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Enforcing a Warranty

If a product is defective, the defect will show up immediately in most cases. When it does, customers can request that the seller or manufacturer fix or replace the defective merchandise. If the seller or manufacturer refuses, or if any repair work fails to fix the defect in the product, customers may have to take additional steps in order to resolve the problem.

If the product has not been completely paid for (e.g. something purchased on an installment plan), customers may choose to withhold payment. If they made the purchase with their credit card, they can call the credit company and instruct them to refuse payment for the purchase. Customers should use this strategy with care because not every problem or defect is serious enough to permit them to stop payment. It may be best to try to work out a compromise with the seller. If the seller refuses to cooperate, it may be helpful to seek assistance or mediation services through the local Better Business Bureau mediation program.

If informal means do not work, customers may have to resort to litigation. In most states, there is a statute of limitations on breach of warranty lawsuits. Typically, the statute tolls within four years of when customers discovered the defect.

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