Consumer warranties potential new area of work for ISO

Issue 34 – December 2011

Standards New Zealand is consulting with stakeholders about a potential new area of work for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a guideline Standard on consumer warranties. The proposed Standard would be used by manufacturers and retailers of goods and services to give advice on the requirements for effective warranties, when these warranties are provided with their goods and services.

Problems with goods that are defective or do not conform to the description of the contract are a key reason for consumer complaints. These problems also cause financial and other detriment, both for individual consumers and for the economy as a whole. For example, research in the UK estimates that a third of all country's consumers experience problems with defective goods and substandard services, amounting to a total estimated financial loss to the country's population of £6.6 billion per year (8.4 billion Euro at the time of the study). Although the greatest proportion of this is generated by problems in the professional and financial sectors (46%), loss related to faulty goods is still a large proportion and amounts to many millions of Euros. Such problems also cause wasted time, anger, stress, and additional expense.

The proposed Standard could provide a best practice guide to manufacturers and retailers, providing them with a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and giving consumers some form of redress when things go wrong.

Standards New Zealand is consulting with key stakeholders to form the New Zealand view about whether this field of activity should go ahead at ISO. For more information, or to provide any comments on this proposal, please email isoadmin@standards.co.nz by 16 December 2011.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.