I’ve been told by B&D that my 10 year warranty is void because their contract requires you to have the door serviced once in the first year and then again every two years after that - something I didn’t do (nor realise I HAD to do). Is that legal? I’ve never heard of a warranty becoming meaningless simply because you didn’t service the item you purchased. Feels like a total rort.
Secondly, and just as importantly, I was never told about this condition. I was just told that I had this brilliant 10 year warranty. Was it my responsibility to read the warranty’s fine print before I went ahead with the purchase? It never crossed my mind that such a condition would exist.
An example commonly known is if you don’t maintain a car in accordance with manufacturer’s service manual, this can void a warranty as not maintaining the car could accelerate damage to the vehicle which isn’t the responsibility of the manufacturer. There are threads in the community which discuss the car example.
It appears that the information and terms and conditions associated with the warranty were given to you on installation. This means you should have read them to understand the product, how to maintain it, also how to use it correctly and what the manufacturer’s warranty is.
There are some consumer products which need to be maintained in order to have them in good operating condition and to maintain the warranty. Not doing so could be seen as ‘misuse’ under the Australian Consumer Law.
The problem with reading the warranty is, I wasn’t GIVEN the warranty until the deal was done. It’s not like they handed me the warranty for a read beforehand. They just told me the warranty was 10 years and I paid a deposit to go ahead. So even if I had read it, it would’ve been after the door was installed.
Most warranty documentation isn’t provided until a product or service is purchased (for example, with appliances/devices it is within the packaging of the product). It can be provided or found beforehand, such as online or from the seller, if a consumer is using such information as part of their decision making process.
Edit: I should also say that any servicing would not be specifically done by B&D’s personnel. It could be anyone who is capable of doing such a service. B&S recognise this on their website by saying ‘Garage door repair & servicing should only be provided by a trained professional’.
It does raise a point whether ongoing servicing of a B&D roller door is required by a trained professional. I can see merit in the first service being done as the door may need adjustment as a result of its installation location. Thereon, I expect that servicing would be limited and possibly that which is outlined in any user manual. As B&D also state ‘It is a condition of the B&D warranty that you service your garage door and opener within the first 12 months of installation (to allow for new doors to settle) and at least once every two years thereafter to ensure your garage door maintains it’s peak performance’, it may be argued that the first service would be required but a capable homeowner would be able to carry out general maintenance in accordance with a user manual (assuming the manual covers maintenance and servicing) to ensure the doors are maintained in peak performance.
If a purchaser does not ask, is there an obligation on the seller to communicate important conditions of the warranty before the sale is complete?
A purchaser can ask pre sale and should expect a compete response, especially if further expenditure is required in addition to the initial purchase price. Alternately should the seller volunteer a product warranty requires an ongoing financial commitment for one or more services. It does seem very very wrong if a seller is not obliged under the ACL to advise a consumer in advance.
Regardless failure to meet a condition only affects the voluntary warranty from the supplier/manufacturer. The consumer guarantee rights are still available for remedy of a problem with a product.
Most consumers would know in advance the need for paid servicing of a new motor vehicle for the initial warranty period. For many other items, it is less likely consumers are aware of the needs or understand the requirements. The requirements can also vary between brands and models of similar products, with some requiring professional servicing and some not.
No. Otherwise a seller be asking dozens of questions and providing an abundance of information to ensure that the buyer is fully aware of everything to do with the product or services - and ensuring the product fully meets a consumes expectations. This is an unreasonable expectation and means most products couldn’t be sold on shelves or online without first liaising with the seller.
That’s correct, but the 10 year warranty offered by B&D is an extended warranty, providing certain conditions are met. They also state that usually ‘B&D garage doors installed in residential homes are warranted for between five and seven years, depending on the product.’
It is similar to Mitsubishi which has a standard vehicle warranties of 5-7 years vehicle dependent, but if one services their vehicles only with Mitsubishi under their fixed price service plans, they extended the warranty to 10 years.
