This section of this website only has this single long page devoted to computer-related warranties. Any purchaser of any device, be it a computer or any of its components, should find out what the warranty period is, its type (on-site, return-to-base , etc. and its terms and conditions. You should also be aware of legislation in your country that can overrule a warranty set by a manufacturer. For example, in the UK, the Sale of Goods Act protects the purchase of goods over their expected useful life and recent EU legislation has extended the warranty period of all goods bought in Europe, which includes the UK, to two years. Therefore, you can take a manufacturer to court if it only provides a one-year warranty. It is also possible to obtain compensation if the goods fail within their expected useful life under the Sale of Goods Act. Different countries or states within countries, such as the USA, will be bound by their own legislation.
Warranties (also known as guarantees) come in many different flavours.
You'll have to read the contract (make sure that you get it in print and read it before you sign anything). Do not take a salesman's word for anything over the telephone, or in person. Never! Not under any circumstances!
Never forget that if a salesman can get away with it, he or she will charge you over and above the listed price - especially for things like distance-learning courses.
Read this very interesting forum thread about standard warranties being increased from one year to two years in the UK due to an EU directive:
2 year warranty - know your rights!! [Applicable to the UK] -
"Recently I had a problem with my graphics card, which ended up in the company I purchased it from refusing to replace/refund it even though relatively new EU legislation extends warranties of everything bought in the UK to two years. However I knew I was right, took them to court and won getting a complete refund including the court fees (only L25)." - http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/130-40-year-warranty-rights
The claimant mentioned in the forum thread linked to above used this online claim court:
Her Majesty's Court Service -
"Money Claim Online (MCOL) is Her Majesty's Courts Service Internet based service for claimants and defendants. Money Claim Online is a simple, convenient and secure way of making or responding to a money claim on the internet." -
There is a useful regulation provided by the UK Distance Selling Regulations, which stipulates that if the purchase is not made face-to-face, the purchaser has a 7-day cooling-off period that begins on the day that the goods are received, so it is advisable to examine or test the goods as soon as they arrive. You can return the goods and claim a refund if you act within that period, which has to be repaid within 30 days. The goods don't have to be faulty, just not what you had in mind or not up to its manufacturer's claims. For example, you might buy a battery-operated lamp that says that it provides light that you can read under, but when you try it yourself you find that that is not the case and you bought it to use as a reading lamp in a camping tent, etc. You are permitted to buy the same or a different product from that seller that is suitable or isn't faulty during the claiming period.
The statutory manufacturer's warranty covers the purchase for a year. It will be one of the following, or a mixture of them - On Site, RTB (Return to Base), or C&R (Carriage and Return), which can usually be made into an extended warranty covering varying periods for an extra fee.
The following video gives some good advice and information on extended warranties:
Should you buy an extended warranty this Christmas? -
Depending on the contract, an On Site warranty could, say, revert to a RTB warranty after a specified period. An On Site guarantee or warranty means that a service technician will come to the place where the purchase in question is located, usually within a time set in the contract (but often seldom observed). A RTB guarantee or warranty usually means that you will have to pay the carriage to the repair centre and the return carriage will be paid by the concern involved, or you will have to pay the carriage both ways, depending on what is specified in the contract. The company might pay the carriage costs for collection and return, but you won't know what the terms are unless you read the warranty's terms and conditions, which differ from company to company. There are no standard terms and conditions.
A C&R guarantee or warranty means that the concern involved will arrange and pay for all of the transportation costs for the repair or service. You could also be offered a lifetime On Site warranty that covers parts and service costs for a year, which then reverts to covering labour only for the rest of the PC's useful life. (I would take these with a pinch of salt. The company probably won't itself last that long. In any case, if the word lifetime is used, find out exactly what that means.) Obviously On Site warranties are the best, followed by C&R, with RTB warranties being the least desirable.
Note that long labour-only warranties that extend beyond statutory warranties cover the cost of the labour, but not any replacement parts, which have to be paid for.
Always bear in mind the the EU has extended the warranty period to two years and the UK's Sale of Goods Act provides cover over the expected useful life of the product, which, of course, depends on the product and therefore varies from product to product.
November 12, 2011. - Computers and other electronic goods, such as mobile phones, can seem to be up to 50% or even more expensive in the UK than the USA. So, can someone in the UK make big savings by buying these goods from the US? - When all of the circumstances are taken into consideration, any saving that you make usually aren't worth the hassle or the trouble that you can run into. You may be able to make small savings or may even wind up having to pay more for the goods due to the following factors:
1. - US stores don't include the sales tax in the advertised price because each state can set its own rate of tax, so you won't know what the final price is until you check out. UK goods look significantly cheaper minus the current 20% VAT.
2. - Note well that the US uses a different mains electricity system to the UK. Theirs is a 110V system that uses a two-pin plug; ours is a 230V system that uses a three-pin plug. This means that you will probably have to buy an adapter in order to be able to use the device. Most laptops can work with both voltages, but, if not, you'll have to buy a new power supply adapter, the price of which will vary between makes. You will probably be able to save by buying a reputable third-party alternative instead of buying from the device's manufacturer. A desktop PC might provide a connection for both voltages, but, if not, you'll have to buy a UK power supply unit. You should never consider using a power supply that costs under £30 and a decent quality unit usually costs around £50.
