What Can You Do if a Store Won't Honor Your Warranty?
You just bought a shiny new laptop. You even bought the two year extended warranty. But, less than a year later, your computer starts spazzing out. It's not working the way it should. So, you try to get it fixed. The store claims the problem with your computer isn't covered by the warranty, and they won't cover the cost to fix it. Why are you not surprised?
What do you do if the store won't honor a warranty?
Reread the Warranty
The first thing you want to do is reread your warranty to find out exactly what is covered and who is offering the warranty.
Most warranties only cover faulty parts. They won't cover normal wear and tear, tampering, drops, or water damage. If the damage to your product is excluded in the warranty, there's probably nothing you can do. However, if the damage is covered in the warranty, continue to the next step.
Check whose name is on the actual warranty. Sometimes, you may buy a warranty at a store, but the manufacturer is the actual company offering the warranty. If it's the manufacturer's name on the warranty, it wouldn't do you any good to go to the store demanding repairs, or vice versa. Make sure you're going to the correct entity for help.
Send Demand Letters
Most warranty documents are required to state any information about dispute resolution procedures. Try to follow the directions on the warranty.
If that doesn't work, start documenting your complaint. Write and send a demand letter with the terms of your warranty, the issues with your product, and the resolution that you want. If you need to go to a third party for repairs, send your warranty company the receipts, and demand a reimbursement.
If a letter from you doesn't work, a demand letter from an attorney may be enough to get the warranty company moving.
Remember to keep copies of all documents and receipts, in case you need to go to court later.
Sue in Court
If all else fails, sue for damages. A warranty is a contract. When your warranty company refuses to honor the terms of a warranty, you may have a claim for breach of contract. The amount allowed in small claims varies from state to state, but for most products, you can sue in small claims court. If successful, you will likely be able to recover your out-of-pocket cost for repairs and court costs.
If a warranty company won't honor your warranty, an experienced consumer protection attorney may be able to help.
- Browse Consumer Protection Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- What is a Lemon Law? (FindLaw's Common Law)
- What Is the Warranty of Merchantability? (FindLaw's Learn About The Law)
- Apple Filed $53 Million iPhone Settlement, Possible Refunds (FindLaw's Technologist)
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