Faulty goods and substandard services are a significant cost to consumers and society as a whole. Consumer warranties offer assurance that if there is a problem with the article that has been purchased, it will either be replaced or repaired.
However, consumer warranties aren’t always clear, and sometimes provide less protection than they promise.
To combat this issue, the International Organization for Standardization is working to develop a new standard to remove confusion and frustration around consumer warranties. The standard aims to provide guidelines for clear and effective consumer warranties, improve confidence for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers.
The standard is intended to be used by manufacturers or retailers of goods and services to set out best practices and requirements for effective warranties.
Saral James Maniam, secretary of the newly formed ISO project committee ISO/PC 303 that is developing the standard – led by Standards Malaysia, ISO’s member for the country – said the exponential growth potential of e-commerce that crosses international boundaries increases the need for clarifying consumer rights in terms of warranties and guarantees.
“Despite numerous laws and regulations related to consumer rights, warranties and guarantees remain a significant problem,” Maniam said. “This standard aims to put in place international benchmarks that not only give consumers a minimum level of redress, but reduce purchasing risks and provide a competitive advantage for brands.
“It can also serve as a basis to reinforce laws and regulations and clarify responsibilities when goods and services don’t work as intended.”
The new standard will be developed with guidance drawn from ISO/IEC Guide 14:2003, Purchase information on goods and services intended for consumers, and will include the input of consumer and standardization experts from around the world.
Individuals interested in being involved in the development of the new standard are encouraged to contact their national ISO member.