3. - Import duty has to be paid on all goods imported into the UK and the cost of shipping can be very high. Sometimes the shipping cost can be higher than the value of the goods. Moreover, if you don't receive the goods, UK distance-selling regulations won't apply to goods purchased from the US and you can have great difficulty in obtaining the goods or obtaining a refund.
4. - A US warranty will not be valid unless it is a global warranty. The UK Sale of Goods Act that covers goods for their expected useful life and the new two-year minimum warranty set by the EU won't apply to US goods.
It is well worth noting that the Sale of Goods Act in the UK protects the purchase of goods over their expected useful life.
This is valuable protection for goods that have an expected useful life that is longer than the standard 12-month warranty. It means that if the product, such as a desktop or laptop computer, has an expected useful life of four years, its owner can get it repaired or replaced if it dies within that period, regardless of any warranties, standard 12-month or extended. All computers should have a useful life of at least four years, so it is a waste of money to buy an extended warranty for a desktop or laptop computer. However, the vendor or manufacturer will probably try every trick in the book to avoid having to repair or replace a computer that is out of its warranty period and which has no extended warranty. That said, if you have the product examined by a reputable third party and then insist on your rights under the Sale of Goods Act, if the product fails within its expected useful life, you will always be entitled to having it repaired or replaced.
Most monitors come with a three-year on-site, or return-to-base warranty, or a mixture of the two types of warranty. For instance, the warranty might be on-site for its first year, and then become a return-to-base warranty for the remaining two years.
Note well that in many cases the warranty for the monitor included with a brand-name computer, such as Dell, HP, and Packard Bell has a three-year warranty provided by its manufacturer, even though the computer itself is only covered by a standard one-year warranty. Therefore, if the monitor packs in after the computer's standard warranty has ended and before its own warranty ends, you can have it repaired or replaced.
Working out the warranty period of a particular make/model of hard disk drive can be tricky because they vary from model to model and if the drive is an OEM product (supported by the vendor or the computer's manufacturer) or a boxed retail product. For example, Seagate currently (April 2012) offers warranties that last for one year for laptop and desktop-PC drives and five years for 'Mission Critical' drives and three years for nearline drives (a contraction of near-online, meaning hard drives with low-rotational speeds). It is not possible to find out how these Seagate warranties match up with the actual models unless you already own one, because Seagate's online warranty checker requires the entry of the drive's serial number. Therefore, it can't be used with just a particular drive's model, so you can check before buying one. A similar situation no doubt exists with the other two major manufacturers of hard disk drives - Toshiba and Western Digital.
Moreover, EU law stipulates that all warranties have to last two years and the Sale of Goods Act in the UK stipulates that goods have to last as long as their expected useful lives, which varies from one good to another and therefore complicates matters even further.
The website of the manufacturer of hard disk drives will provide the available details of the warranty cover of its drives.
Note that SCSI and SAS hard drives are much more expensive than IDE and SATA drives, and they are designed for continuous use in mission-critical systems, so they are usually still provided with long five-year warranties.
Note that most video-card manufacturers provide a one-year or two-year warranty for their products, but it is worth noting that Asus, Leadtek, PNY, Gainward, and MSI provide excellent three-year warranties.
There are also some manufacturers of video/graphics cards, such as PNY, that offer an extended warranty on their cards if the buyer registers it on their websites.
If you buy a computer that has a standard warranty of a year, but it contains components that have a longer warranty, then that longer warranty is valid after the computer itself is older than twelve months.
However, there are exceptions, such as RAM memory modules, for which a manufacturer such as Crucial provides a lifetime warranty. That means that it is covered by the warranty as long as you use the memory in a computer that supports it. That amounts to about five years, because new types of RAM is always being released, and the older modules won't be supported by new motherboards.
Note that if a component such as a high-end video card dies within its warranty period, the manufacturer (or the vendor if it is an OEM card supported by the vendor instead of the manufacturer) can make you prove that you have taken adequate precautions to keep the computer's case cool before it honours the warranty. That probably means having to provide photographs of the inside of the case that show the case fans that have been installed. Therefore, you should obtain the warranty's terms and conditions before you make a purchase to find out what is involved in making a claim against it.
A drive's firmware is the built-in software that manages the drives behaviour. It works in much the same way as the motherboard's BIOS, and affects the capabilities and performance, such as the read and write speeds for a CD/DVD format. Note well that for most modern drives the firmware is upgradable, which allows the manufacturers to keep their drives up to date as well as make improvements in format support.
If a firmware upgrade is available from the manufacturer's site, all you have to do is download the file and install it by executing that file. However, you should read the documentation that came with the drive before you upgrade the firmware, because doing so can render its warranty invalid.
A site that provides firmware upgrades is: http://forum.rpc1.org.
Always remember that if the concern stops trading, the warranty is not worth the paper it is written on. Even some of the biggest and best known vendors have gone out of business, or have been taken over or absorbed into another concern, which also usually renders the warranty void. You will be relying on the new concern's good will to provide warranty cover, not on the law, because the company that issued the warranty is no longer in existence.
I will say it again - read the terms and conditions of the warranty and the company's sale-and-return policies before you make a purchase!
