Warning to anyone shopping on holiday abroad – and it could cost you £100s extra | The Sun

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been warned about buying gadgets abroad as international firms are using a loophole to avoid paying warranty claims for overseas purchases.

Panasonic, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, won't uphold warranties for electrical goods bought overseas, the Sun has learned.

The Sun understands it will only honour the warranty if the claim is made in the country the item was purchased – something many of its travelling customers may not realise at the checkout.

This means tourists buying gadgets such as cameras abroad could face a huge bill if the item breaks when they get home.

And Panasonic isn't the only retailer with such stringent rules.

The Sun understands rival Canon also won't pay out if an item bought online from certain regions overseas breaks within its usual warranty period.


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A warranty is a guarantee from a retailer or manufacturer to repair or replace a faulty item within a certain time frame.

Lawyer Adam Cannon was shocked when his Panasonic LX 100 camera, worth almost £300, broke just a few months after he bought it from B and H cameras – one of the biggest camera stores in New York.

Adam, from London, purchased the camera on a trip to the Big Apple in November last year.

But when he came to use it in May, he found the camera had developed an error with its focus and the lens would not retract, rendering it useless.

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He spoke to Panasonic customer services online, as the camera was still within the one-year warranty period, and a staff member told him to get in touch with a repair company that would fix the camera under warranty.

The repair cost him £254, which he paid up front after this advice.

But when he tried to claim on the warranty, Panasonic refused and said it would only be honoured in the country of purchase, meaning he would have to fork out even more to get it over to the US.

When the Sun spoke to Panasonic, it refused to budge and reiterated that its warranties are only applied in the country of purchase.

Consumer expert Martyn James said: "Warranties are among the worst of the insurance products – some are so prohibitively worded it's hard to see that they'd pay out for anything. 

"But most people expect an international brand to be just that – international – and the customer service likewise.

"For example, if I buy something from an Apple Shop, I expect to be able to go into an Apple Shop anywhere in the world to get it fixed if there's a problem."

Canon said its warranties cover "regions", so in the UK you would be covered for gadgets bought within Europe but not from other regions, such as Asia or the US, for example.

The Sun understands Canon will check items within a warranty period bought from other regions for free to assess the problem, but will then provide a quote to have them repaired.

Panasonic declined to comment.

Warranties aren't the only way shoppers are being stung when they buy goods abroad.

Travellers are also being ripped off on prices in airport duty-free sections, recent research shows.

Research from data firm Price Spy found popular products such as perfumes and makeup were found to be cheaper online than in duty-free two thirds of the time.

What can I do if a shop refuses to refund me?

You have certain rights as a customer when you purchase items in the UK that companies have to adhere to.

For example, if the item you bought is broken or damaged, isn't what was advertised or doesn't match the seller's description, you're legally entitled to get a replacement or refund within 30 days of purchase.

If you order an item online, you can return it within 14 days, even if there's nothing wrong with it.

You can usually return faulty goods within a six-month period and get a refund if the seller is unable to prove they weren't faulty when you bought them.

Mr James said: "Even after this you should still be able to get a repair or replacement, though the onus switches to you to prove the item is faulty or didn't last a reasonable amount of time."

If you bought the item on a credit card, you have some protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – but this isn't guaranteed.

Retailers can also make you send the item back, which can be costly if you bought it abroad.

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It's always a good idea to ask a company about its refund and warranty policy before handing over a large sum of money, and if you can, get something in writing.

If you think a shop is treating you unfairly, you can raise a complaint with a mediator like Resolver.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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