HP does not make finding its product warranty easy, and when you find it, it can contain a surprise or two.
Right in the middle of printing his tax return last April, MrConsumer’s HP laser printer konked out. Luckily, he had purchased a replacement HP several years earlier when it was on sale. Upon opening the box, I was curious about the warranty that came with the new printer. The warranty card or statement was nowhere to be found.
I had a vague memory that the law may allow a manufacturer of an electronic item to provide the warranty on a CDROM. Sure enough, when scouring the FTC’s website, an 2009 opinion letter popped up in which a lawyer who represented a computer and printer manufacturer asked whether his company could fulfill the requirements of the law by including the warranty either on the hard drive or on a disk instead of on paper.
The opinion stated in part:
“In passing the Act, Congressâ€™s intent was to ensure that consumers receive clear and complete information about warranty coverage pre-sale, and that consumers be able to retain a copy of the warranty post-sale for reference in case of product failure. In the opinion of FTC staff, those purposes are sufficiently accomplished by providing, in electronic form, a copy of a written consumer product warranty that otherwise complies with the requirements and prohibitions of the Warranty Act and Rules â€“ provided the warranted consumer products include clear, conspicuous, and easy-to-follow instructions on how to access the warranty information provided on the consumer productâ€™s internal drive or on an accompanying CD or DVD [color added] and that a consumer can print out a paper copy of the warranty if needed.”
Popping the included CD into the computer did not produce any message of where on the CD one could read the warranty. Browsing the CD’s file contents revealed dozens of files and subdirectories, with no file labeled as “warranty”. Even the readme file made no mention of the warranty.
In short, HP did not provide clear and easy instructions on how to find the warranty required to be included in the box. But then again, this was a 2006 printer, packaged three years before the FTC gave its opinion that it was now okay not to include a printed warranty. Hmmm.
When the warranty was finally found online, it contained a most unusual disclosure:
“HP products may contain remanufactured parts equivalent to new in performance or may have been subject to incidental use.”
What? This brand new printer may be made with used and then reconditioned parts? This is supposed to be a brand new printer from the most well known printer company in the world. And why would such a disclosure not be on the outside of the box rather than be hidden in one file on the disk inside the box?
If any Mouse Print* readers have an HP printer purchased in 2010 or later, it would be interesting to see if there are instructions on how to find the warranty in the box or on the CD, and whether it comes up as a menu item when popping in the disk.