PC warranties: What the different kinds of warranty offer the purchasers of PCs and computer components
This section of this website is a multi-page article 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.
- – This page: Introduction to PC warranties
- – The warranties of PC components and peripherals
- – PC Warranties: Checklist and other considerations
- – Extended warranties
- – Taking legal action against a seller or manufacturer and other considerations
Introduction to PC warranties
PC 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.
Statutory two-years warranties
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).” –
The claimant mentioned in the forum thread linked to above used this online claim court:
UK Distance Selling Regulations
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 PC manufacturer’s warranty
The statutory PC manufacturer’s warranty – usually but not always – 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? [Dec 2009 but still valid] –
On Site, RTB (Return to Base), or C&R (Carriage and Return) warranties
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 that 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.