For example, you may have purchased a second-hand computer that is still within its warranty period. You may or may not be entitled to transfer the warranty to yourself, depending on the terms and conditions of the warranty. Some desktop and laptop computer manufacturers make the ease of transferring the warranty a selling point. Usually, but not always, it is just a matter of changing ownership with the manufacturer to transfer the warranty. The transfer can often by done online.
The terms and conditions of the warranty can also inform you if the warranty is valid if you don't return the warranty registration form to the manufacturer. Most manufacturers require the form to be returned in order for the warranty to be valid, because that way they know when the machine was purchased and can calculate when the warranty expires. However, a two-year warranty is now a statutory requirement in the EU countries, so you will probably be able to make a claim on the warranty if you can prove the purchase. Remember that the Sale of Goods Act in the UK allows the purchaser of goods to make a claim if the goods fail within what is considered to be their useful life, which could be 5 years for a computer. All of the computers I have had have lasted 5 years or more.
Read the documents in the store, or take copies home, or ask the company to send you copies via e-mail or fax if you intend to by online with a credit card.
Using a credit card is the best method of payment, because of the additional security doing so provides. You usually have the right to order the credit card company to refund the cost, or force the company to fulfil the terms of the purchase contract if it fails to do so satisfactorily.
In this age of e-mail and the fax, when intending to make a purchase online, you should be able to obtain a copies of the warranty and sale-and-return policies from the company concerned before you enter into a binding contract.
Also beware of concerns that provide a payment-free period, of say, a year, nine, or six months.
The scam is that if you do not pay the full amount for the purchase immediately after the payment-free period, it is part of the contract for a hire-purchase finance house to deal with the payment - and you will be charged the full interest on the purchase, even if the payment is one day over the settlement period, or one penny or cent short. These people are relying on the fact that most people are guaranteed to forget about this kind of thing, so they know that they are going to get their high level of interest most of the time even though they have used the hook of an interest-free period. You are never sent a reminder warning that the payment is due and what will happen if the deadline is not met.
Moreover, if something goes wrong with the item or items purchased, you could be told to deal with the finance company. The finance company will then tell you that the vendor is responsible for servicing guarantees and warranties. The vendor will then often not take any action unless you threaten it with legal action. They try this scam out on the elderly in particular, because they are often the easiest people to confuse or intimidate. The salesman that dealt with the purchase will have noted the age of the person he or she is dealing with. Hard to believe, but some vendors do act in this way regardless of the bad publicity it is likely to generate.
Do not be fobbed off in this way! The vendor you purchased the PC from is responsible for dealing with any repair or service problems according to the guarantee or warranty, regardless of how the payment is being handled. A concern cannot escape from its responsibilities by handing over the collection of the payment to a hire-purchase finance house. After all, if you purchase a car from a dealer on HP, the dealer is responsible for the warranty, not the HP company. The best action to take if this happens to you is threaten the vendor with the trading standards authority that exists in every developed country.
1. Warranties come in many types. Most of them will protect the monitor, the case itself, all of its internal parts, but may not cover the keyboard or mouse, so always read the warranty before you buy a computer, especially an extended warranty, which, if possible, you should avoid purchasing, because they are usually a waste of money. Many people fork out for a five-year extended warranty for a computer or other goods when it is highly likely to be redundant technology before the end of the warranty, and pay almost as much for it as for the goods themselves. Indeed, with the falling price of electronics, they often pay more for the extended warranty than it would cost to replace the purchase a few years later.
2. Any computer manufacturer that tells you in writing that it will come to your home to carry out repairs, might try to evade its responsibilities by using the excuse that the company has no local technicians based in your area of the country. If you have purchased a computer with an on-site warranty, the company has to send someone to repair it where it is, even if that means having to hire a local technician to do the work.
3. If something goes wrong with the computer, if you open the case without permission, the warranty will be rendered voided immediately. If the computer company gives you permission to remove a component and install a replacement that it will send to you without rendering the warranty void, obtain the permission in writing before you do anything, and then charge the company for your labour.
4. Always call the technical support staff at the computer manufacturer's premises, and inform them of any problems you are experiencing. Write down the date, time, whom you talked to, their personal reference numbers if they have them. If they instruct you to open the computer's case, write down the date, time, who told you to do this, and the reason for doing so. If they ask you to do anything inside the case itself, create a complete written record of the instructions you are given. Ideally, you should make recordings of telephone conversations, because even if you write to the company, you will probably only receive a telephone call in response. You can buy or download free software that allows you to channel telephone calls through a computer that can be recorded. This could be very important later on if you have to make a claim, or initiate legal action.
5. If the company sends you replacement components, if you didn't return the faulty components before they sent replacements, you must remember to return the faulty components immediately, and they will have to reimburse you for the shipping costs. If they don't, you can demand a return of the shipping costs. If you fail to return the faulty components, you can be in breach of contract, and they can charge you for the new parts and the shipping costs for them. Moreover, always remember to send any components back by recorded delivery!
6. Always be persistent, and never act on any advice that involves having to pay any costs yourself for correcting any problems that are not recoverable.
