Know Your Rights

In working with some of the largest and most reputable manufacturers and retailers in the world, we come across some cases where there is confusion regarding what customers can expect to have covered by the manufacturer, retailer or insurer, and what they need to pay for.

This article is meant to explain these responsibilities and our observations as a repairer.  However, note that this is not a legally reviewed commentary and should not be considered as over-riding manufacturers’ or other parties’ policies or the law.  These following resources should be referred to for any definitive information:

Consumer Guarantees Act

Fair Trading Act

Manufacturers’ warranty policy documentation

Consumer.org

First and Foremost:  Always purchase electronic products from reputable manufacturers and retailers

In our experience reputable companies are much more willing to assist their customers than companies who sell their products at the cheapest possible price.  Often quality brands don’t cost much more than inferior ones, but the service they offer is vastly better.

Buying local is a good idea as it means you can deal with the company directly, and they are generally more willing to assist.  New Zealand laws generally only apply to companies operating in NZ.

The brands that Service Plus supports are the best in the business and they offer top notch service.

Consumer Guarantees Act (and other NZ law)

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) is the base level of consumer rights that you can expect if you purchase goods in New Zealand.  However, you must be a Consumer as defined by the law (generally doesn’t cover if you bought the product under a business (non-Consumer) name).

The CGA does not apply to goods purchased overseas (e.g. online).  Buying online overseas = no CGA | Buying from New Zealand = CGA

There’s plenty of information on the Consumer.org website, and a copy of the Act here.

If you have a dispute under the CGA and you are not satisfied with remedies that have been offered by the Retailer, Manufacturer, or Service Provider you can make a complaint to the Disputes Tribunal.  We recommend consumers exhaust all other avenues before escalating to the Disputes Tribunal, though, because there is a cost to lodge a claim and there is also a delay before the hearing is scheduled (which can be an issue if, say, your laptop is out of action and you use it for studies).

One thing to be aware of regarding the CGA is that none of the cases set a precedent so there is no definitive information about how long a product should last and what is covered.  All claims are handled on a “case by case” basis.

Manufacturers’ warranty

The manufacturers’ warranty (sometimes referred to as an express warranty) is usually a written (or available via internet) warranty that is included with your product when you purchase it.  Manufacturer’s also offer additional warranties (at extra cost) to extend the warranty timeframe or what the warranty covers (e.g. Onsite service).  The warranty terms are additional to the CGA, they do not replace or bypass your CGA rights.

Third party warranty (extended warranty)

Third party warranties are usually provided by an insurance organisation and are often sold by retailers as an add-on at the time a product is purchased.  Again, these warranties do not replace or bypass your CGA or Fair Trading rights.

If you have a claim under a third party warranty, you should log the incident with the warranty provider (you should have received a copy of the policy when you purchased the warranty which includes contact information).  The warranty provider will then direct you to a repairer, however please note that if you are not comfortable with the quality of the repairer, you should raise this with your provider and request an alternative.   We see many cases where non-approved repairs are done on sensitive electronic products – this voids any comeback on the manufacturer or retailer.  If a non-approved repairer re-solders your laptop motherboard, for instance, there is a high likelihood that the repair will fail again in future and there is also the probability that further damage will be caused by the heat of the solder.

Also, non-approved repairers usually don’t use genuine parts in their repairs, so the repaired product may not be up to the standard that you should expect.

Service Plus works with all the major third party warranty providers so feel free to request that we do the repair when you log your case with the Warranty Provider.

Insurance

Service Plus works with many insurance companies to provide repairs in cases where physical damage has occurred (e.g drop damage or a liquid spill).  Usually an excess is payable by the customer in these cases.

Please be aware that House and Contents doesn’t cover goods used in all circumstances (e.g. business or school use) so you may need to have additional cover or a clause included in your policy to ensure your precious electronics are covered.

Also note that neither insurance nor warranty cover fair wear and tear type issues (e.g. scratches or worn keyboards).

If you have a claim under a third party warranty, you should log the incident with the insurer.  The insurer will then direct you to a repairer, however please note that it is recommended that the repair is performed by an approved service provider.  We see a number of cases where non-approved repairs are done on sensitive electronic products which voids any comeback on the manufacturer or retailer.  If a non-approved repairer fits a non-genuine part, for instance, there may be more likelihood of future failure and the manufacturer may decline service due to the unapproved repair.

Service Plus works with all insurance companies so we recommend you tell the insurer that you want Service Plus to do the repair at the time of logging the claim.