Current Affairs

Consumer: warranties and wine bottles

It stands to reason that a brand-new product should come with a brand-new warranty, but this isn’t always the case. It all depends on the manufacturer. Here’s what you need to know.

By Kevin Milne

I recently bought a gas bottle with a one-year warranty. The bottle developed a fault just two months after I bought it.

I returned the bottle under the terms of the warranty and the supplier was happy to replace it with a new bottle. But the supplier deducted two months off the new warranty period because I’d already had two months use from the first bottle. I felt I should get a full warranty with a new bottle. What do you think?

I completely agree. But the terms and conditions of a warranty are determined by the manufacturer. If they stipulate in a warranty that when goods are replaced the new warranty merely continues where the old one finishes off, that’s the way it is. But it is wrong. In my opinion, all replacement goods should be accompanied by a brand-new warranty. This also happens to be the opinion of some of this country’s largest and most successful retailers.

I remember back in my Fair Go days, the owner of Briscoes, Rod Duke, sending a letter to all his stores ensuring they understood that full warranties should accompany all replacement goods. This followed a similar argument over a toaster that had to be replaced. So make your feelings known to the supplier of the gas bottle.

But you need to know that you would not be in a strong position should you decide to take the matter to the Disputes Tribunal, for example. And next time, buy a different brand.

Wine labels

You may remember last year, a reader complained to this column about the labelling of a Waikoukou Valley Old North Road Pinot Noir 2012 (NZWW 12.8.13). She thought she was buying a New Zealand wine. But when she got home, she noticed, in tiny print, the words “Wine of Chile”. She felt she’d been misled by the wording of the labels on the bottle and so did I. I formally complained to the Commerce Commission on the reader’s behalf. This provoked a story in the New Zealand Herald. The Commerce Commission agreed to look into the matter and I finally have a response from its senior investigator, Richard Morgan. Seems they didn’t like the labelling either.

“We have finished our investigation into the labelling on the Waikoukou Valley Pinot Noir 2012 which you brought to our attention. We agree that the place of origin is not as clear as it should be and the wording on the back label could be misleading. Treasury Wines Estate (TWE) have been informed of our investigation and are aware of the media attention that the label received. The 2013 label is different to the 2012 and the place of origin is clearer and less likely to mislead the consumer. I have sent them a letter informing them that we will be taking no further action against them but I also added that the commission has the opinion the label could be misleading and in the future needs to be clearer. TWE has all intentions to comply with the Fair Trading Act. This concludes our investigation.”

I will be keeping a close eye on future labels.

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