Understanding Consumer Warranties

This article is under review to reflect the changes brought by the Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods.


There are many different terms used to describe the various warranties offered on products.

Here are some of those terms:

  • replacement plan
  • coverage
  • protection
  • satisfaction guaranteed
  • manufacturer’s warranty
  • legal warranty
  • extended warranty
  • insurance
  • “lifetime” warranty

How can you know which warranty applies, when it applies and who is responsible for respecting it?

  1. The basic warranty is the legal warranty. It’s automatic and free of charge.
  2. Other warranties can be added to the legal warranty: a manufacturer’s warranty (also called a “conventional” warranty) and an extended warranty.

Before charging a customer for an extended warranty, merchants must explain the protections offered by the other warranties attached to the product. For example, the legal warranty.

Once consumers are told about these different warranties, it’s up to them to compare them and decide whether they want to pay for extra protection.

Be an informed consumer!