Know what you pay for, avoid messy contractual clauses
November 7, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
Are you looking for a new fridge, washer, dryer or stove? Know that certain warranties come with an extra surprise: restrictive clauses that may end up costing you more than anticipated. Before buying, know which questions to ask to avoid being caught in a spin cycle.
When getting brand new appliances, budgeting for future repairs is not the first thing on your mind. However, as the machines "tumble down" their life cycle, it may become a bigger burden, especially if you are not covered by a broad warranty that includes both the parts and services.
Some warranties only cover the parts or the repairs, to varying degrees. Some may even require that you do business with an "authorized" or "accredited" supplier, which is often more expensive than your local repair shop. Regardless of the type of repairs or parts required, and whether or not they are covered by the warranty, if it is not completed by those cherry-picked suppliers, you risk voiding your warranty completely.
Before purchasing new appliances, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Ask the following questions:
- Does the appliance come with a full or limited warranty?
- What's covered by the warranty (parts, repairs or both)?
- Are there different warranty terms for different parts or types of repairs?
- Who should I contact if my appliance needs repairs – the manufacturer, retailer or a third-party warranty provider?
- What documents will I need to keep in case of repairs?
- When the appliance needs repairs, can I hire whomever I wish, or do it myself? If I do, does it affect my warranty and how?
- When repairs need to be done, can I get the parts from any supplier or do I have to use an authorized dealer? If I find the part myself, does it affect my warranty and how?
Additionally, consider the following tips:
- Don't be afraid to ask the salesperson questions. That's their job.
- While retailers will have answers to many of those questions, also check the appliance manufacturer's website. It often provides more information.
- If a question isn't covered, contact the manufacturer directly to learn more.
- Keep good notes of the answers you get.
- Help your family and friends avoid being jammed in a sticky situation and share the word.
- Consumer protection laws are administered at the provincial level and differ across the country. Check your provincial consumer protection agency's website for province-specific tips and advice on warranties.
If you have been misled by indications on your appliances' warranty, file a complaint with the Competition Bureau. If you have questions regarding your rights and responsibilities as a consumer, contact your provincial consumer protection agency.