When buying goods online or in physical stores, you can always hear that they come with either a warranty or a guarantee. Many of us don’t think too hard about what those words mean and assume they just mean the same thing. But are they actually interchangeable? Here is the difference between a warranty and a guarantee.
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1. What is a warranty?
When you buy a product from a reputable manufacturer or seller, it typically comes with a warranty. A warranty means the manufacturer is confident in the well-being and longevity of his product. That is why the manufacturer promises to repair the product for free during the warranty period should it go out of order. For example, if you have bought a smartphone and it begins malfunctioning in a few weeks, you typically have the right to take it back to the store and have it repaired for free.
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At the same time, the warranty comes with certain limitations. Not only is there a clearly defined timeframe where you can expect a free repair, but you may be denied the warranty in case it is determined that your own actions led to the malfunction. For example, if the repairman determines that you dropped or drowned your smartphone, you will likely have to cover the repair from your own pocket.
2. What is a guarantee?
A guarantee also promises you a free repair if your purchase begins malfunctioning or loses its properties before the guarantee period runs out. However, a guarantee offers something even more important: a chance to have a malfunctioning product replaced by the manufacturer without any additional charge. When you return to the store with a malfunctioning product, the repairman will first try to repair it, and if his attempt is not successful, the manufacturer will replace the product for free. In case when it’s not possible to both repair and replace the product, the buyer can be entitled to a full or partial refund.
Naturally, a guarantee is only possible when you are buying an already high-quality product. Offering a guarantee to the buyers is a chance for the manufacturer to express his complete confidence in the longevity and quality of the device. That is why you will hardly ever get a full guarantee with entry-level devices – it’s typically reserved to more expensive products that are known for their exceptional quality. There are even manufacturers who give a lifetime guarantee on their products, although those are understandably rare.
3. The difference between a warranty and a guarantee
The key difference between a warranty and a guarantee is that a warranty will only get you a free repair of the product, while with a guarantee, you can have that product either repaired or replaced for free. There are also a few minor differences between the two:
- You can get a refund in some guarantee cases, but never with a warranty.
- A warranty can be extended for free or with an additional payment; a guarantee is almost never extended.
- Warranties are usually given to devices that consist of lots of mechanical parts, such as fridges or washing machine; a guarantee is usually issued to products that are mechanical in nature but have a sturdy, more uniform construction, such as an expensive metal pen.
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