Warranty clauses that can catch you out

The Which? Consumer Rights team reveal some of the little-known clauses that could catch you out and invalidate your warranty.

Warranties can include some common exclusions but we looked at a variety of products to uncover some of the stranger exclusions to watch out for.

We looked at warranties on everything from boilers to laptops and coffee machines to TVs and found there are some ways you may unwittingly void your warranty. These include:

  • How you use your product: If you find yourself needing to clean up ash, rubble, plaster or even water, try not to reach for the vacuum as it’s likely to invalidate your warranty.
  • Where you use your product: Did you know that using your coffee machine or washing machine in a farmhouse or ‘non-domestic setting,’ such as an office or B&B, might leave you unable to claim a repair or refund if it develops a fault?
  • Using unapproved accessories: Using unbranded coffee pods in a Nespresso machine, or ‘unapproved items’ to open packaging might leave you without cover, so choose wisely. When it comes to laptops, damage caused by non-branded components or accessories might not be covered by the warranty.
  • Maintenance: To make sure your boiler warranty stays intact, you may need to ensure it is serviced by a Gas Safe Engineer once a year.
  • Consider if you need an extended warranty: Extended warranties don’t always offer value for money. Most products are already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty or often a home insurance policy. You also have legal rights to return faulty items to a retailer.

Confused about warranties? The Which? Consumer Rights website has free, independent advice on warranties – from what’s covered and what’s not, to what to expect if something goes wrong.  We have step-by-step guides if you experience problems and template letters should you want to complain or cancel an extended warranty.

Alex Neill, Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:

“In addition to your legal rights, a warranty provides cover if something unexpectedly breaks or stops working, usually after the manufacturer’s or trader’s guarantee has run out. But there can be some common, and some rather surprising, exclusions so it is worth looking at the detail of your warranty to see if you’re covered.”


Notes to Editor:

1.     Which? Consumer Rights is providing free online information on product warranties and guarantees, and providing independent advice on your rights.

2.     Which? analysed the warranties for the following products:

  • Coffee machines: AEG, DeLonghi, FrancisFrancis, Krups
  • Washing machines: Beko, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit
  • Vacuum cleaners: Bosch, Dyson, Hoover, Miele, Vax
  • Boilers: Glow-worm, Ideal, Valliant, Worcester Bosch
  • Fridges and Freezers: Beko, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit, Samsung
  • TVs: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony
  • Laptops: Apple, Asus, Dell, Toshiba




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