Do You Know the Difference between a Guarantee and a Warranty and do you Know Your Rights?

You have bought a new charger and it doesn't charge, or a kettle that doesn't boil, and a fridge that doesn't cool the way it should... does this sound familiar? If so, then you've probably heard the retailer claim that, “if it doesn't work or if it's broken, we will replace it straight away, as the customer is always right.” However, is it always that easy to return a low quality product, or a product which you don’t like? Here, we will share information about the current warranty trends and your rights and advice, as well as how not to get confused when reading the complicated regulations of a guarantee and warranty.

What's the Difference between a Guarantee and a Warranty?

When you purchase an item, you will receive a guarantee. Everything should be quite straightforward. However, each of us has most likely faced the situation where, having purchased a warranty for an additional fee, the guarantee can be extended or better warranty conditions are offered. Unfortunately, it is not often explained that a guarantee and a warranty are almost the same. Therefore, do you know the difference between a guarantee and a warranty, and are you aware of your rights when you have purchased a low quality item?

Let's begin by saying that a guarantee is valid from the date of purchase and this isn't necessarily the case with a warranty. The latter can be, but is not necessarily, offered by a seller, manufacturer or a third party as an option and its validity term must be confirmed in writing. A guarantee is always offered by the retailer, to whom you can return the product if it breaks, and in this case you don't have to sign any additional documents.

The validity term will differ – a warranty is mostly valid from 1 up to 5 years, while a guarantee is valid for 2 years. It's also worth knowing that a guarantee continues to be valid even though a warranty is purchased. For example, if the product you have purchased has a 1 year warranty, the guarantee will remain valid for another year.

Finally, a guarantee is always free – but a warranty is not necessarily so. Depending on the circumstances, the price of the latter can reach up several dozen euros. Both the guarantee and the warranty are valid when the customer supplies the proof of purchase or its copy.

To sum up, a guarantee is issued with all new products. As is described by the European Union rules, the seller must repair or replace a product free of charge, or reduce its price and return the money to the customer if that product has any defects or doesn’t function as advertised. A purchased and unused product can be returned within 14 working days due to any reason; for example, if you have just changed your mind. Of course, there are some products to which this rule doesn't apply, such as concert tickets or customised handmade costumes, and so on. However, a warranty is valid according to the conditions that are specified in the contract, and every case may be different.

You can find more information about guarantees and warranties on the official European Union website:

Lithuanians Are not Aware of Their Rights

Research conducted by Nielsen, which was commissioned by ACME Europe last year, revealed certain tendencies in how customers use guarantees for electronic devices. Darius Serba, the Leader of the Quality Control Team said, “A surprisingly large amount, almost half of all consumers, don't make the warranty claims they are entitled to. Usually, the customers don't return purchased items because they no longer have the purchase receipt.”

“Almost one third of the respondents said that they simply weren't aware of the warranty validity term and that they could make a claim. What is also surprising is that a large part of the people who participated in the poll weren't aware that they could return the product at all. The research has also shown that it is more common for young people under the age of 20 to not return their products, and that Lithuanians are more likely to return more valuable products that are worth more than 400 euros.”

It can be concluded that our society lacks information about product guarantees, their rights and the ways to use them. As has already been said, you can find more information about guarantees and their applications on the official European Union website.