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.
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
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