Know under which situations your warranty will work and under which it will not
Festivals like Diwali and Christmas have both become associated with shopping mania. Discounts and deal are tied around them. Right from smartphones to iron and grinders to cars, there seems is a promotional offer for everything, both online as well as offline.
Ashita Aggarwal, professor, marketing and chairperson PGMPW at SPJIMR says, "This is one time of the year customers are less evaluative."
One of the important features of a consumer product evaluation is the warranty the manufacturer offers. If all goes well, your product will work smoothly, but if for some reason it doesn't work smoothly, don't just assume you will get it repaired or replaced just because you have a warranty. To avoid ugly shocks later, keep these things in mind while buying a consumer product this Diwali.
It is naive to believe what the shopkeeper or online sellers say about the warranty. Very rarely will the warranty say that the product will be replaced with no questions asked? Aggarwal says, "Customers should look into terms and conditions. Where the warranty is not a product replacement, it's basically subject conditions. So reading between the lines becomes extremely important, to know what are they terming as warranty."
For instance, there are certain conditions when the warranty becomes void. Sandeep Shah, partner, N A Shah Associates LLP says, "The warranty will become void if the equipment has been opened by a non-authorised agency. Many types of equipment like camera, etc requires specialised equipment to open the pneumatically sealed lenses and any manual efforts to open such a lense will be immediately determined by the seller and the warranty will fail. Similarly, installation of wrong types of batteries (there is equipment for which rechargeable batteries are not advised or some specific type/ make of batteries are advised) and sometimes due to leakage the circuit spoils and this may result in warranty being void."
When you get the warranty card make sure it is properly stamped by the seller. If you are buying online, often you get a warranty card without any stamp, this might cost you dearly. Shah says, "Manufacturer’s warranty in case of vehicles, some electronic items like air conditioner, fridge, water heaters, etc, requires that warranty card is stamped by the seller. One copy of the card is registered with the manufacturer as the warranty period starts from the date on which the goods have been sold by the dealer." So make sure that the warranty card has the stamp, dealer's signature and date of purchase clearly mentioned on it.
Discounts that you get online look mouth-watering, as compared to those you get at a store. But when it comes to buying online you have to be careful, even when warranties go.
Muneer Ahmad, business head, ViewSonic India says, "Some warranties are country-specific and not global. If you buy online and the seller has got the product from another country, then the product may not be cover under warranty in India. " In fact, in such a case, you will have to buy a separate warranty here, which might defeat the purpose of a lower online cost. So make sure to know the geographic location the warranty covers, especially when you buy an item online.
Another thing to keep in mind while buying online is to know who the seller is. Aggarwal says, "For online, customers should definitely be looking at the seller, if it's fulfilled by Amazon, then it becomes the responsibility of Amazon to replace the product or help the customer regarding the issue. If it's fulfilled by a third party seller then you can't even replace at sometimes. We have seen when it comes to online, price assumes paramount importance and not many see who the seller is."
Many consumer durable companies do not give customer support when the product is bought online. Aggarwal says, "To make their product appealing they may say extended warranty or give an MRP discount, but if you read through, you will see there is no customer support extended for online purchases. That's also how sellers distinguish a low price online v/s a high price offline. Probably a customer support is much more important than an extended warranty."
This is a prolonged warranty offered to consumers in addition to the standard warranty on new items, which is either thrown in free to make the value proposition better or comes at a small additional cost.
Aggarwal says," From a company's point-of-view, extended warranty is a way to give a larger value without cutting the price and hence diluting the brand image. For instance, if a Samsung or a Sony does too much price discounting, it will affect their brand equity or brand image. They will give extended warranty to pull in customer, and the customer gets value for money."
You should not let the extended warranty spiel entice you for all items; there are certain products where extended warranties are a good idea.
Ahmad says, "Extended warranties are a good idea for products which have high usage."
But Aggarwal concurs with this view. She says, “If you buy an iron you might replace it in two years or so and buying an extended warranty doesn't make sense. But if you look at high involvement product, which you plan to use for seven to eight years, then buying an extended warranty makes sense."
Another parameter while deciding an extended warranty is the value of a product. Consumer durables can range from something as low as Rs 2,000 for a grinder to Rs 20,00,000 for a car. For low-value products, an extended warranty may not be useful. Taking the former example of an iron, it's pretty easy to replace in a few years, at low cost, and hence doesn't need an extended warranty.
Another parameter to look into is the geographic area you stay in. If you live in a coastal region, it is better to buy an extended warranty, as products tend to get damaged faster as compared to non-coastal areas.
If your products function smoothly, you will never need to use your warranty. But in case you want to use it and find yourself facing a surprise you can always approach a consumer court. However, that won't be a cakewalk either. Shah says, "If the consumer has all details like invoice number and date, mode of payment, the name of seller and address, etc, one could make an attempt to approach consumer court and request the seller to produce relevant details. However, if the consumer has paid cash and not seen the copy of the invoice, it would be difficult to get relief from the court of law. The duplicate copy generated through emails sent by the seller will be a good proof even if original is not available with the consumer, as all details required to make a claim are available in such digital copy."
In short, irrespective of whether you ever approach the court or not, when it comes to shopping make sure you keep all receipts and check your warranty.
Shopping is easy and fun. But it is always good to know whether the warranty only covers parts or parts and labour if it's country-specific, or global. And to know which parts of the equipment are not covered by warranty.