A warranty is a statement by the seller or manufacturer of a product that it will perform in the manner specified. Warranties exist on numerous products, from small electronics, to infomercial products, to homes and automobiles. Either the seller or the manufacturer dictates the extent to which warranties apply.
Some warranties also apply to certain types of services. For instance if you get new brakes on your car, the work and materials may be guaranteed to work appropriately for a specified time period or a specified number of miles. Many products can be sold “as is” which means any problems with the product will not be covered by warranty.
In the event that a product or service fails to perform as promised, the warranty may make repairs or exchanges of the product easier. There are some obligations that the purchaser must fulfill. If you have a warranty on a car for instance, and you run that car into a tree, you generally won’t get free repairs since your action, whether accident or not, constitutes a misuse of the car. However if your car is under warranty and the engine falls out of it while you’re driving, you may be entitled to free or reduced price repairs.
As a consumer, you should realize that not all warranties are equal. They may be limited to term, they may have limitations that apply to the misuse of any product, and they may also cover only certain things. Car warranties for instance, may not cover things like seat covers, tires or brakes, unless these things immediately upon purchase have problems. Many automobile warranties specify exactly which parts of the car are covered.
This can also apply to small electronic devices. A warranty for a blender might cover the motor of the blender, but not the blades. Additionally, some warranties will require that you advance some money for repairs, or send your purchase away to the manufacturer for repairs, for which you may pay shipping costs.
Many companies are in the business of selling extended warranties, including automobile dealers, especially for used cars, and many of the Big Box electronics stores. These extended warranties may or may not be worth their purchase price. When these extended types offers you instant replacement of a broken item, and are relatively inexpensive, they may be worth their purchase price. When they’re highly expensive, more than the actual cost of replacing the item, they’re not worth it.
The consumer may void warranties and guarantees. For instance, many mattresses are sold with time warranties. A mattress might be guaranteed not to pit, break or collapse in three years, ten years or even fifteen or twenty. Consumers should realize that any staining of the mattress voids these guarantees, in almost every circumstance. Instead of selling extended warranties, some mattress dealers offer stain guard protection.
In order to get your warranty to work, you must have used the item in the manner specified, and you should hold onto your receipt for any items or services under warranty. Before buying any extended warranties, read the fine print, to make sure that the price is worth the extension of coverage. You may also be required to fill out a product registration card, but read your warranties on any items to make sure this is required. Often, all that is needed is a copy of the initial agreement of the seller and the receipt.