Let me preface this with – I am not a lawyer. My understanding of the way warranties work in Queensland comes from experience and reading of the relevant legislation and explanations on the state government web sites. Finally – these comments are specific to Queensland. They may apply equally in other states or even countries but this is all I am really dealing with for now.
The short answer is – as long as a reasonable person would expect the product to last.
An implied warranty exists for a ‘reasonable time’ after purchase. What constitutes a ‘reasonable time’ will depend on a number of factors including (but not limited to) the nature of the product, its price and perceived quality. For example, a $10 watch could not be reasonably expected to function efficiently for as long as a $200 watch.
The above is from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland web site. It is discussing the application of “Implied” warranties. That is the warranty that every trader must honor legally when selling goods in Queensland.
It doesn’t mean that if you knew you were buying defective goods, you can return them for a refund. And it doesn’t mean that if you get reasonable use out of a product and then it fails the trader is required to refund you in full – but what it does mean is pretty important.
If I was to sell you a television, and tell you it has a twelve month manufacturer warranty – and your television breaks on the 13th month – I am still required to deal with that problem, and either fix it, replace it or refund you.
The reason for my writing this is many traders doing business in Queensland (and I am looking squarely at “Garmin” at the moment… more on that another time) don’t realise that they are legally bound to stand behind their product for as long as a reasonable person would expect it to operate without fault.
So, next time something you have stops working, and you get the receipt out, only to find you have missed out on your “manufacturers warranty” – step back for a moment and think “Would a reasonable person expect this to still be working?”
After first giving the trader an oppertunity to make good with you, should you still not be satisfied, talk to the Queensland Fair Trading office. They are able to assist you with complaints about a Queensland business or a business operating in Queensland. For more information about lodging a complaint, start here.