To maintain the extended warranty, one has to meet the conditions being offered with the manufacturer extended warranty.
If a B&D roller door had problems in the later part of the decade after installation, the consumer guarantee is unlikely to apply due to age of the door (wear and tear through usage will become more of a factor). This is where some ‘extended warranties’ may have merit if they continue to provide a warranty after what would be considered a reasonable period for a consumer guarantee. Any extended warranty has a catch or conditions… and as Choice has reported many paid for extended warranties for shorter manufacturer warranty periods don’t offer much more than what is available under the ACL consumer guarantees.
Even the B&D extended warranty may not be worth it as the cost or doing regular servicing may be greater than any repairs carried out. This is where a consumer needs to determine if the extended warranty being offered has any real value and should be taken up.
It was only asking specific to the warranty and the condition the warranty required a professional (assumed paid for) service/s.
Yes there are numerous other details that could become tedious to explain, such as cleaning products to use or not to use, guide lubrication (not required for most these days) etc.
It’s self evident for a motor vehicle, but for most other consumer items there is no consistent or well established expectation. Most don’t have a service condition attached. It’s ok to defend the seller/business, but as it appears to be their way in this example why bother having the ACL, ACCC etc?
I’d note that the when purchasing a new motor vehicle the dealers have gone out of their way to explain the warranty conditions, and for many these days the fixed price packages. Even for a lowly bicycle we were advised the longer warranty required an initial service. Provided at no cost in one instance to sweeten the deal.
Its difficulty to understand the extra 60 seconds needed to explain the service requirement for the 10 year warranty is an impost on the business selling the product. I know which obligation I’d lobby to add to the legislation to fix the interpretation. My preference would be to see the condition written on the sales document with a requirement for the purchaser to initial acknowledging they have been informed to avoid future forgetfulness. A mindful business would prebook the service with a reminder call 14 days prior. No different to how business systems help one remember the upcoming appointment for your next colonoscopy etc. Good business and customer service whether it’s for the health of the garage door or the back door.
One has to remember that it is an extended warranty and its information card/brochure is highly likely to have been provided on the installation with user guides etc. The information could have also pointed to the website and indicated that one may have to ‘register their 10 year warranty’ to validate it (looking at the B&D website, one can register their product for either a ‘standard warranty’ or ‘10 year warranty’. Noting that registering for a standard warranty to validate a standard warranty is likely to to seen as unreasonable condition and may fall foul of the ACCC.)
Validating an extended warranty is quite common practice and have seen it with tools (e.g. Ryobi) and other products (Braun products is other). It is one’s choice to take up an extended warranty and to do so, must accept any conditions associated with it. Validating the extended warranty also ensure that a consumer is aware of the extended warranty conditions.
As I indicated, whether the extended warranty is worth signing up for, an individual consumer needs to assess whether it is in their interests to do so based on that is required to and the limitations/exclusions associated with the warranty.
Edit: to get the B&D extended warranty, you do need to register for it as their website states:
All you need to do is register your warranty above and get your garage door serviced once in the first 12 months and every two years thereafter. Keep your home safe and secure for 10 years with B&D.
So does that mean the the requirement to service the door (once in the first year and again every two years after that) is only a requirement for the EXTENDED (10 year) warranty? And that the regular (5 - 7 year) warranty is unaffected by servicing?
You should have the original warranty information for your product provided at the time of installation. It might be in the user guide or a separate card/document. See what it says in relation to servicing or maintenance and implications on the standard warranty.
Not servicing/maintaining may still void a warranty if servicing is required to ensure ongoing reliable operation of the door. The standard warranty may state who can carry out and when servicing is required.
If the fault is on a recently installed door, say a few years old, and the fault was caused by the installation and/or manufacturing, such faults may come under the Australian Consumer Law. If the fault occurred due to wear and tear, due to the door not been looked after/maintained and/or serviced, then these will fall outside the Australian Consumer Law and the standard warranty.
