Saturday 10 October 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Will my warranty extend?

I have a consumer's rights question. Let's say you buy a very expensive product with a 2 year warranty. A month before the warranty expires, the thing stops working. The company happily honors the warranty replacing it with a new item. However, 2 months after the warranty expires (3 months after supposedly replacing it with a new product), the product acts up and the company says "the product has reached its life span and now needs to be completely replaced for P7,000."

The fact that the "new" product only lasted 3 months makes me doubt that I indeed received a new product when it was replaced, since these products are supposed to come with a 2 year guarantee because of their durability. However, is this one, the one that was replaced, under the same initial product warranty?

So my question is the replacement product that was supposed to be brand new be good for the same period of the initial warranty? Or is it okay to give a person something that is about to die right before the warranty expires knowing it will last the next month or so to get them past the warranty and then they will be forced to buy an entirely new product again?

I know it seems bizarre but that’s how warranties work. When you buy an item it will normally come with a warranty that is valid for a specific period, most times just a year but in this case two. That warranty is something that was included in the purchase price.

Put simply that warranty is only valid for the period you paid for. Unless you pay the supplier even more (an “extended warranty”) it will expire at the end of the term you purchased. Even in your situation where the supplier offered you an entirely new replacement item towards the end of the warranty, it will still expire as planned unless you buy an extension (which very few suppliers offer).

There are some suppliers that will offer a short warranty to a repair or sometimes to a replacement but unless you pay them money it will only be for a very short time.

You haven’t been disadvantaged here. You got a full warranty for the item you purchased.

Can I pay cash?

I ordered two 8 piece set of curtains at Homechoice in July this year and they took long to deliver them but stated that they are out of stock (which they did after my confirmation on how far my order is). Last week I received my stuff through the post office and then I informed them about sending just one piece of my order instead of two. They told me again that they managed to send only what I have received and that they do not have the curtains in stock. Thats when I requested to change to pay cash not credit as the money was now very low as compared to the order I made. I was informed it will not be possible to change the order from credit to cash. Really I'm failing to understand their reasoning more especially that their receipt has the 'cash price' and the "credit price'.

Organizations that sell things on credit or hire purchase are always reluctant to change their minds because that’s how they make money. In fact the MD of a furniture store chain (not HomeChoice) told us years ago that his business wasn’t actually selling furniture, it was money-lending. Why would they be keen to see you take that potential money away from them?

My personal view is that this is something we should campaign for: the right to convert any hire purchase agreement to a cash payment at any point during the duration of the agreement. That way if any of us had a windfall we could pay off perhaps the most expensive form of debt any of us might have. It would be no different to settling a bank loan early.

We contacted HomeChoice to ask about your situation. They said: “converting from instalment to cash, is not something that we promote as a business. We allow customers the opportunity to make an informed decision of how they would like to purchase our products, cash or credit, and action according the customers wishes.”

However given your peculiar circumstances, presumably because only part of the shipment was made, they’ve agreed that you can convert to a cash payment. Thanks to HomeChoice for being flexible!

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