Manufacturer’s Warranties

A manufacturer’s warranty is a written assurance to the purchaser of a product, promising to replace or repair it, if necessary, within a specified period.  You should find out about the terms of this kind of warranty before you buy, particularly if the item you’re buying is of significant cost to you.  Questions you could ask include:

  • How long is it good for?
  • Where will I have to go to obtain warranty repairs?
  • Do they cover parts and service, or just one or the other?

Often, manufacturer’s warranties are not valid from one country to another.  For instance, if you buy electronics during a visit to another country (or buy from a foreign retailer over the Internet), you may be buying a product with a manufacturer’s warranty that doesn’t protect you at home in Canada even if the same product is available for sale in Canada. The same is true when buying automobiles abroad, as we discuss in more detail below.

“As Is” Sales

Sometimes, a retailer will say a product is sold “as is” meaning that the retailer claims the consumer should not be able to expect any after-sales repairs or service for the product under any kind of warranty. They’re saying you’re buying the product at your own risk.

In fact, despite what some retailers might say about “as is” sales, there are implied warranties that apply to the sale of consumer goods, no matter what the retailer claims. Implied warranties are covered under provincial/territorial sales laws.  The wording of such laws are somewhat different from one province/territory to the next; however generally, they state that products must be fit for the purposes for which they are sold.  Keep in mind that the application of such warranties is subject to legal interpretation, and to enforce your rights under such warranties you might have to go to  court.  Therefore, think twice about any product being sold “as is”, unless it’s such a good buy that you’re willing to take the risk that it doesn’t work properly and that getting redress may be difficult or costly.

If you’re wondering about specific warranty laws where you live, check with your provincial or territorial consumer protection agency.

Warranties are as Different as the Products

Warranties are not all the same. Read a warranty carefully to find out what is and isn’t covered and make note of when the warranty expires.

  • Vehicles: Many vehicle manufacturers refuse to honour warranties on vehicles that have been imported from the United States or other countries. And among manufacturers that do honour warranties, some still apply limitations to their warranty. Every manufacturer has a different policy. Before buying a foreign vehicle with a warranty and importing it to Canada, contact the manufacturer to get the latest information on warranty coverage.
  • Home entertainment equipment: Warranties differ depending on the type of home entertainment equipment and the brand. Most warranties cover parts and service for manufacturing defects, but rarely cover accidents or misuse.
  • Personal devices: Cell phones, smart phones, ebook readers, computers and other similar technologies are growing in popularity. They usually come with a warranty, but read the fine print to make sure you understand what is and is not covered before you buy. It is also your responsibility to save all information stored on your device before sending out for any warranty-approved repair. The information on your devices could be erased during the repair, so be sure to have a back-up of your files.
  • Appliances: Refrigerators, stoves and ranges, washer and dryers and other household appliances have warranties that usually start the day of purchase or date of delivery. It doesn’t matter how often you use your appliance. The warranties usually cover workmanship or defects, but do not cover improper installation or misuse. You must also consider that most warranties will be void if you try and fix the problem yourself or have someone other than an authorized person try and repair your appliance.

Extended Warranties

Some retailers or dealers offer extended warranties on products or vehicles (also referred to as service agreements, service contracts or maintenance agreements). Here are some points you should consider before deciding to purchase an extended warranty.

  • Extended warranties usually cost extra and are sometimes based on a percentage of the cost of the item.
  • Check to see if the product you are purchasing comes with a manufacturer’s warranty (usually one year and included in the price of the product).
  • You should also check with your credit card company to see if they offer additional warranties on products purchased via credit card. Some credit card companies offer an additional year of warranty if you pay for the item with your credit card. If your credit card is already covering you for an additional period of time, then the extended warranty may not be offering you any extra protection.
  • A number of scams have been reported where consumers receive telephone calls offering extended warranties (for a price) on an automobile the consumer has purchased. Be careful about such offers, because a number of cases have been reported throughout Canada where the callers have simply taken the money and run.

