It is often when a household appliance breaks down that one wonders whether it is still under warranty. It is therefore important to know, at the time of purchase, what these famous guarantees entitle you to. Legal guarantees, commercial guarantee, extended guarantee: what do they cover?
Appliance sellers may tend to sell you extended warranties or certain contracts to protect the appliances you buy. Know that these are not obligatory, and that even if you do not subscribe, in case of problems, your devices are still covered by legal guarantees, which they are free.
As their name suggests, these legal guarantees are required by law and are therefore mandatory when purchasing certain goods, including household appliances. They are always free, and in no case can the sellers make you pay for them.
The legal guarantee of conformity
It applies to all new, used or reconditioned household appliances, provided they are purchased from a professional, whether you buy the appliance in a specialized store, from a kitchen designer, in a supermarket or online.
This guarantee aims to ensure that the goods purchased are in conformity with the use for which they are intended, as well as the seller’s promises. This guarantee goes even further, as the characteristics must conform to the arguments of the seller, labeling and advertising.
Concrete examples: if a washing machine or a refrigerator is sold as silent but once installed you consider it noisy, you can invoke the legal guarantee of conformity. You can still play it if the delivered refrigerator is white, although you ordered a gray model, or if it has a stripe. Finally, if the professional delivers and installs your household appliance, the legal guarantee of conformity applies if your oven arrives with a slit glass for example, or if it does not work once installed.
This warranty is valid for two years from the date of delivery and you do not have to prove that the defect existed at the time of purchase. The seller must have the product repaired or exchanged.
In the case of second-hand devices, the “duration of the presumption of anteriority of defects is only 6 months”; beyond, pledge to the buyer to prove that the defect existed at the time of the sale.
The guarantee of hidden defects
This applies to all goods sold new or used, by professionals or individuals. It covers the buyer against all invisible defects. (and not declared) at the time of purchase, which would render the device unusable or reduce its effectiveness.
For example: it could concern the motor of a washing machine which gives up the ghost due to a weakness.
Warning : In order to be able to invoke the warranty against hidden defects, you should not have been aware of the defect at the time of purchase. Furthermore, it is up to you, the buyer, to prove the defect to make use of this guarantee (for example by producing an estimate or an expert report). It can be invoked within two years from discovery of the defect – and up to 5 years after purchase.
How to assert your rights in the event of a problem?
Does your household appliance have a defect, a malfunction or a breakdown? Did the professional install it incorrectly? In most cases, you can invoke the legal guarantee of conformity. The professional who sold it to you must then offer you the repair of your device or its replacement free of charge, without sending you back to the manufacturer. Nor should he charge you for any repairs, spare parts or transport costs.
As part of the warranty against hidden defects, you can return the goods and request a refund, or negotiate a discount.
Before contacting the seller, have all the necessary documents with you: invoice, delivery slip, sales receipt … If you do not agree, you can send him a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. request the application of the guarantee, then turn to a consumer association if this is ineffective.
Cases where the warranty is excluded
Warning : legal guarantees do not cover everything. If you could not ignore the defect at the time of purchase, the legal guarantee of conformity does not apply here. Example: a refurbished dishwasher that has suffered a slight shock, indicated during the sale. Ditto if the problem results from an accessory that you installed yourself (for example, if you yourself replaced the battery of your stick vacuum cleaner).
Likewise, if your household appliance breaks down due to lack of maintenance or improper use, it is possible that the seller will send you back to the ropes – for example if you have never descaled your coffee machine. or if you have dropped your food processor off the counter.
Commercial guarantees: a supplement sometimes paying
In addition to the warranties imposed by law, a seller or distributor may offer you to take out a commercial warranty, also known as extended warranty, manufacturer’s warranty (if it is offered by the manufacturer), new exchange … Again, you do not have to subscribe to it. Especially since the commercial guarantee does not replace legal guarantees – they are complementary.
This type of guarantee is contractual: the manufacturer or the distributor who offers it is free here as to its content, what it covers and also its price. It can in fact be free or paid. As for the terms, they are defined by the contract signed between the seller and the consumer.
So take a good look at what it covers before committing. For it to be of any interest, its perimeter must be wider than that covered by legal guarantees, i.e. one or more additional years of warranty, warranty against breakage, etc.
In addition, before committing yourself, check what the warranty covers – and especially what it excludes. For example: if parts are included in the event of a breakdown, is labor included? If your major household appliance needs to be transported, are you responsible for the transport costs? Are the accessories also guaranteed?
Warranty extensions: how much does it cost?
Before committing to signing a commercial guarantee or an extended guarantee, check whether it is chargeable. It may happen that you are offered a one-year manufacturer’s warranty offered beyond the two-year legal warranty. If the offer is paid, see how much it will cost you, because when you do the math, the bill can be steep.
We took a few examples from the sites of two large specialist distributors, to assess the price of an extended warranty (3 additional years, which brings the total warranty to 5 years).
- For an Electrolux built-in oven sold at € 699, the extension costs € 80, or a little over 11% of the price of the new appliance.
- Another example: that of a Thomson refrigerator sold for € 1,099. The service, which costs 260 €, amounts to almost 24% of the new purchase price.
- Last example: a Candy washing machine sold for € 479.99. The € 149.99 extension represents more than 30% of the price of the device.
Note that some also offer kinds of subscription guarantees like Darty Max. For € 9.99 per year, they cover repairs to all major household appliances, whether purchased from Darty or not, while spare parts are available (and with some subtleties).
UFC Que Chooser, which studied the conditions in detail, considers profitability to be minimal : “on average, we keep our washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators between 9 and 16 years old. At € 10 / month, or € 120 / year, Darty Max represents a hell of a budget, probably higher than some breakdowns which will punctuate their lifespan … “.
Good plan or not?
To amortize the cost of an extended warranty, it is still necessary that the device breaks down within five years of its purchase. Because taking out such a contract is a bit make a bet on the longevity of the device that you buy and that it will fail within the first x years of use.
You can instead choose to buy a durable device (the official durability index does not yet exist but some brands have set up their own indices such as Darty or Ma Garantie 5 ans for example), repairable (the index repairability already concerns certain household appliances and should be extended) and to maintain it with care. Finally, in the event of a breakdown beyond the two-year legal guarantee of conformity, you can always have your device repaired at your expense.
To note that at the beginning of 2022, thanks to the reparation fund provided for by the anti-waste law, reparations will be encouraged by financial assistance (not yet defined in detail). This risks making commercial warranties and other warranty extensions even less interesting and relevant.