Know Your Rights – Essential Reading
In working with some of the largest and most reputable manufacturers and retailers in the world, we come across some cases where there is confusion regarding what customers can expect to have covered by the manufacturer, retailer or insurer, and what they need to pay for.
This article is meant to explain these responsibilities and our observations as a repairer. However, note that this is not a legally reviewed commentary and should not be considered as over-riding manufacturers’ or other parties’ policies or the law.
These following resources should be referred to for any definitive information:
First and Foremost: Always purchase electronic products from reputable manufacturers and retailers
In our experience reputable companies are much more willing to assist their customers than companies who sell their products at the cheapest possible price. Often quality brands don’t cost much more than inferior ones, but the service they offer is vastly better.
The brands that Service Plus supports are the best in the business and they offer top notch service.
Consumer Guarantees Act (and other NZ law)
The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) is the base level of consumer rights that you can expect if you purchase goods in New Zealand. However, you must be a Consumer as defined by the law. Generally it doesn’t cover auctions or if you bought the product through a company.
UPDATE June 2014 - The Consumer Guarantees Act has been revised and is now in force. There are some changes to the law, but a big one is that auction sales are now covered and have the same rights as per any other type of purchase.
It's important to note that the CGA does not apply to goods purchased overseas (e.g. online). There’s plenty of information on the Consumer
website, and a copy of the Act here
If you have a dispute under the CGA and you are not satisfied with remedies that have been offered by the Retailer, Manufacturer, or Service Provider you can make a complaint to the Disputes Tribunal
. We recommend consumers exhaust all other avenues before escalating to the Disputes Tribunal, though, because there is a cost to lodge a claim and there is also a delay before the hearing is scheduled (which can be an issue if, say, your laptop is out of action and you use it for studies). One thing to be aware of regarding the CGA is that none of the cases set a precedent so there is no definitive information about how long a product should last and what is covered. All claims are handled on a “case by case” basis.
The manufacturers’ warranty (sometimes referred to as an express warranty) is usually a written (or available via internet) warranty that is included with your product when you purchase it. Manufacturers also offer additional warranties (at extra cost) to extend the warranty timeframe or what the warranty covers (e.g. Onsite service). The warranty terms are additional to the CGA, they do not replace or bypass your CGA rights.
Third party warranty (extended warranty)
Third party warranties are usually provided by an insurance organisation and are often sold by retailers as an up-sell at the time a product is purchased. Again, these warranties do not replace or bypass your CGA or Fair Trading rights.
If you have a claim under a third party warranty, you should log the incident with the warranty provider (you should have received a copy of the policy when you purchased the warranty which includes contact information). The warranty provider will then direct you to a repairer, however please note… Don’t allow the warranty provider to direct you to a poor quality repairer
We see many cases where uncertified repairs are done on sensitive electronic products - this voids any comeback on the manufacturer or retailer. If a repairer re-solders your laptop motherboard, for instance, there is a high likelihood that the repair will fail again in future and there is also the probability that further damage will be caused by the heat of the solder. Also, cheap repairers usually don’t use genuine parts in their repairs, so the repaired product will not be up to the standard that you should expect.
Service Plus works with all the major third party warranty providers so feel free to request that we do the repair when you log your case with the Warranty Provider.
Service Plus works with many insurance companies to provide repairs in cases where physical damage has occurred (e.g drop damage or a liquid spill). Usually an excess is payable by the customer in these cases.
Please be aware that House and Contents policies don’t necessarily cover goods used in all circumstances (e.g. business or school use) so you may need to have additional cover or a clause included in your policy to ensure your precious electronics are covered. Also note that neither insurance nor warranty cover fair wear and tear type issues (e.g. scratches or worn keyboards).
If you have an insurance incident, you should first log the claim with the insurer. You can then request a repairer, or the insurer will direct you to one. It is essential that you ensure that you use a quality repairer. An uncertified repairer may be cheaper for the insurer, but the repair will be poor quality and the manufacturer will no longer support the equipment.
Service Plus works with all insurance companies so we recommend you tell the insurer that you want Service Plus to do the repair at the time of logging the claim.
Sometimes your situation may not be covered by any legislation or contracts, but don't despair. The best retailers and manufacturers want you to come back to them again and again, so they will sometimes go out of their way and beyond their obligations to make sure you are delighted.
it is best to be honest when you are seeking additional support. It is usually very easy to spot someone who is bending the truth in order to get something covered, and quality companies are usually keen to assist a customer who feels genuinely aggrieved.