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Microsoft Surface tablet's one year warranty flouts EU laws

Highlights growing problem of product vendors ignoring two-year EU warranty law in UK
Thu Oct 18 2012, 17:16
A Microsoft Surface tablet showing the Windows 8 metro interface and windows 8 logo

MICROSOFT is offering only a one-year warranty on its Surface tablet that is set to ship in the UK next week, despite an EU law that says hardware must come with at least a two-year warranty.

The one-year warranty period is stated clearly on Microsoft's UK store where the 32GB and 64GB models are available to preorder.

The small print on the warranty section of the webpage claims, "[The] Surface comes with a guaranteed one-year limited warranty. If you'd like additional protection of your Surface, you can purchase an extended support plan (Microsoft Complete for Surface)."

The Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees directive states, "The seller is liable to the consumer for any lack of conformity which exists when the goods are delivered to the consumer and which becomes apparent within a period of two years".

We have contacted the EU press office to ask for comment regarding Microsoft's Surface tablet warranty period. We are also awaiting a response from Microsoft regarding the issue. Surprisingly, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) too has so far failed to respond to our requests for comment regarding the matter.

The Surface tablet's one-year warranty highlights the ongoing problem that in most cases, product vendors selling devices in the UK are refusing to honour warranties beyond the normal one-year period. This is because the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees directive, which should have been implemented in the UK by January 2002, is still seen as a grey area in the UK right now.

As a result, it seems vendors are tricking customers into believing they have just one year to return their product for replacement or repair after purchase. Those that are aware of the two-year EU law have to go to court to resolve any issues outside the one-year warranty period, and who can be afford or even be bothered with that?

Microsoft isn't the only culprit, of course. Apple, too, is guilty of not adhering to the two-year warranty law with all of its Idevices currently shipping in the UK, such as the Ipad that comes with a one-year product warranty. In fact, a simple Google search will show you that most manufacturers only provide a one-year guarantee with their products.

If Microsoft is going to follow suit and not take note of the rules like other computer vendors, it should at least not allow its executives to set a bad example and encourage future customers to use the Surface tablet as a skateboard.

Microsoft revealed the pricing of its tablets running the RT version of Windows 8 on Tuesday. Open for preorder now, the Surface tablet starts at £399.99 for the 32GB model, which is available with the touch cover keyboard for £479. The 64GB version is priced at £559 and is bundled with the keyboard-cover hybrid. µ


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