For those who like to buy electronic home appliances of well known brands, but find the prices too steep, the 'factory seconds' offer a good option. Outlets selling these products offer anything from air-conditioners and refrigerators to washing machines and television sets at highly discounted prices and most often, they are categorised as 'seconds' by manufacturers and sold through these outlets because of some dents or scratches sustained during transportation.
However, before buying such products, you have to make sure that the damage is only external and that there is no defect or deficiency in the functioning of the product. It is also advisable to scrutinise the product and get the retailer to point out the defects at the time of purchase, in the cash receipt. It is equally important to ensure that the product comes with a proper warranty /guarantee given by the manufacturer.
Kavitha Menon: I wanted a large refrigerator with two (side-by-side) doors, but could not afford one. Now I have found one which is available at 40 per cent discount at a factory seconds outlet. It has two large dents, but the shopkeeper says that otherwise it is in perfect condition and brand new. If something were to go wrong, will I have the same rights that I would otherwise have if I had bought a brand new refrigerator?
Let me assure you that even if you have bought 'factory seconds', you are still a consumer under the consumer Protection Act and you have a right to a fair deal and proper redress of your complaint. In other words, the product should fully fit the description or the assurances about the quality made by the dealer. If, for example, he has pointed out two dents on the surface of the fridge and assured you that there are no other defects or damages, then it should be so.
If there are any other damages or defects or if the refrigerator does not function properly, then it will be categorised as a 'defective' product under the consumer protection Act and you are entitled to redress of your complaint. And this redress includes replacement of defective parts, or replacing the defective machine with a defect-free machine or refund of the cost of the product, besides compensation for any loss or suffering caused.
You must also remember that even a product labelled as 'seconds' should be (a) of merchantable quality, (b) fit for the purpose for which it is sold and (c) usable.
And with these products, the damage or the defect should be restricted to what is pointed out to you.