The Importance of Product Registration: Notes to Consumers and Brands

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We all get excited about ordering a new gadget online, receiving it in record time and starting to use it. But how many of us bother to track down the product registration link of the maker and enter all the details to register the product? Very few, in our observation.

2016-08-07 09_42_10-Product Registration _ Support _ Sony India

Why is product registration important?

The first and the foremost reason is to avoid warranty claim issues. Several times, when I registered products I bought (both online and offline) I have noticed discrepancies in the warranty end date. This happens since companies start the warranty date from the date of import / shipment out of their warehouse. When an online product registration is attempted, the consumer would be given the choice to set this date right by uploading a scanned invoice which would later be attended by a support person. Yes, the device maker will update the warranty when you visit the service center (provided you carry an original invoice) but an online update when it’s new, saves time. Also, if your device is something like a hard drive wherein an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) needs to be raised prior to shipping the product to the company by contacting the support center, having the right date updated in their system actually saves a day or two.

A Customer Story

In this DailyO post, Arnab Dasgupta writes about his experience with Sony India and Amazon India. The brief timeline of events –

  1. July 2015 – Arnab orders Sony Xperia Z1 worth Rs. 24999 from Amazon India
  2. June 2016 – the phone develops problems and Arnab takes it to Sony Service Center

The Issue: Sony refused to repair the phone stating the phone was bought in the UAE and they can neither repair it for free under warranty procedure nor provide paid repair services. He claims to have followed up with Amazon India who were reportedly supportive in the beginning but declined to help later on (despite providing Sony’s Denial of Service letter) since the seller was untraceable.

How should Product Registration work?

Since Arnab had provided the phone’s IMEI, I decied to check the reliability of Sony’s product registration website. In my opinion, the website belonging to Sony India should not allow the product to be registered or at least throw a warning stating that the product is outside it’s serviceable boundary. Surprisingly, I faced no issues and the product could be registered successfully.

2016-08-07 10_04_54-Sony Xperia™ My Support

While it is understandable that Sony fetches details from the global handset database, to protect consumers from frauds of this nature, such a note is important. This is important especially since, a similar notification is shown for the service center personnel –

The executive at Sony service centre showed me a message flashing on her computer screen, in bright red, that this phone was sold in the UAE and cannot be serviced in India.

Advise does not constitute legal opinion: I observed that Sony has failed to offer a reliable source for customers to check if a product is genuine and also serviceable (here the product was genuine as it could be registered without issues, but not serviceable in India). Due to the absence of this ability to check, Sony could be held liable to repair the product at no cost. Also read, Legal Options available to telecom consumers: Advocate and Cyber Law Attorney Karthikeyan answers

How e-commerce players like Amazon should act?

While it is unclear from Arnab’s article if the order was fulfilled by Amazon, in case if that was an Amazon Fulfilled order, Amazon should have had better checks in place. While e-commerce players would have a variety of quality checks in place prior to shipping an item, it is unclear if they check if a product is serviceable in the country. Again, as I noted above, this check won’t be possible unless there is an open web link to check those details which can be used by anyone. In the interest of own reputation and consumer interest, we urge Amazon to include such a check to prevent similar frauds. Amazon is certainly in a better position to conduct such checks, especially for high-value products.

Have you faced issues while claiming warranty repair / replacement for goods bought online? Let us know through comments or tweet to me @gischethans.

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