Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

How to guarantee that you understand the warranty

Does the fact that something is guaranteed make it better than other products or services?

How do you guarantee that you understand the warranty when you buy something? Some consumers are often confused about what it really means.

The terms “guarantee” and “warranty” are described as a promise that a company will repair or replace something you buy, free of charge, if something is wrong with it, within a certain period of time. It can also be a promise or assurance, especially in writing, that ensures the quality of a product or service.

However, these words are often used on the same basis as an indication that you will be fairly compensated if something is wrong with the product.


Merchants are no longer allowed to sell goods as “voetstoots”, where goods are sold defects and all. You can only agree to buy goods “voetstoots” if the transaction does not fall under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), such as the private sale of a house or car.

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Consumer Protection Act

The CPA provides for the quality of goods and services in various sections. According to Article 54, you can expect a dealer to provide a service on time and for it to be completed or you must be informed in a timely manner if there is going to be a delay.

The service must be performed in the manner that you expect and all products related to it must also be of good quality and without defects. Your property should also be handled with care to ensure you at least get it back in the same condition. If the service is not of good quality, you can expect the dealer to repair defects or refund you a fair share of the price depending on the problem.

Article 55 states that you can expect that goods you buy will do what they are designed for and be of good quality, in working order and without defects. For example, if you bought a kettle, it must be able to boil water. If it does not, the shop must replace it or fix it.

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According to Article 56, there is an implied guarantee in every transaction that falls under the CPA and goods must comply with the provisions of Article 55. The implied warranty does not apply to gifts, but the person who bought the gift can exercise his rights in terms of articles 55 and 56.

According to Article 57, repairs, which include the parts and labour, have a three-month warranty, but normal wear and tear and inappropriate consumption are not covered. If, for instance your washing machine is repaired and it has the same problem within three months, the company must replace the washing machine that works and has no defects or refund you for the repairs that you paid for.

Express warranty

An express warranty is usually a clear statement about the quality, condition, performance or characteristics of goods and the company warrants that the goods will meet the requirements of the express warranty. The statement that a security gate is “unbreakable” is an example of an express warranty.

Manufacturer’s warranty

The manufacturers’ warranty is usually a guarantee that the product has no defects for a certain time or will otherwise be replaced or you will get your money back. For example, when a bed is guaranteed for 10 years and it breaks after five years, the company must repair the bed or refund your money.

However, consumers must remember that bed warranties usually have a “guarantee” for a certain time and a “warranty” for a few more years. In this case the bed is replaced or repaired free of charge if you complain within the guarantee period, but if you complain within the warranty period, you will pay an amount to have the bed repaired or replaced subject to conditions such as that there must be no stains on the bed.

Extended warranties

An extended warranty is offered when the manufacturer’s warranty expires. You usually buy this warranty for a car or appliance. Consumers must be careful with extended warranties and not just accept that it covers any eventuality. These warranties usually also exclude wear and tear and the malfunction of certain parts.

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