Are product warranties still seen as confusing?

Despite offering consumers numerous benefits, product warranties can sometimes be viewed as confusing – but this doesn’t have to be the case. Installers are best placed to educate consumers on the true value of a good warranty, and potentially save them vast amounts of money down the line. Jon Phillips, head of product management at Baxi, explains more.
According to a recent uSwitch survey while a fifth of households have suffered a heating breakdown, only 36 per cent will consider boiler warranties. In hard financial times, understandably householders may not want the extra cost of cover. However, in the long-run, the right warranty could save consumers a lot of money, time and stress.
An extended warranty not only provides valuable peace of mind for homeowners, it also enables installers to profit from a ‘fit and forget’ solution. However, both parties need to be clear about what is and isn’t covered.
Many of us are guilty of skipping over the small print, but when it comes to warranties, installers must encourage their customers to read it to prevent any nasty surprises down the road. Often, the devil lies in the detail. For instance, a five-year warranty could actually only be made up of a three-year guarantee on parts, and just two years on labour, which can be awfully confusing for the consumer.
Equally confusing is the sheer amount of jargon warranties are often filled with, let alone the difference between a warranty and a guarantee. The reality is there is little to no difference, and installers are in the perfect position to be educating their consumers on the facts of the agreement they could be entering into, and what really lies beneath the complex terminology.
Once the homeowner has activated their warranty, they must be made aware of how to avoid invalidating their agreement. The boiler must be regularly serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions by a Gas Safe registered installer. If they don’t, the manufacturer can refuse to cover the cost of the repair in the event of any breakdown. For consumers, having their boiler regularly serviced is always a good idea, as the installer will make sure the appliance is safe and running reliably and to its optimum performance.
A key benefit of the Baxi Works loyalty scheme is that installers don’t need to get in touch with customers ahead of their upcoming service, because we will do that for them. Every new boiler registered by a Baxi Works member generates an annual reminder for the homeowners, so they know when it’s time to contact their installer to arrange a service at a time that suits them.
In the meantime, it’s vital to give homeowners a rundown on basic maintenance. Issues such as re-pressurising the boiler may sound intimidating to the general public, but as all installers will know, it is an easy fix. Educating customers on simple tasks such as adjusting system pressure, recognising common error codes, and bleeding radiators reduces the need for unnecessary call-outs and builds essential trust.
A key thing for installers to mention is the importance of avoiding non-genuine parts. Not only could a cheaper, fake part invalidate the homeowner’s warranty, it will not provide the same level of safety as a manufacturer-approved component. However, by emphasising the importance of only using a trusted, appropriately qualified gas engineer, this should not affect homeowners.
Ultimately, extended warranties are great news for installers, offering the promise of regular servicing work and happier customers. By reading the terms and conditions of the warranty carefully and ensuring each party understands their obligations, engineers can give their customers peace of mind and a hassle-free experience.
Nothing shows the confidence a manufacturer has in its products more than an extended warranty, and Baxi offers warranties of up to 10 years across its popular range of domestic boilers. For more information please visit www.warranty.baxi.co.uk