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  1. #1
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
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    Exclamation Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Some months back a question was asked in relation to LTWs (relating to RAM if I recall correctly).

    I wrote to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs as follows:


    I have a simple question that may well have a complex answer:

    How does Consumer Affairs interpret a "Lifetime Warranty" when such is offered by a manufacturer or supplier. Is it a fair working life as judged across a range of similar products, is it what the manufacturer deems to be a lifetime i.e. an arbitrary "change of product" cycle, or is it the period that the purchaser might reasonably expect the product to remain in service?

    Most options seem to leave all power and discretion in the hands of the manufacturer or supplier.


    After a long wait and a chase-up email, I received the following reply:

    In regards to your question, a lifetime warranty should cover a product for its lifetime. The purchaser might reasonably expect the product to remain in service based on a fair working life as judged across a range of similar products as you have stated below.

    That pretty much sums it up, so a lifetime warranty for RAM would be based on a normal electronic component lifetime and therefore could reasonably be expected to exceed its normal obsolescence lifetime. On that basis I would expect the warranty to be honoured for at least 5 years, and even 10 years would not be unreasonable.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  2. #2
    In the PF1 Matrix Morpheus1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Good one, Billy.

    _ _ . . .

    . . . _ _

  3. #3
    Senior Member pctek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy T View Post
    Some months back a question was asked in relation to LTWs (relating to RAM if I recall correctly).
    I've said this before.

    Lifetime means product lifetime, or lifespan.
    That varies depending on the manufacturer and type of product.
    Legend RAM is 5 years for L series, 3 years for T series and 5 years for Flash RAM.

    Kingston is 8 years. It doesn't actually say that on their website, for certain countries it gives 10 years but depends. So I emailed them and insisted on an actual time period for NZ.
    8 years.

  4. #4
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Quote Originally Posted by pctek View Post
    I've said this before.

    Lifetime means product lifetime, or lifespan.
    That varies depending on the manufacturer and type of product.
    Sorry pctek, you are completely wrong on that, reread my letter and the MCA reply which largely uses my own words.

    The warranty period is not dictated by the product lifetime or lifespan, and it cannot be determined by the manufacturers' viewpoint at all. It must be assessed on the basis of the period of time a purchaser might reasonably expect the product to remain in service based on a fair working life as judged across a range of similar products.

    Under these criteria it is not limited to the products of that manufacturer, or even to RAM alone. So, if the manufacturer has a product life-cycle of 3 years, but electronic components of a similar nature have a working lifetime of 10 years, then you can expect and are entitled to a warranty replacement for any RAM that fails in, say, less than 5-6 years, allowing that after that period obsolescence will have probably have removed it from service, faulty or not. Longer periods may apply for warranties of 8 years etc as you have indicated, but undefined "lifetime" warranties are what we are talking about here.

    I regularly approach suppliers for out of warranty failures of various items and can't remember when I last failed to get a replacement or suitable compensation.

    There are only three rules:

    1) Know your rights under consumer law.

    2) Be polite and reasonable.

    3) Don't give up.


    You don't ask, you don't get.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Last edited by Billy T; 07-06-2007 at 04:03 PM.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  5. #5
    Senior Member pctek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Uhuh.
    And you might force the retailer or even the wholesaler to co-operate but you sure won't get the manufacturer to agree.
    They give what they say is the products lifetime.

    In my opinion the quality manufacturers at least as far as PC components go, provide long enough. After that no-one cares because its obsolete anyway.

  6. #6
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Quote Originally Posted by pctek View Post
    Uhuh.
    And you might force the retailer or even the wholesaler to co-operate but you sure won't get the manufacturer to agree. They give what they say is the products lifetime.
    Jeez you're a bit wet sometimes pctek, the Southern UV must be frying your grey matter.

    You don't have to force a retailer to do anything, you simply require them to meet their obligations under the laws of New Zealand. What's so horrendous about that, and why would you argue with it?