If the fault occurred due to installation and/or manufacturing and the door hasn’t been serviced/maintained, then you may need to somehow demonstrate the fault would have occurred even if servicing/maintenance had occurred. This may be difficult to do and assumes not maintaining/servicing doesn’t void the warranty for the whole door and its installation.
Edit: I will try to explain by an example. We own a hedge trimmer where the warranty document is very clear that to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, the blade needs to be cleaned and lubricated every time it is used. They nominate the type of lubricant (spray lubricant similar to WD40) but not who is required to do it. Say that I didn’t lubricate or clean the blade and after 9 months, within the manufacturer warranty, the hedge trimmer motor burnt out. As I didn’t lubricate or clean the blade, there is a chance that my own actions cased the motor to burn out prematurely as the motor would have been working a lot harder to overcome friction due unlubricated blades. In such case I am unlikely to get a resolution under the ACL or the manufacturer warranty (which would be voided).
If say instead the fuel tank developed a crack due to a manufacturing fault (even though it hadn’t been dropped or damaged in any way), it is highly unlikely that not lubricating the blades resulted in the fuel tank crack. Therefore one might be able to argue that the lubricating of the blades is irrelevant and the crack developed as a result of the manufacturing defect and is removed from the mechanical operation of the blades. Then under the ACL, even though a manufacturer’s warranty may be voided because the blades weren’t lubricated, resolution may be possible as it is a fault which existed with the hedge trimmer on purchase.
However, not maintaining a product in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations could be seen as ‘misuse’ under the ACL as it may show that I didn’t look after product and any fault may be attributed to by my lack of care for the product. Misuse is an exception to the consumer guarantee. This is where things are grey and the ACL still may not apply.
Re the voluntary warranty.
Depending on the model of the door one range has a 10 year warranty as standard. The automatic door openers have a seperate warranty. Of note the door spring/s and lifting cables are excluded in all warranties.
Regardless of the model B&D list there is a condition included in the standard warranty document, that the door is serviced by a professional at 12 months and there after every 2 years.
B&D documentation uses the wording “10-year Total Confidence Warranty” to describe an offer to extend the warranty to a total of 10 years which adds to the condition of registration purchasing the door and opener together.
It does come with a zero up front cost but requires an ongoing commitment (expense) for 9 years, provided most likely by the local recommended B&D authorised agent.
As a more general comment - is it more appropriate to say in nearly every circumstance the burden of proof when it comes to consumer law is placed on the consumer?
The old adage “the consumer is always right until proven wrong” has never had any basis in fact.
I’m left to ponder whether the notion of “fair trade” can be properly understood other than in the mind of a legal professional. Would one have purchased a garage door with the expectation of an extended warranty if the conditions had not been explained in advance?
Thanks for that. I definitely know, had they told me about the requirement to get the services in order to keep the warranty valid, that I would’ve got the services done. Incredibly annoying that it wasn’t mentioned and now it’s too late.
Did you manage to find the warranty documentation which would have been provided to you either at purchase/signing contract or install?
There is a chance, albeit remote, that conditions of the warranty have changed over time and those on the website are different to your own product warranty. It would be prudent to check to see what your product warranty says, because if for example servicing/maintaining isn’t a condition of the warranty issued with your product, it might give you some grounds to follow up B&D with a warranty claim.
I moved into a house on the far south coast where a previous occupier had “lubricated” the tracks with grease, despite clear and visible instructions to the contrary. B&D wanted to send a service person from Canberra to inspect and advise. Absolutely refused to give any advice other than the likely cost of a service call including 6 - 7 hours of travel time which might be split with other customers.
Fortunately I ran into a local installer (not associated with B&D) a couple of days later who suggested I spray the tracks with Inox and gave me a card “just in case”. I didn’t need the card, except to call him next day to say thank you.