Big ticket items
With the economy not in the best shape, many of us will be putting off buying dream items like a new plasma TV or the latest laptop. But when your old fridge is leaking all over the floor, you may not have much of a choice when it comes to getting a big ticket item.
You might be tempted to buy the most expensive up-to-date product as an ’investment’. Remember though, in a few months that model will be standard and there will be new must-have qualities in a flasher version.
Do some research to find out what’s available at the moment, and compare that to what you actually need. A lot of whizz-bang features may make you a proud owner, but when you can’t figure out how to use it you may wish you’d picked out a simpler model.
Buying on credit
Do a budget and work out if you can afford the repayments. Even with a “pay nothing for a year” deal you’ll eventually have to pay for your purchase. If you can’t pay for it now, will you really be able to pay for it later?
Read the contract carefully and look for the interest rate and any fees. Check what will happen if you can’t make your payments and if you’re in a shop and getting the hard sell - pop outside for some fresh air, or get some independent advice.
You can cancel a consumer credit contract in the first few days but if you already have the goods and have been given the contract documents, then you can only cancel the credit - you’ll still have to come up with the cash to pay for the goods. If you don’t have the goods yet, then you can cancel the whole deal. You get three working days to cancel after you receive a copy of the contract and correct disclosure has been made or you can cancel at any time if you haven’t got those documents yet.
Do you need an extended warranty?
Short answer – no! After bargain hunting, do you really want to splash out on an unnecessary warranty? The Consumer Guarantees Act says that if you buy goods that aren’t of an acceptable quality then you can go back to the trader to get the problem sorted out.
If the problem is minor the trader has to either repair or replace the product or give you a refund. If the problem is major, or causes a safety risk, then you are entitled to reject the product and get a refund or replacement, or, you are entitled to compensation for any reduction in the value of the product.
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, the product must be of acceptable quality and so should last for a reasonable time. It’s not reasonable for a new fridge to fail after two years, or a new kettle to last only six months. An extended warranty might not give you any extra protection than this.
However, the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t always cover goods used for business, so an extended warranty can be useful for this. Check the terms and conditions of the extended warranty to see whether it covers your situation.
Visit here for more information about your consumer rights, [link] or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.