in order to activate the extended warranty.

But Jomanda says Incredible Solutions told her there should have been a sticker on the box advising that, but there was no such sticker on her box.

Anyway, Leroni had good news for her.

“We have contacted Incredible Solutions who, as a gesture of good faith have agreed to activate the warranty for Mrs. Wessels and we will, therefore, resolve the hard disk failure under the warranty terms,” he said.

As for the bigger issue of why consumers should have to go through the hassle of registering for an extended warranty, Leroni said Dion Wired had initiated a review of the warranty activation process in an attempt to find a reliable alternative option for activating the warranty.

So well done, Jomanda, for highlighting that issue.

READ: The new cellphone data regulations in a nutshell

To contact Wendy, go to her Facebook page and click on the send email tab.

In case you missed any of the past Consumerwatch shows, find them below:

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