Take a Minute Before Purchasing an Item

Before purchasing an item, either big or small, ask yourself these questions about the manufacturer’s or extended warranty:

  • How expensive is the product? Would it be less expensive to replace the item rather than purchase an extended warranty? What would a typical repair cost be?
  • Who administers the warranty? Does the store where you bought the item take care of the repairs or do you have to ship it somewhere at your own cost?
  • If you are considering purchasing an extended warranty, does it overlap with the manufacturer’s warranty?
  • How reliable is the item you purchased? Consumer services provided by Consumer Reports, Marketplace and Protégez-Vous (French only) are dedicated to providing concrete product information such as expert product reports, evaluations and test results. Please note that this information may be available for a nominal fee.
  • What is covered under the warranty?
  • Do certain actions void your warranty?
  • Is there a deductable?
  • What are your rights in terms of cancelling the warranty? In certain provinces and territories, consumers have the right to cancel at any time as long as they give 30 days notice.

You may be required to present certain documentation to make a claim against your warranty. Always be sure to keep all your warranty information in a safe place, along with your original sales receipts.

Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices

Alberta

Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
3rd Floor Commerce Place
10155-102 Street

Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4L4

Telephone: 780-427-4088
Toll Free: 1-877-427-4088

Email
Websitewww.servicealberta.ca

British Columbia

Consumer Protection BC
#307-3450 Uptown Blvd
PO Box 9244

Victoria, British Columbia  V8W 9J2

Telephone: 604-320-1667
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 250-920-7181

Email
Websitewww.consumerprotectionbc.ca

Manitoba

Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
302-258 Portage Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3C 0B6

Telephone: 204-945-3800
Toll Free: 1-800-782-0067
Fax: 204-945-0728

Email
Websitewww.manitoba.ca/consumerinfo

New Brunswick

Financial and Consumer Services Commission
225 King Street, Suite 200

Fredericton, New Brunswick  E3B 1E1

Toll Free: 1-866-933-2222
Fax: 506-444-4494

Email
Websitewww.fcnb.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador

Service NL
PO Box 8700

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador  A1B 4J6

Telephone: 709-729-2600
Toll Free: 1-877-968-2600
Fax: 709-729-6998

Email
Websitewww.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/index.html

Northwest Territories

Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
5201-50th Avenue, Suite 600
PO Box 1320

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories  X1A 2L9

Telephone: 867-767-9161 ext 21022
Fax: 867-873-0309

Email
Websitewww.maca.gov.nt.ca/en/services/consumer-affairs

Nova Scotia

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
Mail Room, 8 South
Maritime Centre
1505 Barrington Street

Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3J 3K5

Telephone: 902-424-5200
Toll Free: 1-800-670-4357
Fax: 902-424-0720

Email
Websitenovascotia.ca/sns/access/individuals/consumer-awareness.asp

Nunavut

Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
3090 – 9th Street
P.O. Box 440

Baker Lake, Nunavut  X0C 0A0

Telephone: 867-793-3303
Toll Free: 1-866-223-8139
Fax: 867-793-3321

Email
Websitewww.gov.nu.ca/

Ontario

Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Box 450
1201 Wilson Ave, Station A

Toronto, Ontario  M3M 1J8

Telephone: 416-326-8800
Toll Free: 1-800-889-9768
Phone (TTY): 416-229-6086
Phone (TTY) 2: 1-877-666-6545
Fax: 416-326-8665

Email
Websitewww.ontario.ca/consumerprotection

Prince Edward Island

Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
Shaw Building, 4th Floor
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  C1A 7N8

Telephone: 902-368-4580
Telephone: 902-368-4550
Toll Free: 1-800-658-1799
Fax: 902-368-5283

Websitehttps://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/consumer-services

Quebec

Office de la protection du consommateur
400 Jean-Lesage Boulevard, Suite 450

Québec, Quebec  G1K 8W4

Telephone: 418-643-1484
Toll Free: 1-888-672-2556
Fax: 418-528-0976

Websitewww.opc.gouv.qc.ca

Yukon

Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
307 Black Street

Whitehorse, Yukon  Y1A 2N1

Telephone: 867-667-5111
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5111
Fax: 867-667-3609

Email
Websitewww.community.gov.yk.ca/consumer/index.html

Scroll Up