The apparent sales tactics used to 'sneak warranties' into purchases

In a Reddit post, a person claiming to be an employee or ex-employee of Noel Leeming alleges there are issues around selling extended warranties as part of a "package deal" to customers.
In a Reddit post, a person claiming to be an employee or ex-employee of Noel Leeming alleges there are issues around selling extended warranties as part of a "package deal" to customers. Photo credit: Getty Images.

A man claiming to have worked at a major appliance store has revealed the apparent sales tactics used to 'sneak warranties' into purchases.

He alleges salespeople are sneaky about selling extended warranties and customers could potentially run into issues if they try to get it refunded.

Taking his concerns to Reddit in a post in early June, the man, who claims to "have been" or "currently are" a Noel Leeming employee, says a major tactic used by salespeople is offering customers a "package deal" that includes a discounted warranty.

As an example, a salesperson might say, "normally the warranty for this laptop is $250 but we can work out a package deal and just make it $50".

However the receipt will show a discount has only been applied to the product - leaving customers still paying full price for the warranty.

"Please do check your receipts, or your friends and families receipts, especially your elderly," he warns.

And the man says if customers ask for the warranty to be cancelled and refunded, salespeople may be reluctant to refund it as it will affect their stats.

"They will pull some b******* about package deals and say they can't refund that. Get the warranty refunded and make sure you keep that discount on the product you were sold," the post says.

In a response to Newshub, Jonathan Waecker, chief customer officer at Noel Leeming confirmed as is usual for large retailers, salespeople are eligible for commission on every product sold.  

He said products can be discounted for different reasons. It’s common for customers to ask for customised pricing - particularly if they’re buying multiple products, or if they ask Noel Leeming to match a competitor’s price. 

Regardless of the current price, customers entitled to a refund on a product are refunded the amount shown on the receipt. 

"Any product eligible for a refund would be refunded based on what the customer has paid for the product (as per the receipt) regardless of what the price may be at time of return," Waecker added.

He said Noel Leeming plan offerings are designed to give "clarity and comfort" to customers when the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t apply.

"These optional plans include benefits that go above and beyond what the Consumer Guarantees Act includes, such as assured replacement on any products under $500, unlimited free Technical Helpdesk Support for 30 days, 30 days price protection and no cost of assessment if a product fault is found not to be covered, for example water damage found in a phone," Waecker said.

Jessica Wilson, head of research at Consumer NZ, said paying extra for an extended warranty is "rarely worth it". 

"We’re yet to find an extended warranty that we think offers good value for money," Wilson said.

In most cases, she says, customers are paying for protection they already have under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

"The Act requires products to be of acceptable quality. That includes being fit for purpose, durable and safe. If a product doesn’t measure up, you’re entitled to go back to the retailer and ask [them] to put things right," Wilson added.

If the fault is minor, the retailer is obliged to either repair or replace the item, or provide a refund.  If the fault is major, the customer can choose whether to receive a replacement or a refund.

She confirms customers who are sold a "package deal" that combines a product with an extended warranty are legally entitled to cancel the warranty within the 5-day cooling-off period.

"You’re legally entitled to cancel the warranty agreement within the cooling-off period and request a refund. The refund should be the price you paid for the warranty that’s shown on your receipt," Wilson added.

Customers who think they’ve been misled by a retailer are able to make a complaint to the Commerce Commission.