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back to article OFT probes extended warranties

The Office of Fair Trading is launching a short, sharp investigation into the market for extended warranties, having found some stores are not complying with rules imposed after a previous probe. The OFT will investigate the £750m market to see if consumers are getting a fair deal when buying extra guarantees for domestic …

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Restricting access

Quote "The OFT also said today it would not be investigating the market for repairs of domestic electrical equipment, because it did not find enough evidence to support claims that manufacturers are restricting access to technical information and spare parts by independent repairers."

As a self employed copier engineer and previous experience as an electronic engineer i frequently repair washing machines and other domestic appliances including TV's, PC's consoles etc.From my experience It is almost impossible to get hold of "Service Manuals" for all but the most common devices and parts seem to be lucky dip most of the time.

It should be a requirement for manufacturers to supply a complete service manual on demand and get rid of (or properly document) the "secret" service interfaces as well, KM and Olivetti i am looking at you.

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re restricting access

"It should be a requirement for manufacturers to supply a complete service manual on demand"

Right on Leeroy!

The USA realised this with car electronics and forced all car ECUs to use obd protocol in 1996, by 2000 the rest of the world had followed , although for some reason people are still going to the dealer and paying £50 to get a warning light switched off (after fault is fixed)

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isnt the fact that this extended warranty market is "Hugely profitable" proof in itself that you dont need one?

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Extended title.

I've never taken one out.

I bought my first DVD recorder years ago when they cost the thick end of £1000. And was offered one presented as a choice between paying an extra £300 then or forking out another £1000 to replace it if it broke after the guarantee ran out (it still works).

It would only have made sense if any repair would have cost a grand, and DVD recorders never dropped in price.

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What's to probe?

with retail prices of all but the really high end electronics being so low, mark-up Dixons and their ilk usually punt these to customers who know no better. Never bought one of these and don't ever intend to do so.

Some states in the US have an implied warranty which takes into account the cost of an item and given that cost what its expected lifetime should be. If it fails before that time then the implied warranty trumps any manufacturers warranty, which kind of obviates the need for an extended warranty but they are still punted to the masses by the US equivalents of Dixons.

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Are you telling the product is actually sh*t?

"Can i interest you in an extended warranty sir?"

"Are you telling me the product will not last 3 years?"

"No sir its a really good product but isn't it better to have the piece of mind"

"What that the product may or may not last 3 years?"

"Not atall sir it is a good product"

"So why do i need an extra warranty?"

"....."

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Even better ...

"Can i interest you in an extended warranty sir?"

"No thanks. I am covered under the Sales of Goods Act for 5 years if anything goes wrong."

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Alert

Overpriced Insurance not Warrenties

Argos and PCworld/Currys are the worse for these and also denying your "fit for purpose" rights.

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Why buy a warranty anyway?

I don't get it, really I don't! Here is my take (which could be wrong!)

Remember, the law is based on the Sales of Goods act and its amendments and the word "Reasonable"

So for example here are some of my takes on it and some from the courts of law in the grand old UK:

You buy a mobile on a 24month contract - it should be reasonable that that mobile lasts, defect free, for 24 months (this is my take, not tested in court AFAIK)

You buy a monitor/tv, it should be reasonable that this should be defect free for at least 3 years (I believe already tested in court and won)

You buy a car, it should be reasonable to expect this to last 6 years, defect free (Defo proven in court)

So why do you need a poxy 2 year warranty from these guys when you have all the power you need? Also, don't fall for this "return it to manufacturer" bollocks, you return it to the shop you purchased from!

Final issue; dead pixels. The law states "free from minor defect" .... if a dead pixel is NOT a "minor defect", what the fuck is it? An added feature?!??

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Sale of goods act?

"Final issue; dead pixels. The law states "free from minor defect" .... if a dead pixel is NOT a "minor defect", what the fuck is it? An added feature?!??"

I mean, if you sell a monitor with a dead pixel, can I not claim that you sold me a (say) 1600x1200 pixel monitor, not a 1600x1200-1 pixel one..

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Life expectancy

There have been cases where products have gone faulty after the standard one year warranty but judges have ruled that the usual expected life of items is far longer and have told the suppliers to replace items.

You don't buy a washing machine and think 'I'll need another one in 18 months'.

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Exactly

@ Elmer

You are right Elmer. The Sales of Goods act covers items up to their life expectancy so computers/tv's/monitors are covered for approximately 5 to 6 years, fridges are about 9 years and washing machines are approximately 9 years as well.

Companies should be forced to publish their expected lifetime of a product instead of this guarantee crap. Would you buy a product that had a lifetime of 1 year?

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Richer Sounds

Paid for extended warranties for flat-screen TV and DVD recorders - after 5 years with no faults we got our money back.

Bless them.

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Linux

Better retailers give you better service...

I like to buy white-goods from John Lewis, good price, good service and the extended warranty is built into the price.

Bought cooker, fridge/freezer, TV and washing machine etc over the years, sometimes for hundreds less than on-line or other high street places. Very happy with them, would always to to them first.

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Restricted access to tech info and spares ?

>> ... because it did not find enough evidence to support claims that manufacturers are restricting access to technical information and spare parts by independent repairers

They've obviously never had to have any Apple product repaired then. Apple still cling to the block exemption allowing them to control the secondary market for parts. The best I got from the OFT a few years ago was a letter saying "your argument has merit but we don't have the resources". The arguments in favour of the block exemption are now completely bogus ("it's a highly technical product needing specialist skills" - yeah, like it's really hard to swap one complete board for another) and the exemption should be scrapped as it's most definitely not in the best interests of the consumer.

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WTF?

Oh dear... here come the Apple bashers....

>> Apple still cling to the block exemption allowing them to control the secondary market for parts

Oh yeah ?

http://www.applemacparts.co.uk

Seems simple enough to get hold of Apple parts.

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