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The Importance of Warranty for Hardware

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When you purchase a product such as a piece of computer hardware, it will usually come with some kind of warranty. This article looks at the types of warranties offered and the rights available to consumers under the Australian Consumer Guarantee.

What is a warranty?

A warranty is a written guarantee from the seller or manufacturer of a product that promises to repair or replace the product if necessary and within a specified time frame. Warranties are often subject to certain conditions being fulfilled by the consumer, such as only using the product in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Types of warranties

There are three main types of warranties offered in Australia.

  • Express warranty – This is warranty guaranteeing that a product will do what the seller or manufacturer says it will do. For instance, if the warranty says the product will support a certain weight, then the product must be able to do this, or the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement.
  • Warranty against defects – This is often called a manufacturer’s warranty and it warrants that the product will be repaired or replaced if it is determined to have a defect of some kind that was not caused by the actions of the consumer.
  • Extended warranty – This is a warranty that extends the original warranty for a longer period of time. Some businesses now specialise in selling extended warranties to consumers, a practice that is particularly prevalent in the automobile and electronics industries.

Australian consumer law

The warranties described here are known as voluntary warranties that are offered by the manufacturer or seller to increase the saleability of their products. It is important to be aware that they do not limit your rights under Australian consumer law to a repair, replacement or refund of goods if a product does not do what it is supposed to do. According to Australia’s consumer guarantees, a product must:

  • Be of acceptable quality (i.e. be safe, durable and without faults).
  • Do all the things something of its type would normally be expected to do.
  • Match descriptions given on packaging, labels and advertising.
  • Be fit for the purpose you were told it would suit by the seller or manufacturer.
  • Come with full title of ownership and not contain any hidden extra costs or charges.
  • Have repair facilities and spare parts available for it for a reasonable period of time after purchase.

It’s important to have a warranty when you purchase something and particularly something like computer hardware, which can be expensive and which needs to do a specific job well. So before you buy, make sure you read the warranty and have the seller explain it to you if you are unsure about anything it contains. And remember, you may still be entitled to repair, replacement or refund under Australian consumer law if your purchase is not everything that it should be.

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