If a 12-month on-site repair guarantee is included in the price of the computer from a major supplier, when making comparisons, always remember to add the price of an extended warranty to the price charged by another supplier that requires the computer to be returned to base for repairs during the guarantee period. Then, the latter firm's prices might not look quite so tempting. Otherwise, you will have to pay for the transportation to the repair site - and lose the use of the computer while it is away for repairs.
This is especially the case with laptop and notebook computers, most of which would have to be returned to the supplier or manufacturer for repairs during the whole of their useful lives. Their innards are so like clockwork that only a highly-qualified technician knows how to work with them.
Extended warranties for desktop computers tend to be rip-offs, because you would usually pay an independent technician much less in repair costs over the same period that a typical extended warranty costs to provide repair cover. But repairs and upgrades to laptop computers are usually very expensive, so it is advisable in this case to buy an extended warranty. But do your calculations before you sign on the dotted line and hand over your cash.
Note that laptop and notebook PCs are difficult to upgrade. The most you can do is add PC card support - modems, hard disk drives, network support, etc. You cannot obtain devices such as a video or sound card in PC Card form for a laptop or notebook PC.
I read the other day of a cracked connection cable in a Compaq notebook PC that linked it to the lid screen. Compaq said that the cable came with the screen, and since the guarantee had expired, the cost of replacing the cable would be L500.
If a notebook PC breaks down it almost always has to be returned to the manufacturer for repair, and this is the kind of thing that can happen. You have been warned. If the guarantee has expired find out what the cost of repair is likely to be before you send it to the manufacturer.
It is worthwhile knowing that most of a new computer's failures occur within the first 12 months of ownership. The next bad period tends to be when it is in its fifth year. For that reason, extended warranties, usually costing several hundred pounds, tend to be a waste of money. Computers are built up of modules, most of which cost less than L100, so you would have to have at least two major failures before you would recoup the cost of such a warranty. Thus, the best option is to buy a computer that comes with a 1-year on-site repair guarantee. Then all you really need after that is a book on how to upgrade and repair a PC. It is surprisingly easy and satisfying to do. Such books cost between L20 to L50. Another good option is to become a regular reader of a good computer magazine, such as Computer Shopper (UK).
By obtaining a written specification of a PC's contents, you protect yourself from being given false or misleading information that the supplier can deny having provided, or having omitted to provide. If the computer supplier refuses to put anything in writing, buy your computer from a company that will. You will then be in a position to check the quality of the components on websites, in computer magazines, and Internet newsgroups before you make a purchase. If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides newsgroups, use your newsreader (Outlook, Outlook Express, Agent, Free Agent, etc.) to search for the word mainboard for a list of motherboard manufacturer's newsgroups.
Always remember that you are buying expensive equipment and that there is no shortage of suppliers keen to sell you second-rate, non-upgradable, skimpy or old kit. It always pays to be as knowledgeable as possible before you part with your money. Anyone who buys an old computer that cannot be upgraded to an acceptable standard, will be in a world of hurt when it refuses to run the latest software or accommodate hardware upgrades.
Even check that the IDE drive cables can attach the four IDE drives that most motherboards can accommodate. Since most motherboards have only two IDE channels (connection points), in most cases, each IDE cable has attachment points for two IDE drives, which can include hard disk drives, CD- and/or DVD-ROM drives, and ZIP drives. However, cost-cutting companies often provide a pair of IDE cables, each of which can only attach one drive to the motherboard. Thus, if you want to add an extra hard disk drive, or a ZIP drive, you will have to buy a new cable for each additional device. Alternatively, they can supply only one cable to which both drives are connected to the primary channel, leaving nothing connected to the secondary channel. In this case, you would have to buy a cable to attach a drive to the unused channel. The same can apply to the cable that attaches the floppy disk drive to the motherboard. A complete floppy-disk cable has several attachment points along its length, allowing, say, a second floppy disk drive to be installed, but a cost-cutting company can supply a cable to which only one floppy disk drive can be attached. These cables are inexpensive, but why buy new ones if your computer should have been supplied with the proper cables from the outset.
If the motherboard can accommodate four IDE drives, the cables inside the computer should themselves have attachment points along the ribbons for the same number of drives.
The same goes for the small number of motherboards that have two controllers, each of which can accommodate four IDE drives, making a total of eight drives.
If you intend to purchase a Baby-AT form-factor motherboard, you should check whether the USB ports are included with it, or if they have to be purchased separately in the form of a riser card that attaches directly to the motherboard. (Download the user manual or consult the vendor.) This is because only ATX form-factor motherboards come with built-in ports. An increasing number of devices of all kinds from mice to printers and scanners are now able to be connected via a USB port, which, since it requires only one of the sixteen IRQs (Interrupt Requests), is a saver of system resources.
An IRQ allows the various active components in a computer to request and be granted processor time. A device uses its IRQ to request access to the processor.
Click USB to find more about the Universal Serial Bus on this website.
