Manufacturer's and extended warranties should give extra protection — above what you get with consumer law.
When you get a warranty on something you buy, it can be:
- a manufacturer's warranty, which is included in the purchase price
- an optional extended warranty that you pay extra for.
For goods you buy in New Zealand, you don't usually need an extended or manufacturer's warranty, unless they offer more protection than you are already entitled to by law.
Your rights under Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) apply whether you have an extra warranty for an item or not. Your rights under any other warranty are in addition to your CGA rights.
Manufacturers’ warranties (also called express guarantees) guarantee that the maker of a product will repair or replace faulty products for a set period.
Manufacturers do not have to provide a written warranty with their products. But if they do, they must meet the terms and conditions of the warranty as well as all their obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act. The CGA still applies after the manufacturer's warranty expires.
Check the terms carefully before you make a claim to see who pays for freight on the return of products and what other terms apply.
If you claim on the manufacturer's warranty and your products are replaced, you may receive a new warranty on the replacement products.
An extended warranty is an agreement between you and a warrantor (either the retailer or another business) to provide specific warranties or guarantees for a set period of time — usually to replace or repair products or services you have just bought. You pay extra for an extended warranty.
When to consider an extended warranty
The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) offers long-lasting guarantees on products and services bought for personal or household use in New Zealand. So in most circumstances, buying an extended warranty probably isn't worth the cost.
Carefully check what the extended warranty covers. Does it offer extra protection you don't already get with the CGA? Examples of extra protection include:
- cover for accidental damage — but check if your home or contents insurance also covers this
- you buy something for business use, as the CGA will not apply.
Read the terms and conditions carefully to check it gives you the protection you need.
Some extended warranties expire once you make a claim — the terms must state if this will happen or not.
If you buy an extended warranty
Before you sign or pay, the seller must tell you:
- about your right to cancel the extended warranty — unless it's a condition of buying a product on credit
- how to cancel it.
When you buy an extended warranty, you must be given a written, dated copy that sets out:
- its total price
- all terms and conditions, eg your rights and obligations, duration and expiry date
- a comparison of protections offered by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) and the extended warranty
- a summary of your rights and remedies under the CGA
- a summary of your right to cancel the warranty
- the warrantor’s name, street address, phone number and email address.
How to cancel
You can cancel the extended warranty by giving notice verbally or in writing:
- within five working days of being given a copy of the warranty
- at any time if you weren’t given full or complete disclosure — even after the warranty has expired.
The seller must then repay you the full price.
Selling extended warranties(external link) — Commerce Commission
If things go wrong
If you have a manufacturer's warranty
Go back to the business that sold you the product. They can deal with the manufacturer on your behalf.
You do not have to contact the manufacturer, a repair person or any other third party yourself. If the seller tells you to do that, they are likely to be in breach of the Fair Trading Act by misleading you about your rights.
Go straight to the manufacturer if:
- the supplier or trader has gone out of business
- you bought directly from the manufacturer or importer
- you bought the item privately.
Example — Manufacturer’s warranty
Devlin buys a new washing machine with a one-year manufacturer's warranty. He's careful to use it in line with the instructions. After 13 months, it breaks down. Even though the warranty has expired, Devlin can ask the retailer for free repairs under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). Devlin contacts the retailer to explain the problem. He points out that the CGA says products must be of acceptable quality and last for a reasonable length of time. The retailer agrees to cover the cost of repairs.
If you have an extended warranty
Contact the warrantor — this may be the shop you bought the product from or another business. Get in touch as soon as possible after you discover a problem.
Example — Extended warranty
Bridget buys a new smartphone from a retailer. She pays an extra $100 for an extended warranty to cover her for one year if she drops the phone and has to replace it. However, her partner informs her that their home and contents insurance covers accidental damage to smartphones so the extended warranty is not necessary. Bridget has five working days from the date of purchase of the extended warranty to cancel it and get a full refund of her money.
Get support at any point from:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) — a free, independent service, run by volunteers. CAB can advise you on your consumer rights and obligations, in person, by phone, or online.
- Community Law Centre — offers free one-on-one legal advice to people with limited finances. The organisation has 24 community law centres throughout the country. You can find legal information and other resources on its website.
Find a CAB(external link) — Citizens Advice Bureau
Our law centres(external link) — Community Law Centres
Take it further
If you can't agree to a solution directly with the retailer or manufacturer, your next step is to go to the Disputes Tribunal. If your case is successful, they can order the retailer to act, eg repair or replace your item, give you your money back, pay compensation.
What the tribunal can help with(external link) — Disputes Tribunal