    It doesn't matter a toss what the manufacturer thinks either, the contract for sale and purchase is between the customer and the retailer. If the retailer wants to do business here in NZ they have to abide by the law of the land, and that includes you if you are selling products to customers. If that gives you a problem because of poor product quality, then take it up with your wholesaler, or build a contingency margin into your pricing.

    The market you espouse is one where a man dying of thirst in the desert would refuse to buy water from the sole water carrier, but it wouldn't matter anyway because if he did ask, the water carrier would refuse to sell it to him.

    Pig-headedness on both sides and both parties lose.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  7. #7
    Pedant and proud of it
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    What about this argument?

    I buy an item. It has a manufacturer's guarantee of 2 years. That's his standard guarantee, used all over the world. If I buy the thing in the US , use it there, and it fails in 3 years. Tough. I buy another. I buy the same thing in NZ and use it here. It fails in three years. I've had the use of it for three years. If it can't be fixed, does the retailer have to provide me with a brand new replacement?

    I have a suspicion that there are a lot of worms in this law. I doubt if the department would send someone to a court to state that "opinion" quoted in Billys first posting.

  8. #8
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham L View Post
    What about this argument?

    I buy an item. It has a manufacturer's guarantee of 2 years. That's his standard guarantee, used all over the world. If I buy the thing in the US , use it there, and it fails in 3 years. Tough. I buy another. I buy the same thing in NZ and use it here. It fails in three years. I've had the use of it for three years. If it can't be fixed, does the retailer have to provide me with a brand new replacement?
    If it has a reasonable life expectancy that is greater than three years, and by that I don't mean "4 years if you are lucky" then under the CGA the supplier must repair it, replace it, or compensate you for your loss.

    Why do people argue so vehemently against legislation that was put in place to protect their rights and stem the excesses of rapacious retailers? The latter are a minority one would hope.

    If you pay for something that should last 5 years of normal use and it dies in two, one year out of warranty, have you not suffered a financial loss? Is it not reasonable to expect the retailer to assist you in recovering that loss? Further, do you not think that retailers factor warranty costs into their selling prices? Of course they do. Some I know of keep a small stock of products to give as replacements for items they know cannot be economically repaired.

    I worked in the appliance service industry for many years and was associated with it at a governance level for many more years. I know how it works, and the CGA is ignored by so many consumers that you can hardly call it a burden on the retail industry. Only informed, aware, and ball carrying consumers bother to follow through on their rights. The rest toss their losses on the inorganic and buy another.

    I always follow through and find the retailers to be courteous and helpful, and because I am treated well, they get my continued custom, and referrals, so we both win.


    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)

    Edit: And you don't go to Court over these matters, the Disputes Tribunal is more than adequate to deal with warranty issues.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  9. #9
    In the PF1 Matrix Morpheus1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy T View Post
    I always follow through and find the retailers to be courteous and helpful, and because I am treated well, they get my continued custom, and referrals, so we both win.
    My bro in law came over this evening and I told him about this thread. He is manager of a large store that sells appliances (among other things). He says that he regularly helps customers who have items that failed after the warranty period - and by help he means a replacement or repair of the item at no cost to the customer. He says its good business to keep customers happy like this, and that the manufacturers comply (he / his store does not have to pay). I will not name the store or even the location but I can say that it is not The Warehouse and the type of customers he gets are not riff raff who would try to cheat him/his store. Like what Billy T says about being courteous and helpful: if this is done by both the customer and manager, usually everyone wins.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lifetime Warranties, the MCA position:

    There is a big difference between computer parts sold through a myriad of online resellers and appliances. The appliance manufacturers/distributors need a good relationship with large stores with floor space.

    Computer parts can be supplied to the importer by the overseas manufacturer with 1 or 2% extra for warranty replacement and as far as they are concerned that is it. Your chances of a good outcome will probably depend on the resources of the retailer. It could be a drawn out battle if your retailer doesn't do much business with the wholesaler.

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