I bought an Acer Aspire 3050 series laptop/notebook computer in December 2006 from Comet. I finally got a broadband connection in March 2007. As soon as I connected the laptop, it started downloading a large number of updates, which took a long time. The next day when I turned the computer on there were some dead pixels in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and some discoloured horizontal and vertical lines. Then I watched as the dead pixels expanded until the whole corner was black. Having returned the computer to Comet, the company said that it was accidental damage, which is not covered by the standard warranty, and is therefore a chargeable repair, because accidental damage cover wasn't taken out. In order to get this confirmed, I got Comet to return the computer to Acer. That company's report merely said that the damage was a chargeable repair. As far as I know, the computer was never knocked or dropped, so I am dismayed by the situation. It strikes me as ridiculous how easily companies can escape from honouring their warranties by claiming something for which they have no proof. I would like to take the matter to court. Is this a good idea? Do I have to take both companies to court, or only its manufacturer, Acer?
Areas of black pixels on a screen are usually caused by physical damage that is the consequence of an impact from, say, a knock or fall, or excessive pressure applied to the screen.
The damage could have been caused by a person's handling of the machine, or there could be a fault or distortion in the laptop's lid that could have been caused by accidental damage before you received the machine. A distortion in the lid could have put stress on the screen panel that led to the failure over time. Unfortunately, you had the laptop for three months before the failure occurred, so it would be very difficult to prove that the damage happened before you received it.
Laptop PCs, being portable, are much more prone to accidental damage than desktop PCs. For that reason, taking out accidental damage cover, which isn't usually expensive is a good idea. I recently got a year's accidental damage and theft cover for a £700 laptop for £50.
If you want to take the matter to court, you would have to show on the balance of probabilities that the fault was due to a defect in the machine, not to accidental damage. You could take it to a reputable laptop repair company for investigation. If evidence turns up that supports your case you could take either Comet or Acer to court, depending on which company has to honour the machine's warranty. However, the most likely outcome is that you'll have to pay to have the laptop repaired. You should obtain a quote on the cost, because it might be more time and cost-effective to buy a new machine. When a new laptop computer becomes seriously faulty, it may continue having problems.
Having taken the advice of the personnel in one of the manufacturer's retail outlets, I purchased a new computer. I wanted the computer to allow me to create DVDs from downloads from my digital video camera. Unfortunately, I can download images from the camera and edit them, but when making a movie, the process goes all the way through the rendering and the burning to a recordable DVD disk, but it only resulted in a working disk once out of five attempts. I changed the brand of disk, but this didn't help. The computer's extended onsite warranty is for three years, and even though the manufacturer installed the software, I was told by its support staff that a technician could not come to see to the problem unless I agreed to pay up if the problem turned out to be a software problem, because the warranty only covers hardware problems. My expensive computer won't do what I purchased it for. How can I get satisfaction?
Since you were successful once, the computer has the capability you require of it, because if it didn't you wouldn't have succeeded even once. In any case, any new computer equipped with a DVD writer and running Windows XP should be up to what you require of it. However, you have no idea where the problem lies, and, once it is sorted out, if it will be covered by the warranty. Most warranties only cover hardware failures and problems, and, generally speaking, hardware either works or it doesn't. Software can be problematic, but most of the time bugs are cured by patches supplied as downloads from the manufacturer's site.
To eliminate the software you're using, I would try different DVD-burning software. Try the excellent CDBurnerXP from http://cdburnerxp.se/.
Your warranty almost certainly doesn't cover the setup, configuration, and use of the computer. If you haven't set up or configured its software properly, that is your problem, not the manufacturer's. All you can do is ask the advice of a knowledgeable friend or associate, read the manuals concerned, ask at computer forums, such as this one - http://windowssecrets.com/forums/ - and newsgroups, and you can use a web search engine to search for information.
If trying different DVD-burning software doesn't work, and you do agree to the manufacturer's terms and the problem turns out to be software-related, you will have to pay the charge.
Make sure that you keep the packaging the PC came in if you have a RTB or C&R warranty, because the company providing the service will probably ask you to return it in its original packaging. If you send it back in what that company considers inadequate packaging, it might refuse to do the repairs on the pretext that the PC was in good order and that the damage occurred in transit due to the inadequate packaging. In short, do everything you can to avoid giving the vendor an excuse to call your right into question.
Moreover, remember that monitors often come with separate three-year warranties, so in case your monitor packs in after the first year, it is worthwhile checking if the monitor come with a separate warranty of its own. Most monitors that are purchased separately come with a three-year RTB or on-site warranty, as do hard disk drives.
For me, the biggest downside of buying a proprietary make of computer (from a company with a famous brand name such HP, Compaq, Dell, etc.) is that you will not usually be able to choose any of the components, or will only be able to choose from a limited list of components.
The case for building your own PC is growing in your favour all the time. All you have to do is do a bit of reading in computer magazines, or on hardware websites to become knowledgeable about the components of a PC. You will then have at least a year's guarantee on the individual parts, with three-year warranties for hard disk drives and monitors.
Good advice is never to purchase components such as a monitor or hard disk drive by mail order unless you know what the return policy is. If you purchase a monitor from a local vendor, it will be far easier to return it to a local store. Mail-order companies might make you pay for carriage one or both ways. Not cheap for that much weight, so it would be cheaper to pay the extra amount that a local dealer is likely to charge for a monitor compared to the mail-order price.
Always remember that you should read the conditions of sale and return before you make a purchase - no matter what the source is.
If you want to read up on how to build your own PC on this website click Build. The article contains the links to some other articles on the subject, and you'll be able to find many more by using a web search engine. Each article will contain information that has been overlooked by the others, so read as many as you can before you attempt to build a PC on your own.
