MANILA, Philippines - What is a warranty? And what are consumers entitled to in terms of product warranty?
|Consumers should check the product warranty offered before buying certain products such as appliances. (File photo)
A warranty, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a usually written guarantee of the integrity of a product and of the maker's responsibility for the repair or replacement of defective parts”.
Simply put, by issuing a warranty, a seller says the product will function as claimed, and if not, the seller will repair or replace defective parts.
On the morning TV show "Mornings@ANC", Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Director for Bureau of Trade and Regulation and Consumer Protection Atty. Victorio Dimagiba explained that consumers should not be confused with the types of warranty available. He said there are only two types of warranties that are honored in the Philippines--the express and the implied.
According to him, the express warranty indicates the exact terms, date, and time of warranty (example: January 2011). The implied warranty has a generic time frame of warranty (example: 6 months warranty).
Dimagiba added that the basic warranty as stated by Philippine law is set to a minimum time frame of six months and a maximum time frame of one year.
In order to avail of the warranty, a consumer must present an original receipt, a sticker label with a serial number of the product, or a warranty card, especially when it comes to gadgets like computers and cellphones.
3 basic consumer rights
Dimagiba also reiterated that consumers must be aware of their 3 basic consumer rights that he calls 3Rs: Right to Repair, Right to seek Replacement and Right to Refund.
He said that international warranties are honored in the Philippines. As long as the product is brand new and original, consumers with defective products can go to the nearest authorized selling center for repair or replacement.
On the other hand, products from tiangge or similar establishments which do not issue official receipts do not come with warranty service. However, Dimagiba said that inevitable disputes with such businesses can be easily settled through proper mediation.
He also revealed there's such a thing as in-house warranties (example: 7-day warranty) offered by companies. He said this type of warranty is an independent service given by a company out of generosity.
As explained, in-house warranties give consumers 7 days to return a product for whatever reason. However, this guarantee causes confusion as it misleads the public from the law-imposed warranties.
Dimagiba said that DTI already released an order to the companies to remove the in-house policies.
Protecting consumers' rights
The director said that DTI is for promoting consumers’ rights and welfare while at the same time protecting the interests of the business sector.
He said that the public will always find an ally in DTI by reaching its 24-hour service call centers. They will also open soon an online complaint hotline.
“The agency is ready not just to negotiate but also to mediate to help protect consumers' rights,” said Dimagiba.
He also shared the 7 things consumers should look for with regard to express warranties:
1. What the warrantor will do in the event of a defect, malfunction or failure to conform to the written warranty and at whose expense
2. What the consumer must do to avail of the rights which accrue to the warranty
3. Designation of warranties, whether full warranty or limited warranty
4. Duration of warranty
5. Business name and address of the warrantor
6. Name and address of the person to whom the warranty is extended, if the warranty is not transferable
7. Consumer products or parts thereof, or consumer service covered by the warranty.
For questions and complaints, contact DTI’s hotline 751-3330.