Everything you should know about guarantees and warranties


Everything you should know about guarantees and warranties includes knowing that everything you buy as a consumer has an implied warranty of quality in any way even if you do not get the reams of paper that accompany bigger items such as electrical appliances. Credit agreements and advertisements often refer to guarantees and warranties, but most of us wonder if there is a difference between the two and if so, what the difference is. The Oxford Dictionary describes a guarantee and warranty as “a promise that a company will repair or replace something you buy without payment if it goes…

Everything you should know about guarantees and warranties includes knowing that everything you buy as a consumer has an implied warranty of quality in any way even if you do not get the reams of paper that accompany bigger items such as electrical appliances.

Credit agreements and advertisements often refer to guarantees and warranties, but most of us wonder if there is a difference between the two and if so, what the difference is.

The Oxford Dictionary describes a guarantee and warranty as “a promise that a company will repair or replace something you buy without payment if it goes wrong within a particular period of time” and also as a “promise or an assurance, especially one given in writing, which attests to the quality or durability of a product or service”.

A guarantee is also described as a promise or assurance in writing that something is of specified quality, content or benefit or that it will perform satisfactorily for a given period of time. A warranty is described as a written guarantee the manufacturer or dealer gives you when you buy a new item, such as an appliance or vehicle, which specifies that the manufacturer will make any repairs or replace defective parts free of charge for a stated period of time.

However, the words guarantee and warranty are often used interchangeably to mean that a buyer of a product or service will have recourse if there is something wrong with the product or service. For consumers, it is best to see what the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) says about guarantees and warranties.

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The implied warranty of quality

According to section 56 of the CPA, there is an unspoken condition in every transaction or agreement that falls under the CPA in addition to any other warranty in terms of the common law or express warranty that the supplier, importer, distributor and retailer each guarantees that the goods comply with the requirements and standards of section 55 of the CPA.

The only exception is where goods were changed contrary to instructions or after leaving the control of the supplier, importer, distributor or retailer.

Section 55 protects your right to expect that goods will do what they are supposed to do within reason and be of good quality, in good working order and free of any defects. You must be able to use the goods for a reasonable period of time in the way they will normally be used and it must comply with the applicable standards set out in the Standards Act or any other public regulation.

However, this section also stipulates that you can expect goods to be suitable for their purpose if you specifically told the supplier what it will be used for and the supplier is someone who usually sells these goods and seems to be an expert.

The CPA stipulates goods are considered suitable depending on how and for what purpose the goods were marketed, packaged and displayed, carries a trademark, instructions or warnings, indicates the range of things it could reasonably be used for and when the goods were made and supplied. It does not matter if a defect was obvious or whether you should have detected it before taking delivery.

However, you cannot assume a product failed or had a defect only because better goods are available unless the supplier said the goods are offered in a specific condition and you expressly agreed to accept the goods like that or acted in a way that suggested you did.

All goods do not have to be absolutely perfect, but if the supplier fails to point out any faults, he will be responsible, even if the defect existed when the goods were sold. Suppliers must also indicate if goods are not suitable, not working properly or defective and be able to show that you agreed to buy the goods in that condition in any way.

Suppliers are not allowed to sell goods on the basis that they are not going to last for a reasonable amount of time or that they do not comply with standards. Even if you agree to accept the goods like that, goods must still comply with necessary standards and must last for a reasonable amount of time.

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Returning defective, unsuitable goods

You can return defective or unsuitable goods according to section 56 within six months after buying it without paying a penalty fee if you are dissatisfied with the goods in terms of the requirements or standards of section 55. You can then decide if the supplier must repair or replace the failed, unsafe or defective goods or refund you.

If the failure, defect or unsafe feature of the goods has not been fixed within three months or if it happens again, the supplier must replace the goods or refund you.

You will have to show the supplier why you say goods are of poor quality and prove that it is six months or less since you bought it. If you return goods due to a quality issue, a receipt is not necessary, but you must be able to show when the goods were bought to prove the implied warranty is valid. If you are requesting a refund, you must show how much you paid and where the goods were bought from and a receipt is the best way to show this.

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The implied warranty does not apply in these cases

The implied warranty does not apply if:

goods are bought on credit, although it must still be of good quality and be fixed if necessarya consumer receives goods as a gift, as only the person who paid for the goods can return them for a refund, replacement or repairthe goods were sold at an auction

Warranties on repairs

According to Section 57 of the CPA, new or reconditioned parts installed during any repair or maintenance work, as well as the labour, carries a warranty of at least three months. This warranty applies to any other warranty. However, it does not apply if you misuse or abuse the goods and it does not cover ordinary wear and tear.

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Other warranties

Consumers can also encounter these warranties:

Express warranties make a clear statement about the quality, state, condition, performance or characteristics of goods, such as a security gate that “cannot be broken at all.”

Manufacturers’ warranties from the supplier promises consumers that goods or services will be free from defects for a certain period of time and that any defects will be repaired or replaced or the consumer will be refunded.

Extended warranties give additional coverage after the basic manufacturers’ warranty has expired and costs extra.

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