On some new Dell PCs, you are given the option of reducing the warranty to a 90-day collect-and-return. I know that if you select this option you are agreeing to buy a PC that only has a 90-day warranty, but is there any overriding UK consumer-protection law that states that the manufacturer must cover any product for 12 months?
As you said, such a computer comes with a 12-month warranty as standard and you have to select the 90-day C&&R warranty in order to pay less for the machine. In doing so, you therefore forfeit your right to the 12 months warranty, because the 90-day C&R warranty is what you signed and paid for. You can't expect Dell to honour a service that you elected to forfeit in order to reduce the cost of the purchase.
Computer manufacturers car render warranties void if the owner installs unsupported software and/or hardware in a system under warranty.
Installing an unsupported operating system, application, or utility, such as Partition Magic, will render the warranty void if doing so is prohibited in the warranty agreement. You should therefore always read it before you buy the computer in the first place - and especially if you want to make changes to the system. Even adding extra RAM could render the warranty void.
A good way to get around this limitation of your freedom to use your computer as you please is to make a copy of the initial installation on a recordable CD or DVD disk. Then you will be in a position to restore the system to its original state should something go wrong that requires you to use the warranty to have it put right.
If a service technician, honouring an on-site warranty, finds that the system has been illegally altered, he or she can refuse to work on the computer.
If something goes wrong with the system that renders it unbootable and you have added hardware and/or software prohibited by the warranty, you will have to make use of a repair service to get it up and running so that you can restore the system to its original state before exercising your right to support under the warranty. If that repair job puts right what was wrong you will not have to use the warranty. Just make sure that the system is in its original condition before using the warranty, otherwise you could be wasting a lot of time in trying to make use of a warranty that you have rendered void.
If you don't want to invest in a CD or DVD recorder, another good way to preserve the original system files is to purchase and install a second hard disk drive large enough to contain all of them - preferably installed on the secondary IDE channel. If it is removable all the better. For most systems, a 2GB drive will suffice, but if you have a larger installation install a hard disk drive that will accommodate it. You can then use the free XXCopy program to create a clone of the system on the second drive. If something incurable goes wrong with the software on the primary drive, you can make the second disk the primary boot disk by setting it as the master drive on the primary IDE channel. Remember that if two drives are installed on a single cable, one must be set as the master and the other must be set as the slave. Usually the setting is done by placing a jumper in the correct position on the drive itself.- Unless the Cable Select option is employed, which uses a special cable that allows the drive's position on the cable to configure it automatically.
If you get an "Invalid system disk" message when you try to boot the cloned drive, boot from a Windows boot disk, and enter the command sys c: at the A:\> prompt. This will transfer the three system files to the system - msdos.sys, command.com, and the io.sys files - the last of which is required to boot the system. If that doesn't work enter FDISK, allow the large disk support option to run, and use the FDISK option that makes the primary boot disk active. If the master boot record (MBR) is faulty, entering the command fdisk /mbr will rectify the situation. A start-up disk (boot floppy disk) contains the three system files and a copy of the FDISK utility.
You can then reformat the original drive and create a clone of the clone on it. Then install the original drive as the primary boot drive, and you will have the system in its original condition. If you were unable to make a copy of the system as it was when the trouble occurred, and you made no restorable back-ups, you will of course lose all of the software and data that you added to the system before it went wrong. Also remember to remove any additional hardware you added before a technician visits, or before you send the computer in for repairs.
Note well that the same kind of thing is also happening with hardware components.
Just say you have bought a retail (not OEM) hard disk drive that fails within its guarantee/warranty period, and a message from the system's BIOS saying "Primary Hard Disk Failure" comes up to signal this. When you send the drive back to the manufacturer for a replacement, if the company has no intention of replacing it, you will probably be ignored until you query the matter. Then you will probably be informed that your claim has been rejected because, say, a 'broken connector' was found on the drive. You know that you sent it back in the proper packaging and that there was nothing broken on the drive, so the only way you will be able to prove that is if you had a respected third party examine the drive before you despatched it.
The best way to avoid this kind of nonsense is to buy OEM hardware that is supported by a local vendor instead of the manufacturer. You can then return faulty hardware in person.
While searching for a computer at a bargain price, I came across one being sold by someone from a well-known auction site. His shop on the auction site linked to his website. There was a complete system described as new being offered for sale on the site. I agreed to buy it and paid by cheque. When it arrived about four weeks later, very few of the advertised hardware and software specifications were met, and there was personal data on the hard disk drive, suggesting to me that the whole system was second-hand, because the hard disk drive definitely was. A few boots later, the computer gave up the ghost in a puff of smoke. I e-mailed the seller with my complaints. He replied that if I had read the small print on his website I would know that he had reserved the right to change the specifications, and if I looked at the invoice that came with the computer I would see that it stated that "No warranty is given, implied or otherwise." Can you tell me what my rights in this case?
The fact that the seller has a shop on an auction site and his own e-commerce website means that anything he sells is covered by the Sale of Goods Act in the UK. He cannot claim to be selling as an individual whose sales are not covered by the act. This means that the goods have to be of satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose for which they were purchased, which is not the case.
