Satisfaction warranted

31.01.2014 | Leonid Uzvar

When your gizmo breaks down

Modern homes are equipped with devices that ensure comfortable living. However, such equipment often breaks down. If this happens within the term of warranty, the rule that consumers are always right is always in effect. Stores and service centers often try to place the responsibility on customers when such problems arise

Definitions and regulations

A warranty is an obligation of a manufacturer and its retailer to repair a product if it has a factory defect or such a defect appeared before the guaranteed period of time expired. The warranty term is designated in the technical specifications of the product, as well as on the price tag, the packaging and in all other documents that are included in the sales package.

It is important to remember that warranty obligations in any case include all promises of the manufacturer mentioned in advertisements. Negligent retailers often try to write in the sales receipt a lower term of warranty according to the requirements of the management of a products manufacturer. Even if the warranty term designated in the sales receipt is 1 year, but the advertisement of the product promises a 2-year warranty, the producer should comply with the promised term.

The term of warranty takes effect from the moment a product is purchased according to the seal on a check or a product invoice. If products are sold via the Internet or by mail the term of warranty takes effect from the date of delivery. In addition, if a certain product requires special installation, the date of warranty takes effect from the designated date.

The main document that regulates relations between a customer and a manufacturer (seller, service) is the Law of Ukraine On the Protection of Consumer Rights. A consumer should make a reference to this law when submitting a claim to a service center for the repair of a product backed by a warranty. Moreover, visiting foreign tourists and permanent residents of Ukraine can exercise this right.

Warranty expiration

Any repair of a product on warranty should not be longer than 14 days. In practice, this term is dragged out and consumers will be promised that the device or appliance will be replaced in the nearest days. The fact is that the Law of Ukraine On Consumer Rights allows for delay in the repair period, but only on the mutual agreement of the buyer and the seller. Practically all warranty services take advantage of this law and the possibility of extending the repair time is indicated in a slip issued to a consumer.

It is up to a consumer to sign or not to sign such a document. They have the full right to refuse to sign it and demand that the seller fulfill its obligations within 2 weeks and no more. In truth, a store or workshop often refuses to accept a product for repair arguing that they will not manage to do so within the deadline. The solution is to file a complaint with the Consumer Rights Protection Agency or simply seek a different more reliable service.

It is also important to remember that in Ukraine a penalty of 1% of the cost of the purchased product is exacted for every day of delay after the repair date. A reminder of this fact is usually very effective, but if a verbal notification does not have any effect, one should submit a written complaint demanding the payment of the penalty.

In the end, if the repair is successfully done the warranty for the product is extended for the time that it was in the service center and this should be indicated in the warranty certificate.

When dealing with a warranty service centers as a foreigner you should come with a few of your Ukrainian friends to have their moral support, a translator and simply somebody that understands the nuances of conflicting situations in Ukraine.

Do you have any guarantees?

Disavowal of cases of complaints regarding warrantees is one of the most widespread violations of consumer rights and most often complaints of the service center are ungrounded. The reason is simply economics as repair shops are obligated to purchase the necessary accessories and repair a certain product at their own expense.

In many cases a manufacturer does not compensate these expenses. This is why employees of repair service centers try to charge consumers these costs claiming a violation of the terms of the warranty or the absence of factory defects. In addition to that, the costs of repairs are often equal to the price of the product. After all, the price of a new washing machine is 1.5-2 times cheaper than the total value of all its accessories, which are sold by the manufacturer at wholesale prices, but when repaired they are sold at retail prices.

Another important thing to know is that authorized repair, replacement or modification of hardware is done without a guarantee. For this reason, in order to safeguard yourself from problems you should carefully check the appliance before turning it in to a repair service center. In the claim check you should describe all visible scratches, defects and abrasions.

You can snap photos of the product from all angles and attach them to your claim check. You are also well advised to describe all defects, check the correctness of the date of manufacture and demand a second copy with a signature and seal for your personal file.

The employees of certain service centers demand from foreigners a translation of their passport by a notary public upon submission of a claim for repair of an appliance. In this way they hope that they will not want to deal with the extra headache of paying for the services of a translation bureau and will not fight for their rights. This is totally illegal. The fact is that a service center may ask for a copy of passport, but they do not have the right to demand a translation. Moreover, producing a drivers license is more than sufficient.

Urgent exchange and credit refund

When purchasing an appliance you should carefully check the warranty. It should indicate all the details about the retailer and contact numbers and have a seal of the manufacturer. Upon purchase of the appliance you should check that it works properly and that it has no scratches or factory defects. This gives a consumer the right to demand replacement of the appliance within two weeks if any problems arise, provided that all stickers, labels and seals are preserved.

The seller of the product will demand from the buyer a sales receipt or an invoice as well as a passport. If the same product is not available when a buyer requests an exchange, one can exchange it for another similar product of a different price or demand a refund. In this case, do not mention that the appliance or device was damaged. Simply say that you are not satisfied with it. You can also leave a request for exchange. In that case, the seller is obligated to offer an alternative that is available for sale.

Foreign tourists in Ukraine are not offered a layaway for the purchase of such products, but those with permanent or temporary residence in the country have the same rights as Ukrainian citizens. In such cases, they even have special rights. Within 14 calendar days after signing an agreement for a consumer loan one can refuse from it without any explanation, though such a refusal should be submitted in written form to a bank employee or the banks representative in the store. A notice can also be sent by registered mail with such notification within two weeks after the purchase.

At the same time, a buyer must return the purchased device or appliance and pay the interest for the period of use of the loan. If you made a down payment in advance, the bank is obligated to refund you the difference between that amount and the interest within 7 days. For every day of delay of the refund you have the right to demand the payment of a penalty of 1% of the amount of the refund.

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