List of the main disadvantages of commercial warranties
The ECC-Net, based on its case-handling experience and the checks performed online and offline, has drawn up a list of the main disadvantages of commercial warranties.
- In some cases, consumers request application of the producer’s commercial warranty, but after having examined the item, and sometimes even after a repair, the producer refuses. The consumer then has to request application of the legal guarantee. In such cases, this is often refused by the seller as an intervention on the item has already been performed. Alternatively, the seller, who will in any case have sent the item back to the producer for repair, refuses application of the legal guarantee because the producer has already refused to apply the warranty.
- The prescription period under the legal guarantee might expire while the consumer is trying to obtain application of the commercial warranty, as this might not cause a suspension of the legal guarantee period.
- Commercial warranties often contain a geographical limitation and therefore might not be useful for cross-border purchases.
- The contents of a commercial warranty might not be the same in different Member States, making it difficult for a consumer to obtain application of a foreign commercial warranty in his/her home country if the warranty offered in that country is more restrictive.
- The remedies the guarantor is ready to provide might be limited: repair only, no replacement, numerous repairs prior to replacement/refund, etc.
- If a repair is impossible, the guarantor might only reimburse the residual value of the item and maybe only as a voucher.
- In some cases, excessive evidence is requested from the consumer before the commercial warranty is applied (e.g. proof of physical injury if a phone was broken during an attempted theft, proof of a manufacturing defect), or the consumer has to meet specific conditions, such as provision of an expert opinion regarding a defect at his/her own expense.
But not every commercial warranty keeps its promises
During the study led by ECC Belgium, the 34.7% of respondents who were not satisfied with the application of their commercial warranty gave reasons including numerous exclusions, inefficiency (long delays, no answer from the seller, etc.), overlaps with other contracts (protection via a credit card, for example), and cost-benefit calculations. Commercial warranties might also overlap with other insurance policies a consumer might have.