Archive for Sunday, June 26, 2005

Review warranty protections

June 26, 2005


— Federal law requires that warranties always be made available for you to read before you make a major purchase. This includes purchases via a catalogue or the Internet.

A warranty is the promise that manufacturers or sellers make to you that they stand behind the product. Occasionally a seller will give a verbal warranty, but it's best to ask for that in writing as well.

If you get a warranty, here are some things to be aware of:

¢ Look for the dates when the warranty begins and expires, as well as any circumstances or conditions under which your coverage may be voided.

¢ Know what happens if your product fails. Will the company repair or replace it, or refund your money completely?

¢ Check whom you should contact for warranty service. In some cases you will deal with the manufacturer of the product and, in others, the seller.

¢ Make sure that the warranty meets your needs. Sometimes a warranty covers you only if you're using the product as directed. If you plan on using the product for multiple reasons, such as both business and personal uses, be certain that you'll be covered either way.

¢ See if the warranty covers "consequential damages," which are damages beyond those done to the product itself. Some warranties cover neither the damage caused by the product nor the time and expense it takes to get the damage repaired. For example, if you buy a washing machine that ends up ruining your clothes, your warranty might not cover the expense of replacing them.

¢ Remember that there is a difference between a warranty and a service contract. Warranties are included in the price of the product, while a service contract costs extra and provides maintenance for a designated period.

Do you need to buy a service contract in addition to your warranty? That will depend on what your warranty already covers, and the likelihood that your product will need future repairs.


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