With the holidays behind us, many are excitedly using new tools and gadgets received from loved ones. The holidays can mean some big surprises and big-ticket items, but what happens when that new computer for mom or riding lawn mower for dad konks out prematurely? Luckily, the season’s joy doesn’t have to be cut off when you receive a defective product.
We reached out to top Farah attorneys to see what the law says about defective products and what options are available to consumers to get a refund or replacement.
What the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Does for Consumers
Way back in 1975, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2312) directed the Federal Trade Commission to develop a brand new set of rules for written warranties. The Act made it so warranties had to meet specific standards, but also provided consumers with certain remedies for when there is a breach of warranty or service contract obligations.
Tom Normandeau, Managing Attorney for Farah and Farah Jacksonville, explains that even without a warranty, consumers can still get an item fixed or receive a refund. Because of the Magnuson Moss Act, “You have that security that you can go after the manufacturer and get a repair paid for,” said Tom.
The holidays can see gifts of big-ticket items like TVs and appliances, golf carts, yard equipment, and more. Tom explains that a defective products attorney is most helpful if the item is above $5,000 in value, as anything under that threshold is something a consumer can generally handle on their own. Still, the Magnuson Moss Act applies to all consumer items—from RVs to toaster ovens—which means consumers are protected for purchases big and small.
How to Return Christmas Gifts Without All the Hassle
No one likes to face the dreaded returns department at the big box stores, and the hassle seems to only increase the more expensive the item. If your gift is sub-par, you have options available under the law. The best case scenario is to have a manufacturer eager to make things right and get you the repair or replacement you need. Sadly, with decades of fighting big businesses, we have seen countless times when a company falls short of its warranty or service contract and simply says, “Sorry, there is nothing we can do about it.”
Actions you can take if you have a defective gift include:
- Document all of the repairs. One of the biggest things is clear documentation at every step. The consumer will need to document that they’re giving it a good-faith effort of trying to fix a product and keep all records of what occurs. When you’ve gone through several repairs and the product still isn’t fixed, that’s when it’s time to go after the manufacturer.
- If there is a warranty, go through the process. The warranty is a contract, and both parties must abide by its terms. Start the warranty process and follow the steps. If that process doesn’t work or you hit a snag, you can always discuss your options with an attorney.
- Get the help of an experienced defective products attorney. A busted toaster oven might not be something you would want to hire an attorney for, but bigger ticket items certainly are. Some of the most common consumer protection cases our firm takes on are on products in the $5,000 to $15,000 range. Seasoned consumer protection attorneys like Farah and Farah’s Josh Kaleel dedicate their careers to helping make things right for consumers who have received a “lemon”.
The important thing to remember is that you have a support system during this process. Companies can try and delay or make excuse after excuse as to why the repair isn’t completed. When manufacturers don’t abide by their own warranty or service agreement, it’s time to get an advocate who won’t stop fighting for you until they do.
Getting A Low-Ball Offer from Insurance or the Warranty Department? We’ll Fight for You!
Getting the warranty department or insurance company to cover defective products can be a major hassle. Being “client-first” isn’t a motto or slogan; it’s who we are and how we operate. If you’re getting the runaround on a defective product, we’re here to help make it right.
You can reach out to our team any time of the day or night, weekend or holiday, and a friendly, knowledgeable Farah and Farah representative will be available to outline what options you have available and help you start the process.