When purchasing cell phones, consumers should rely more on aspects such as the quality of the phone, and the service that the seller provides. They should do so when purchasing a phone without a contract, but also when getting a ‘free’ phone that comes with a contract. Some providers offer more services than others such as very short repair times or a free replacement phone in case of repairs.
These are some of the conclusions that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has drawn in its market scan into compliance with the warranty rules for cell phones. In this market scan, ACM did not find any structural problems against which it should take any enforcement action. However, ACM does recommend consumers to keep an eye on sellers, whether they apply the rules correctly.
In case of problems that do not fall under the manufacturer’s warranty, consumers can still fall back on their ‘normal’ warranty rights. This means that consumers are entitled to a well-functioning device. If used normally over a certain period (the expected lifetime), the device should work fine without any problems. If consumers wish to find out more about their warranty rights, they can visit www.consuwijzer.nl (in Dutch), which is the consumer information portal of ACM.
Another finding in the market scan is that sellers, manufacturers and consumers have different ideas of what exactly ‘normal usage’ of cell phones means. Manufacturers and sellers could give consumers clearer information about their interpretations. Meanwhile, consumers could also find out more about whether the phone they wish to purchase is the right choice when thinking about their intended usage thereof. For example, consumers could also take into consideration aspects such as whether the phone is resistant to shocks, dust and water.
ACM discussed the results of the market scan with a large number of market participants. They wish to improve their information to consumers about what they consider normal usage. In addition, they will do their best to reduce repair times.