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Manufacturer Warranty Issues

Manufacturer Warranty Issues
Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham.
March 12
11:14 2018

Purchasing white goods items including mobile phones, electronics and furniture could be a daunting task for many particularly when the warranty on the product does not provide sufficient coverage. In some cases, the products do not even come with warranty which becomes more cause for worry for people.

Given that consumers pay a price for the item, they expect value for money and if traders fail to provide some security with the product, it allows for instability in decision making.

Nevertheless, people who are in dire need of products such as mobile phones, refrigerators, washing machines, brush cutters etc. will need to make a purchase.

These items which follow an attractive price tag come with manufacturer warranty. However, often it is noted that traders fail to provide the manufacturer warranty cover to consumers at the time of purchase.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (“FCCC”) through its market surveillance activities, has noted that traders fail to provide obligatory remedy under the manufacturer’s warranty to the consumers that come with the goods (products) or services.

Innumerable time’s people have resorted to the FCCC to report against unscrupulous businesses which fail to provide the obligatory redress to the complainants under the manufacturer’s warranty. It has also been reported that the businesses failed to pass down the benefits under the manufacturer’s warranty to the consumers that come with the goods (products) or services.

Also in some instance, people have raised queries against businesses claiming that the manufacturer warranty is not applicable as the manufacturer is not based in Fiji. For instance, if a product comes with a  two-year manufacturer warranty, then the trader may sell it to the consumer with only one-year warranty.

Their justification for this is that the particular supplier/manufacturer is not based locally, and they decide on the warranty on the product.

Now if the product encounters problems soon after 1 year then the trader will charge the consumer for the redress.

 

Case study

In one particular case, a customer bought a hardware product from a trader which only came with 7 days’ warranty period.

The customer asked for a longer period of warranty which then got extended to three months by the Management. When the customer got home and opened the sealed hardware box he was shocked to find a manufacturer’s warranty card providing coverage for one year. The customer immediately called the trader and enquired about the warranty card just to be advised that the manufacturer’s warranty is not available in Fiji.

Feeling cheated the customer lodged his complaint with FCCC to be investigated. FCCC liaised with the trader and informed them to comply with the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 (FCCC Act 2010) and the ‘Notice to Stakeholders – Warranty’ which had been issued.

Trader was advised to pass on the manufacturer’s warranty to the consumers. The trader later complied with the FCCC Act 2010 and provided redress to the consumer by granting the one-year manufacturer’s warranty as per the manufacturer’s warranty card in the box.

The FCCC would like to remind all the stakeholders including businesses that you must comply with the manufacturer’s warranty which comes with the goods (products) or services, and provide the obligatory redress to the consumers if the case warrants under the manufacturer’s warranty.

If the manufacturer has given a warranty of one (1) year or two (2) years or more on the goods (products) or services, then it is the legal obligation of the businesses to pass down that warranty benefits to the consumers.

Further, FCCC wishes to inform stakeholders that they cannot reduce the manufacturer’s warranty and offer an alternative warranty of three (3) months’ or seven (7) days at their own discretion if the manufacturer is offering the warranty of one (1) year or two (2) years or more on the goods (products) or services.

If any trader engages in such conduct, it would be in contravention of the FCCC Act 2010 and they may be liable for further enforcement action. Traders should provide people with the stipulated warranty cover which justly allows them to seek redress if the need arises.

Traders and businesses need to be mindful of the fact that people have the purchasing power and they should work towards securing healthy business transactions. Doing so will also ensure compliance under the FCCC Act 2010.

Source: FCCC

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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