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Appliance Consumer Rights Help

Warranty Problems On Commercial Premises

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  Appliance Commercial Use

If you think you will be covered by the warranty for a domestic appliance on a commercial property you better read this

Appliances in an office are unlikely to carry any warrantyWe get a lot of calls, often passed with no company details, for domestic appliances installed in commercial premises and this is a very "grey" area.

Domestic appliances are, by their very name alone, are designed, tested and intended for a domestic environment and not for commercial purposes. This equates, on for example, a washer to be about an average of 1-2 washes a day whereas in a commercial premises like a pub this could equate easily to 4 or 5 cycles a day. The point being that in the initial twelve months the machine could have easily had, in usage terms as intended by the manufacturer, three or four years of use! The same equation applies to all domestic appliances, quite simply, they were not intended to take that kind of abuse.

Many manufacturers will not even attend to or offer a warranty on an appliance in commercial premises and the repairs, even within the first year, may well become fully chargeable to the owner. This is irrespective of the usage as neither the manufacturer nor a service engineer can tell the usage on the appliance.

However, there are some companies that do offer the warranty in certain types of premises but my advice is to check *before* you buy the appliance as afterwards it's too late.

The same rules apply to extended warranties as well, if you do buy one with that appliance for commercial use check that the insurance company will honour the warranty. My advice is don't trust the salesperson unless you physically see them check the validity of it in such circumstances or you have it in writing.

If you do buy a domestic appliance and put it in commercial premises you have to be prepared to accept that you will probably suffer from a higher failure rate and that the level of service you receive will, most likely, not match what you would receive should you have chosen to use a proper commercial appliance. Of course, this is a monetary argument as a commercial appliance generally costs many times what a domestic one would, but you have to ask yourself, can you afford the downtime should it break down?

Situated On A Commercial Property Can Invalidate The Warranty

Many people do not understand that, even a domestic appliance being situated on a commercial property can lead to a warranty being reduced or even revoked completely. The reason is that the manufacturer is not aware of the level of use, the number of users, how the machine is being used and a host of other factors but, in all likelihood, the machine is not being subjected to normal domestic use and that is the conclusion that will usually be drawn.

These days, with satellite images, Google Street View and other means, it is very easy for manufacturers and warranty companies to pull up the property on the Internet and see if it is a business address, if it is or there is a business registered at the address then they may well invalidate the warranty.

And, please don't think that because it is a residential building that this will save you as, it won't if the machine is being used on a commercial level.

Types of small business that get caught out with this often include:

  • Farms, every working farm is a commercial premise
  • Homes that offer bed and breakfast commercially
  • Pubs
  • Clubs
  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Hotels
  • Bakeries
  • Riding centres
  • Shops
  • Business units

As you can see, almost every single type of commercial activity will lead to the conclusion that the machine is in commercial use and sometimes even rented accomodation can be counted in here as well, especially student accommodation.

Response From White Knight Tumble Dryers

This is a response to the article about Commercial Premises.

As a manufacturer (White Knight) we have issued guidelines to our repair agents that if there is any doubt whether or not an appliance to be repaired is being used in a commercial environment, get in touch with us and if we make the decision that it is ok to go out, then we'll give an authorisation number to go ahead. This will ensure that the invoice gets paid when it comes through, even if it ultimately transpires that the job is actually outside the terms of our warranty.

Kindly submitted by Grant Hood from Crosslee

Conclusion On Commercial Properties

In summation, our advice is that if you will have commercial or semi-commercial usage of an appliance steer clear of the domestic appliances.

If you ask the technician to "put it through as okay" you have to realise you are asking them to commit fraud. That is a crime. If they get caught then at best they'd lose their job, at worst could end up with jail time so when they say "no", don't be shocked.

You will be much better served and, most likely cheaper in the long term, investing in a decent commercially rated appliance that was built for the job.

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