There are different types of warranties that businesses can offer to consumers. These warranties do not override or limit consumer guarantees and consumers may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund, even if any voluntary or extended warranty has expired.
As a business you may make extra promises or representations verbally or in writing about the quality or standard of a good.
This may, for example, refer to:
- the quality, state, condition, performance or characteristics of the good
- what the good can do and for how long
- the availability of servicing, supply of parts or identical goods.
For example, if you sell a book shelf and advise the consumer that it can hold up to 100 kilograms. This a statement about what the good can do and it must meet that standard.
When you provide such a warranty, under the consumer guarantees you automatically guarantee that the goods will meet this warranty.
If such a claim does not hold true, the consumer can assert their rights under this consumer guarantee.
As a supplier or manufacturer you may provide promises to consumers about what you will do if something goes wrong with a good or service. These promises are often referred to as voluntary or manufacturer’s warranties. Under the Australian Consumer Law these are called 'warranties against defects'.
All documents evidencing a warranty against defects must be presented in a certain way and must include specific information to ensure that consumers understand the warranty.
Some suppliers or manufacturers offer optional extended warranties to lengthen the coverage of their manufacturer's warranty.
You should take care when describing and selling extended warranties to ensure that consumers are not misled into thinking that they are required to pay for rights that are automatically provided by the consumer guarantees.