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 overrules a warranty set by a manufacturer.
Consumer protection provided by the UK Consumer Rights Act and the Sale of Goods Act
When credit card payment protection fails the purchaser due to a payment processing loophole
- – 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
The laws governing statutory warranties and extended warranties vary from country to country. For that reason, always make sure that you obtain information that is valid for your country. The UK used to be a member of the EU, but that is no longer the case, so EU consumer-rights law is no longer applied in the UK.
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.
Note that warranties can be changed or challenged. For example, it was found that Amazon UK warranties when the goods have been found to be fake. 90 days is not long enough for many goods to fail and turn out to be fake. Amazon refused to give a refund over 90 days after the purchase of a fake desktop PC hard disk drive, stating that the drive was returned after its 90-day limit. Amazon issued the purchaser a refund after the Daily Mail’s investigator brought the issue to its attention.
UK website – What protection am I given by a warranty on goods which I have purchased? –
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 up to September 30, 2015, which, of course, depends on the product and therefore varies from product to product. On October 1, 2015 the Consumer Rights Act replaced the Sale of Goods Act. Links to Which? guides on both of those Acts are provided at the top of this article.