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Are you throwing your money away? - Extended warranties and the Consumer Guarantees Act

You are buying a shiny new top-of-the-range television with a two year warranty. The salesperson asks if you would like an extended five year warranty for only $249.95 extra. Sounds sensible, right?

Warranties implied by law

Many consumers do not realise the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (‘the Act’) already provides most of the extra protection that they have been offered under an extended warranty if they purchase consumer goods or services for personal, domestic or household use.  In particular, the vendor guarantees that the goods sold match their description, are fit for their purpose, are of acceptable quality and will last for a reasonable time having regard to the price. Similarly, any services you purchase must be fit for their purpose, be completed in a reasonable time, be provided with reasonable care and must be a reasonable price.

Consider your new television. Would the ordinary, reasonable consumer consider that a shiny new top-of-the-range television would be free from defects or suitably durable to last five years? Ten years? If so, it’s possible that the additional warranty you have been offered is not as valuable as it appears.

Under the Act, if a product can be fixed the vendor must repair or replace it within a reasonable time, or provide a full refund. If a remedy is not timely, if the failure is of a substantial nature or if the product is not fit for its stated purpose (or not fit for the purpose you specifically discussed with the salesperson) then you may be entitled to reject the product and require a replacement product or a full refund from the vendor.