You appear to have rejected the computer in writing within seven working days, and to have exercised your rights of rejection under The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations 2000. Therefore, you are entitled to a full refund, and he is entitled to have his goods returned.
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 contains some very useful legislation that governs the rejection or return of goods purchased over the telephone or on the Internet. See it here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made
He cannot use any of the excuses mentioned, because it is a criminal offence for a seller who sells in the course of business to limit or exclude an individual's statutory rights under the UK's consumer protection legislation. There is no need to have a warranty. If the goods aren't fit for the purpose for which they were purchased, the buyer has a right to a full refund or the replacement of the goods with fit alternatives. This seller is unlikely to be in a position or even feeling inclined to supply you with the goods as they were advertised, so you are entitled to a full refund.
In any case, the seller misrepresented the computer's specifications and stated that it was new when it contained a used component. He could argue that only the hard disk drive was second-hand, but he would still have to provide you with a new one along with the rest of the software and hardware components that you ordered.
Moreover, a finding of misrepresentation by a normal court of law normally results in the contract being rescinded, and the contracted parties being returned to the positions they occupied before the sale took place.
Your local Trading Standards department can take enforcement action if the seller has breached the Distance Selling regulations, which he has done by attempting to exclude your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act. But, any action it takes is unlikely to be quick, because it is an underfunded government department, so you should also investigate the possibility of taking Small Claims Court action to recover your money. There are links to information on the procedure to be taken further down this page.
You can do some inexpensive research into whether it would be possible to take Small Claims Court action. This is necessary, because if the court can't serve an order on him in person, it can't enforce it.
For £2, your local Land Registry will conduct a check on the seller's address to determine if he owns the property. If he owns the property, he isn't likely to do a midnight flit, and a court order can be served on him.
You can also contact your bank to obtain the full details of the account into which your cheque was paid. That includes the branch and the account number. If you win your Small Claims Court case, you can ask the court for a Third Party Debt Order. This forces the debtor's (the seller's) bank into handing over the required payment from the debtor's account.
If you want more information on Third Party Debt Orders, enter the term as the search query in a search engine.
You purchased a new computer from a well-known retail outlet. From the start it has been plagued with problems. The mouse did not work, the keyboard failed, and when you tried to send a fax by using the internal fax modem, the entire system locked up, and could only be recovered by using the Recovery CD. When you called the company, its representative asked if you would be willing to install a replacement modem if one was delivered to you. You declined because you have no more idea of how to do that than you have of servicing your car, and also because the computer is under warranty.
You asked for a technician to call in person to fix it, as is your right under the terms of the warranty. According to those terms, you should have been given an appointment with a technician within 48 hours, but 24 hours later you were telephoned and someone said that the case was under consideration but that the company as yet had no idea when a technician would be able to pay a visit. You therefore gave the retail store seven working days to restore the computer to a condition in which it could be used for the purpose for which it was bought, or take it back and refund the purchase price in full.
This transaction is a simple contract under UK law; a contract which will have a certain number of implied terms incorporated into it by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
You should have read the terms of the warranty very carefully before you made the purchase, because a telephone call from the warranty's provider saying that the company is considering your case may well satisfy the definition of a "next-day response", even though no effective action took place.
Under these commercial laws, the computer must be of the kind of "satisfactory quality" that a reasonable person would expect it to be. No reasonable person could describe this very problematic computer as being of satisfactory quality. As such, and since the purchase is still under warranty, you are fully entitled to reject it and demand a full refund.
If you purchased an extended warranty, you can also claim a full refund of the cost of it.
You took the correct action in refusing to replace the modem the company intended to send you, because without written permission from the company allowing you to do so, it is almost certain that you would have rendered the warranty and any extended warranty void by opening the case and doing any repair work yourself.
The appalling service you have received after buying a personal computer has been compounded by a total lack of support from your credit card company.
The computer came with an onsite warranty, but having made over a hundred pleas for help, you have not succeeded in getting the company that sold you the computer to send a technician to fix it. You have logged the calls and saved the e-mails you sent, so the company hasn't been able to dispute the extent to which you have gone to get it to honour its warranty. You then wrote to your credit-card company asking it to get the problem sorted out with the vendor company, or for the purchase price to be credited to your credit-card account, with the collection of the computer being the responsibility of the vendor.
The credit-card company asked for the relevant information, but did not process your claim because of reasons its representatives said could not be disclosed because it would be a co-defendant if you took the case to court.
So you took the case to court and won the case using the same information you gave to the credit-card company. Now you would like to know why you had to go through all of that over nine months before you obtained a refund from the credit-card company.
You did exactly what you should have done in pursuance of your claim for restitution.
Few people are aware that under the UK's Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, a credit card company can be as liable as the supplier for any breach of contract or misrepresentation, provided that the transaction was charged to your credit-card account, and the value of the goods exceeds £100 but is not more than £30,000, Therefore, the aggrieved consumer has the right to pursue either the vendor or the credit card company for redress.
In addition to Section 75, the credit-card companies run a refund program known as chargeback under the Visa and Mastercard rules. However, there are strict time limits imposed for making a claim. If a refund is not available under the chargeback scheme, most of the credit-card companies have a special Section 75 Claim Pack, that is available on request.
