When you buy something from a retailer, such as Tesco, there will be a one year warranty included as standard, something we take for granted in the UK. For most people one year is sufficient and it seems quite reasonable, but what if you just spent £2,000 on a new plasma TV and it stopped working after 13 months? Surely that isn’t fair. Of course, some people choose to pay a fortune for an extended warranty lasting several years, which might be prudent for such an expensive product. However, there is also another useful tool one can use and it’s entirely free.
This tool is something that has been around for a long time but nobody seems to know about it. The tool in question is an EU Directive that states:
“A two-year guarantee applies for the sale of all consumer goods everywhere in the EU. In some countries, this may be more, and some manufacturers also choose to offer a longer warranty period.”
This little law is simple enough, purchase something and it’s guaranteed for a refund or replacement for up to two years. Therefore the one year warranty UK retailers give people isn’t really worth much. It is useful only if the item breaks within 12 months, but outwith that time the EU directive is the consumers only weapon. Despite the fact that most retailers aren’t even aware of the directive, as soon as county court proceedings begin their head office will soon admit defeat, so it’s recommended that people pursue this whenever they can.
Although the EU law hasn’t made its way into UK law, there is no court in the country that can defy EU legislation, so the consumer will win any court battle. For the few people who do know about this law (mostly thanks to the internet), they have all succeeded in obtaining a refund or replacement with minimal fuss. Normally an EU law makes its way into UK law quite promptly, but for some reason this one has been forgotten about. That might be due to the fact that if every retailer in the UK offered two years warranty as standard they would be losing a significant amount of money, which would ultimately hurt our economy.
The UK government seems content that only a handful of people are aware of, or use this directive, for now. But as more people are looking for cheaper alternatives and turning to the internet for consumer advice, it’s only a matter of time before this EU directive becomes a household resource.