If my kitchen appliance breaks, am I covered for a new one? 

A reader contacted me this week about an incident with their oven. The stove, which she bought a little over two years ago, was badly damaged in a small explosion. She and her husband had cooked in the kitchen and shortly after leaving the room they heard a loud bang. They found the oven door badly damaged and blackened and glass broken throughout the room. It was an electric oven so gas wasn’t causing the problem.

When she contacted the seller, they checked the data to see if the oven was covered by warranty or guarantee. While the situation was finally resolved to her satisfaction, she was shocked that this would be a factor in such an unexpected incident. It feels guaranteed even if from the outside, if an oven fails to such an extent, the seller or manufacturer should safely replace or refund.

That’s an interesting point. While many household items with large tickets are warranted for a year or two, most customers buy them with the expectation that they will be used for at least five years or more. How are consumers protected?

Doireann Sweeney, Head of Corporate Communications at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, emphasizes that buyers’ rights are not limited to what is covered by a guarantee or warranty.

“Often electrical household items such as an oven come with a guarantee for a certain period of time. B. a year or two, etc., ”she says. “A guarantee is usually free of charge and is offered by the manufacturer as an agreement that an item will be repaired or replaced if a fault occurs within a certain time after a consumer has purchased it.

“Warranties, on the other hand, are additional optional protection that usually costs money and can be offered by the store selling the item. A warranty is similar to an insurance policy and covers the product beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period.

“Guarantees and warranties differ from statutory rights in that the conditions are usually set by the seller or manufacturer. However, it is important to know that in addition to your consumer rights, neither of these do not replace these.

“Although in the example given the consumer was able to solve the problem with the company directly through their warranty, it is important to note that you may still be able to claim if your warranty / guarantee has expired or the problem is not covered by Your statutory rights to seek legal redress. ”

According to consumer law, when a consumer purchases something in a store, it must be of a reasonable and acceptable standard and be suitable for the purpose for which it is intended. How long this has to stay that way is not stipulated by law, but Ms. Sweeney strongly recommends that the consumer alert the seller of any problem as soon as it arises.

“If a consumer purchases an item (such as an oven) that is found to be faulty or does not meet the above standards, the consumer is entitled to a full refund, repair, or replacement oven,” says Ms. Sweeney. “Consumer law does not specify exactly what option a consumer is entitled to when returning a defective item. Therefore, it is up to the consumer to negotiate with the company which option is most appropriate.

“Regarding the time frame, the law does not give a specific deadline for returning a faulty item. However, we recommend that a consumer contact the company as soon as possible about the error.

“This is important to be aware of as solving the problem will likely depend on how long the item has been used and how long it has taken the consumer to return it.”

Given the cost of large household items like stoves, it’s always worth checking the terms of any warranty or guarantee before buying.

“Find out exactly what is covered – for example, in the case of electrical appliances, are all parts or only certain parts covered?” Ms. Sweeney recommends. “Is work included and is there a limit to the amount of work that can be covered? And see if you need to take steps like registering a warranty with the manufacturer to activate it. “And don’t feel compelled to buy a guarantee.

“A guarantee is completely optional and can be expensive. So don’t feel compelled to buy one. Your consumer rights still apply. Calculate the cost of replacing the item and compare it to the cost of the warranty. Replacing may cost less than a warranty. ”

The CCPC has templates on its website for letters of complaint for consumers who wish to complain about faulty goods and poor service. Your local citizen information center can also provide advice on filing a consumer complaint.

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