Black Friday Warranties

Thursday, November 27th 2008, 6:51 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

If you're like me, you've spent Thanksgiving scouring over the ads, looking bargains. As you head out for those 5 a.m. store openings, know there is something called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law governing warranties on consumer products.

Although the act does not require a company to provide a written warranty, if one is provided, the act spells out the definition of a full and a limited warranty, how a warranty is worded and so on.

One of the reasons for the act was Congress wanted to ensure consumers could get complete information about warranty terms and conditions before they make a purchase. The big point here for you the consumer is the requirement for a store to have written warranties available for you to review before you buy a product. This can be important if you're buying something from a store that will charge you a "restocking fee" of 15 percent or so if you return a product that has been opened. Even if you opened it so you could get to the warranty to read it.

Knowing the warranty can be very important.

I went into an office supply store to checkout a HDTV they had in their Sunday ad. At one location, when I asked to see the warranty they said they had never heard of such a thing and they weren't going to open a boxed TV to show it to me. At another of this chain's stores again there were no warranties to read, but on a little sign for the TV there was one line that stated the warranty only covered labor for 90-days. I'd say that was an important thing to know when buying a TV costing hundreds of dollars.

I know holiday shopping can be hectic and sometimes you've waited in line to be able to grab something that's a good deal, but when spending your money you might want to get the product in your cart and then ask to see the warranty. Prevent a possible unpleasant surprise later by knowing before you leave the store.