Now that we are well into the summer months, many consumers are looking to buy new air-conditioning units and other appliances. Part of the consumer journey here is to look for the best deals and promotions, which merchants, on their part, try their best to address. Over the weekend, I already saw price-off promos for air-conditioner units available in participating dealers nationwide.
For the information of my readers, a lot of companies may take advantage of the good demand for air conditioning units and are right now securing sales promotion permits from the government.
Here is the part where my consumer advocacy group, Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) wishes to advise consumers: LKI believes that in “promo” sales such as these, there should be also be full disclosure of the warranty period for items sold in the promotion.
This is especially worrisome because I am getting consumer feedback regarding suspicious behavior accompanying such promotions. For example, I have received a complaint that a 20 percent off promo of an appliance was accompanied by reduction in the warranty period of parts and labor from1 year to 3 months. One will note that a compressor normally carries an industry practice of 5 years warranty. I call this a suspicious practice because first of all, the warranty periods should not be reduced or lessened since that is unfair to the customer buying the unit. Further, on top of the need to prevent companies from reducing warranty period, responsible sellers should fully communicate and inform the customer if ever there are indeed stipulations such as a reduced warranty period. There must be proactive distribution of information regarding major promotions because these are significant investments being made by the average Filipino citizen, especially when it comes to higher-end durables like air cons or refrigerators.,
The other complaint that I received are motorcycle dealers that do not extend warranties simply because the buyer do not demand for the warranties . This sales practice should be stopped. In both reports, I advised the consumers to submit a consumer complaint.
Thus, we strongly believe that consumers must be more vigilant regarding promotions and their warranty rights. The government should also look into cases such as the ones being reported to me where the promo period of a certain appliance is also accompanied by a reduction in warranty. On top of the investigation, government should also put in place programs and measures to prevent and avoid similar situations and circumstances from happening again.
Producers/manufacturers and the government should develop a program where customers are assured of their rights when purchasing new units. By way of example, a scheme can be put in place where caveats and warnings are provided consumers before the decision to purchase or not, is made. Sellers should always give the consumers the choice when they are buying new units.
This is also my attempt to empower consumers with more information on how they can better equip and protect themselves. Consumers should not be confused with the types of warranty available. There are only two types of warranties that are honored in the Philippines – the express and the implied.
The express warranty indicates the exact terms, date, and time of warranty (example: January 2022). The implied warranty has a generic time frame of warranty (example:6 months warranty).
In order to avail of the warranty, a consumer must present an original receipt, a sticker label with a serial number of the product, or a warranty card, especially when it comes to gadgets like computers and cellphones. International warranties are honored in our country .
I will also remind consumers to be aware of their three (3) basic consumer rights that I call the 3Rs: Right to Repair, Right to seek Replacement and Right to Refund.
The consumer must also bear in mind that products bought in tiangge or surplus establishments which do not issue official receipts do not come with warranty rights .In these cases, disputes with such businesses can be settled through proper mediation.
There’s also what is known as in-house warranties (example:7-day warranty) offered by companies. This type of warranty is an independent service given by a company out of generosity or goodwill . However, this guarantee causes confusion as it misleads the public from the law-imposed warranties.
Next time you go out to buy, ask yourself…. What is a warranty? Simply put, by issuing a warranty, a seller says the product will function as claimed, and if not, the seller will repair or replace defective parts. Consumers should check the product warranty offered before buying certain products such as appliances.
Atty. Vic Dimagiba, AB, LLB,LLM
President , Laban Konsyumer Inc.
Email: [email protected]