You may have already bought a refrigerator from a retailer and it broke after only a few months. An appliance should have a longer lifespan, what to do in this kind of situation?
Let’s shed some light on the different types of warranties and how to solve your refrigerator problem.
There are several types of warranty, including:
- Manufacturer’s warranty
- Extended warranty
- Legal warranty
The manufacturer’s warranty, also known as the contractual warranty, is the warranty that the manufacturer may offer you. Since it is a contract, the manufacturer can set certain terms and conditions, including certain exclusions. For example, the warranty may state that they will repair the item for a period of one year. This type of warranty is often advertised through a document inserted in the box of your good. Some manufacturers require you to register your item on the company’s website or return a form to activate the warranty. Be aware that the law does not require you to comply with such a requirement in order to benefit from this warranty.
The extended warranty is the one that is offered to you, often at a high price, at the time of checkout (it often costs between 20 and 25% of the value of the product). In general, this warranty is intended to extend the warranty already offered by the manufacturer. Retailers often insist on selling you this type of warranty since it is very lucrative for them. This warranty may also involve a third party company.
Even before offering you an extended warranty, the law requires the merchant to inform you of the existence of the legal warranty verbally and in writing. Since it is a contractual guarantee, it may also include certain exclusions.
By law, every item you buy or rent is automatically protected by the legal warranty. This means that this protection is free of charge and is activated at the time of checkout. You don’t have to take any action or pay any extra money to benefit from it. It is part of the law, which means that all merchants and manufacturers must respect it.
The legal warranty, governed by the Consumer Protection Act, states that the good you buy must have a reasonable lifespan and that it must function properly, as intended.
The law is not specific about what constitutes a reasonable life of a good. Rather, it is a case-by-case question depending on the type of product, the conditions of use and the price paid. For example, a new refrigerator paid $1000 should work well for several years. So, if it breaks after only one and a half years, it is possible that you can benefit from this warranty. You can claim this warranty both from the retailer who sold you the goods and from the manufacturer. They are obliged to correct the situation by repairing the product, replacing it or reimbursing you.
Of course, it is your responsibility to use the product properly. For example, if you use your product for a purpose other than its intended use or in an unsafe manner, the legal warranty does not apply.
How do I know what the reasonable life of a good might be? The Office de la protection du consommateur has developed a tool that may help you.
HOW TO CLAIM A WARRANTY
- Contact the retailer responsible for honoring the warranty to give them an opportunity to resolve the situation.
- For the manufacturer’s warranty: Contact the manufacturer, for example, the parent company of your refrigerator brand.
- For the extended warranty: It depends on your contract. It can be the retailer (the one who sold you the good) or a third party company that specializes in this type of warranty.
- For the legal warranty: Both the retailer and the manufacturer are required to honor this warranty.
- If you can’t find common ground, you can contact the Office de la protection du consommateur to try to mediate through the PARLe platform, which offers online dispute resolution assistance. It’s free!
- Still no agreement? You can send a formal notice to the merchant responsible for honouring the warranty. Click here to find out how to write it.
- You can file a claim with the Small Claims Division of the Court of Quebec (if your claim is $15,000 or less).