Is a guarantee transferable when you buy a second hand appliance?

I had a question from someone querying appliance guarantees. They wanted to know if the guarantee can be transferred to the new owner if purchased second hand..

She had bought a second hand washing machine from ebay. The seller had told her that it was approximately 2 years old and came with a 5 year guarantee. The person selling it was very genuine and said the manufacturer had told them that the guarantee was transferable. Before buying the appliance she rang the manufacturer to check, and was told the same.

It was only when she rang the manufacturer back after buying the second hand appliance that she was told the guarantee was not transferable. They said it was only valid if the machine was kept by the original owner. So she wanted to know if this is be legal as it seemed very unfair.

My answer:

Guarantees are an addition to our consumer rights and can have certain restrictions on them. For example it’s quite possible for a manufacturer to give a 5 year guarantee but only on condition that the customer registers the guarantee.

Most manufacturers tend to limit this guarantee to the person that buys it when brand new. The guarantee costs are built into the price and the customer has paid for it.

However, as their initial commitment to cover the appliance for the 5 years has already been made and paid for you wouldn’t think it would make any difference who now owned the appliance.

The manufacturers like us to believe the guarantee is free, but of course they are clearly built into the price of the product.

So there’s no reason why they couldn’t honour a guarantee no matter who owns it as long as the appliance is still within the guarantee period. Especially if the (new) owner has the paperwork to show it is still within the guarantee period. Presumably it’s simply because they can get out of it (by saying the contract was with the original purchaser) – that they do.

No legal obligation

Consumer-advice The main thing to bear in mind is that there isn’t even a legal obligation for products sold to have any official “guarantee”. They are just additional benefits used to give more confidence to a potential customer to help facilitate a sale. Our consumer rights are through the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Of course it’s impossible to imagine any product not coming with one these days. Some appliances come with even longer guarantees than the standard 12 months. But the the promise of guaranteeing the appliance will be a contract between the manufacturer and the original purchaser.

Some guarantees can be transferable, for example a guarantee that comes with double glazing or some building work may be transferable if the house is sold.

Generally though it seems that appliance guarantees aren’t likely to be transferable.

If the original purchaser did not register the guarantee the manufacturer may or may not simply just send an engineer who’d just be likely to need proof of purchase.

Buying appliances second hand

If you buy something second hand from an ordinary member of the public then you do not have any rights under the sale of goods act or the distant selling regulations other than a right for the product to be as described in the advert, and for it to work as expected.

If it subsequently breaks down it’s considered part of the risk of buying second hand. Having no guarantee is part of the reason we normally pay a lot less for a second hand product. More details here What are my consumer rights buying second hand washing machine?

Having said that, in this particular case, if the washing machine was advertised as having a guarantee and it hasn’t, you might be able to argue that it was not as described in the advert.

It’s possible you may be entitled to a refund, or a price reduction as some part of the price asked for was likely to be for the guarantee. ebay has help and advice which may be worth looking into on this page where there should be a link to What to do if you don’t receive an item or it doesn’t match the seller’s description

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6 thoughts on “Is a guarantee transferable when you buy a second hand appliance?”

  1. I brought my washing machine 2 and half years ago with only 2 years guarantee I have since taken out with Domestic and General an extended 3 years. I am thinking of now selling this machine which is working in perfect condition to my son, but obviously he wants the guarantee transferred to him is this something they will honour to me?

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Gill. Most companies use transferring to a new owner as an excuse to cancel the agreement. The companies usually view it as a contract between the purchaser and them. It’s possible they might allow a transfer if notified, but you would need to ask them.

  3. I have just moved into my house which is a converted Schoolhouse. The conversion was completed in 2018 but the boiler broke down last night, the boiler has a 7 year warranty which surely, I should be able to claim on, is that correct?

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Guy. Extra long guarantees often have terms and conditions. If you have paperwork that says it’s under guarantee you may be ok. But if you don’t it may be a problem. If you don’t have anything and there’s just a sticker or leaflet saying it’s guaranteed for 7 years you can only ring them and give the address to see if you are covered.

    For example, my boiler has a 7 year guarantee, but only because I had it installed by one of the manufacturers approved installers and it stipulates the boiler must be serviced by them every year or the guarantee is invalid.

  5. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Ian. When manufacturers sell appliances to retailers, or people in the white goods industry, who then sell them on to their customers then the guarantee is totally passed on and registered by the final purchaser. So if you are acting as a retailer then that’s how it would work. But if you were just buying them as a member of the public and then selling them on I believe it would be different. In that case the guarantee would be likely to be with the first purchaser. It may be possible that if the guarantee is registered by the person you sell it on to they would be okay to use it though manufacturers always ask where they purchased it from and often asked for proof of purchase.

    All manufacturers guarantees are only in addition to our legal consumer rights. Therefore anyone who buys a white goods appliance has up to 6 years cover for any faults under the consumer rights act 2015 even if they didn’t receive any guarantee at all from the manufacturer. Unfortunately these consumer rights are not against the manufacturer but against the people they bought it from. So for example anyone you sell an appliance to would be legally entitled to either a free repair or a replacement appliance potentially for up to 6 years (five in Scotland) if it developed a serious fault, or was not fit for purpose etc. But they could only claim it from the person they bought it from. That’s the risk.

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