Your credit-card company took no action because, oblivious of the negative public relations, it clearly wanted you to force the issue all the way in the hope that you would abandon the case, as many claimants do. The vendor is signed up with the credit-card company, so the refund would simply have been deducted from the claims put it puts in to the credit-card company for purchases.
All the same, having to wait nine months for restitution in court in an open and shut case would no doubt amount to "unreasonable conduct" in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. If the judge at the final hearing came to the conclusion that there had been unreasonable behaviour, then that judge has the discretion to penalise the guilty party in costs and interest.
If I use an ink refill kit for my inkjet printer, are the sales personnel correct in stating that doing so will render my warranty void?
The current retail price for an Epson or HP entry-level inkjet printer is around £49.99, and the cost of the replacement ink cartridges (black and multi-colour combined) is almost as much. So, hardly any savings are made if you replace the cartridges instead of just buying a brand new printer that comes with new ink cartridges.
The printer manufacturers are obviously depending on purchasers buying several replacement cartridges over the useful life of these artificially inexpensive printers to make up for the actual cost of manufacturing, in the same way that Microsoft is depending on gamers buying plenty of games to help pay for the actual cost of its XBox gaming consoles.
This is what HP has posted on its site: "Using refilled print cartridges alone does not affect either the warranty or any maintenance contract purchased from HP for its HP Inkjet printers. However, if an HP Inkjet printer fails or is damaged because you used a modified or refilled HP Inkjet print cartridge, the repair will not be covered under the warranty or by the maintenance contract. Damage resulting from the modification or refilling of HP cartridges is specifically excluded from coverage in HP printer warranties."
This wording is specifically designed to comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act which was passed by the US Congress in 1975. The Act does not allow warranty exclusion based purely on the use of third-party consumables.
Therefore, if you damage the printer while attempting to use third-party cartridges or by using refilled cartridges, the damage is not covered under warranty, but if you're able to use third-party cartridges or refill and replace the cartridges successfully, the warranty should not be affected.
Therefore, the smart critter will either just buy a new "cheap" printer if it goes wrong when trying to use third-party cartridges or a refill kit, or he won't ever take or send the printer in for service with modified inkjet cartridges installed in it.
I've used inkjet refill kits myself many times, and apart from the mess that can result during the refilling process, they work just fine. I've also used third-party cartridges successfully many times. Inkjet print heads do wear out eventually, so you can only refill a cartridge so many times before it becomes unusable.
Note that Epson and HP printers use cartridges that have the print head built into them, but new inkjet printers made by Canon have the print head built into the printer, thereby making the cartridges cheaper.
In any case, if you use a refill kit, don't wait until the ink runs out before you refill it, because some cartridges need to have some ink in them to keep working, and may not start printing with the new ink if they were allowed to run dry.
Click here! to visit the page on this site that deals with printers.
If you prefer a third professional party to do your complaining and obtain redress from businesses and individuals for you, then try signing up with principlematters.com.
Here is how the site describes itself: "The principle does matter and so does compensation. As the UK's premier complaint handling service, we offer a comprehensive facility that deals with your issue from initial investigation through to resolution. We have a successful track record, down the years, in negotiating more than fair redress." - principlematters.com
There is a limit on the size of claim you can pursue in an action through a Small Claims Court, but it is often within the limit if you are trying to force a computer vendor to restore a computer to proper working order, or even to restore it to the same state it was in when you purchased it, because it is not uncommon for a computer to be sent in for repairs and to be returned in a damaged state - and still not working.
For this reason, it is advisable to have witnesses examine the computer, and then take photographs of the back, front, and inside of the case and monitor (if it is also returned) before you send it in for repairs. It is also a good idea to place small marks on the motherboard, PCI and AGP cards, and RAM modules, by using, say, Typex, to ensure that the same ones are returned, because it is not uncommon for high-spec cards to be replaced with lower-spec ones by service personnel.
Visit the following pages to check the pre-litigation protocols to see what steps are required to be taken before issuing legal proceedings:
If legal action is being contemplated against a limited company, check to make sure that the company isn't already in liquidation and obtain confirmation of the company's registered address:
If legal action is being contemplated against an individual, check to make sure that he or she hasn't already been declared bankrupt by downloading and completing a K15 Land Charges Search application:
If you want to find out if the defendant has any outstanding county court judgements against his or her name, contact the Registry Trust, 173-175, Cleveland Street, London, W1T 6QR.
You can also find out if an individual owns a particular property. Fly-by-night dealers usually rent property, so if the individual owns the trading property, that's a good sign that you'll be able to get your money back. Go here to do that - http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/online-services.
Here is a useful Small Claims Court site in the UK. -
You can use a s earch engine to find relevant sites in the US and others in the UK.
The vendor or retailer may have a different company name than its trading name, or may be the subsidiary company of a much larger controlling company. In the UK, to find out what concern you're dealing with, visit the site of Companies House:
You may have doubts about whether or not a vendor has supplied you with legal, licensed software. If you suspect that you have been supplied with illegal or unlicensed software, you can make enquiries, or report the company concerned to an anti-piracy body such as the one at this site: http://www.bsa.org/.
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 contains some very useful legislation that governs the rejection or return of goods purchased over the telephone or on the Internet. See it here: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/.