Warranties and guarantees add to your legal rights. Each one is different, but they tend to be useful if:
- something’s gone wrong after the first 6 months and you want a repair or replacement - it’s tricky to do this as you may have to prove you didn’t cause the problem
- you bought an item abroad and the manufacturer is based in the UK
- a trader’s gone out of business and there’s a problem with the goods or service they provided
Consider using your legal rights instead
It may be easier to get your money back, a repair or replacement without using your warranty or guarantee.
Find out if it’s easier to use your legal rights on faulty goods instead. It’s usually easier within the first 6 months. You have legal rights for up to 6 years (5 years in Scotland) if there’s a fault.
If you still want to claim using a warranty or guarantee
You may want to use your warranty or guarantee if you think it’ll be easier - for example, if you bought the item 7 months ago and your guarantee lasts for a year.
Check your paperwork to find out how you make a claim. The warranty or guarantee could be on your receipt, in an email or given to you as a separate leaflet.
The paperwork will also say:
- how long the warranty or guarantee lasts for
- what you’re entitled to, eg a refund, repair or replacement
If you can’t find the guarantee or warranty, contact the seller or trader and ask if they have a copy or the manufacturer’s contact details.
When you make a claim, you’ll usually need:
- proof of purchase - usually a receipt showing where and when you bought the goods
- details of what the problem is
- a photocopy of the warranty or guarantee
If you haven’t filled in a return card on a manufacturer’s guarantee
You should’ve filled in a registration card and sent it back to the manufacturer.
If you haven’t, your guarantee may not be valid - try looking for a contact number on the guarantee, and get in touch. You might also be able to register online.
If you can’t find contact details, call the seller or trader and ask for advice. They may say the guarantee is no longer valid.
Check the small print
Only the person who bought the item can make a claim, unless your warranty or guarantee uses the phrase ‘third party rights’. It’s important you look out these words if you bought it second hand or were given it as a gift.
Look out for the time limit - this’ll be when the warranty or guarantee expires.
Check whether you’ll have to pay postage, packing and transportation costs if you have to send something back - the document should say.
If you don’t understand something in an extended warranty
You may have extra rights if the document makes it look very difficult for you to claim, or the wording is particularly tricky to understand. They’re called ‘unfair terms’ if they’re so difficult you can’t make any sense of them.
If you want to cancel your extended warranty
You may get an automatic 14-day ‘cooling-off period’ if you signed up for the extended warranty on the phone or online - this means you can cancel the warranty and get a refund.
You’re also allowed to change your mind and get a refund within the first 45 days if:
- you’ve taken out an extended warranty for electrical goods for at least 12 months
- you bought the warranty at the same time as buying the goods
‘Electrical goods’ include:
- smaller things like kettles and toasters
- bigger things like lawnmowers and dishwashers
- entertainment devices, like laptops and TVs
After the first 45 days you can still cancel the warranty, but you’ll only get a partial refund - the amount you’ll get depends on how long ago you took out the warranty. You can’t do this if you’ve already made a claim.
For more information on your rights see the Consumer section on the Citizens Advice website.