Because today's consumers are generally very demanding regarding the quality of the products they purchase, they accord increasing importance to warranties, which constitute something of a safety net in case of problems.
Under the Consumer Protection Act and Civil Code of Québec, all goods purchased from a merchant are covered by a legal warranty guaranteeing their quality. The legal warranty applies if the merchant or manufacturer pretends to sell the item without a warranty or if the warranty the merchant offers on the item (so-called "conventional" or manufacturer's warranty) offers insufficient coverage.
This legal warranty allows you to demand that the good you are purchasing:
- Has no hidden defects, i.e.:
- A defect that is so significant that you would not have bought the item or paid as much for it had you known about the defect before making the purchase;
- A defect that you were not told about and that you could not have noticed through ordinary examination or a defect that existed before you purchased the item;
- (Note that should the case go to court, the existence of a hidden defect often requires an expert's testimony);
- Is suitable for the use for which it is normally intended;
- Lasts a reasonable length of time, based on the price paid, the contract and the conditions governing its use;
Under the legal warranty, the merchant and manufacturer have obligations regarding the good, whether or not there is another warranty. (Note that no costs may be charged to honour a legal warranty.) These obligations are tied to the item and if you sell it to another consumer, he may take recourse directly against the manufacturer under this same legal warranty. You can also take recourse against a merchant or manufacturer if you injure yourself because you were not warned of the dangers inherent in using an item.
The good or service you purchase must comply, not only with the description in the contract, but also with the merchant's advertising and the salesperson's statements or claims.
The Consumer Protection Act also stipulates that the spare parts and repair services needed to maintain an item must be available for a reasonable length of time. If the merchant or manufacturer wishes to renege on this obligation, he must inform you in writing before the contract is signed.
Finally, it is important to know that you may not have a defective good repaired by a third party without the manufacturer's or merchant's authorization or having first served him formal notice to perform the repair, with risk of losing your rights and recourses. These rules apply to both conventional and extended warranties.