By Claire Reilly
Concerns are mounting over the fate of warranty provider United Warranties as key retail and supplier partners withdraw their support for the company. Myer has ceased selling extended warranties from the company, while Bush Australia has confirmed that it is no longer providing manufacturer’s warranties from United on its products.
Following mounting disquiet within the industry regarding the future of United, Current.com.au spoke to Myer’s head of corporate affairs about the status of the department store’s warranty offering.
“We were aware that there are issues affecting United, who are our current warranty supplier,” said Jo Lynch, Myer’s general manager of corporate affairs. “As a result of that, we’ve ceased the sale of warranties until we’ve resolved those issues.”
When pressed as to whether Myer would be selling extended warranties through another supplier, Lynch reiterated that the company had “ceased selling warranties” on products. She did not have a timeline on when the issues with United were expected to be resolved, only that Myer was “keeping our customers informed as the issue evolves.
“I’m not going to comment on what their [United’s] issues may or may not be,” she added. “But we’re working through with United to resolve any issues we’ve got with customers at the moment, and working through a process to honour any current warranties we’ve got.”
Current.com.au has also spoken to Daniel Todd, managing director of Bush Australia, who confirmed that the company provides manufacturer’s warranties through United Warranties and that the partnership was ongoing. He would not comment further on issues that may have arisen with the warranty provider.
However, the company released a statement confirming that it was having “difficulties” with its warranty provider.
“Bush Australia, (Marketers of Bush, Grundig and iLuv brands in Australia) is currently aware of difficulties with their warranty and service provider,” the statement read. “During this period, all warranty and service issues will be handled directly by Bush Australia. Customers should contact their retailer, who will liaise with Bush. Once a solution has been reached, a further announcement will be made.”
Current.com.au has spoken to a number of retail stores that have previously worked with United, or that are currently engaged with the company for warranty services, including Woolworths Limited’s dedicated big box chain, Big W.
Big W is still advertising United warranty products as add-on purchases to products on its website. This website contacted a representative from Woolworths Limited for comment on its relationship with United, and the validity of warranties purchased by consumers at Big W, however no responses were made available by the time of publishing.
Other retailers have spoken about difficulties contacting the warranty provider to follow up customer claims, as well as their confusion surrounding the situation. Several retailers noted that calls from their staff and affected customers had gone unanswered this week, as United all but disappeared off the radar. Calls placed by Current.com.au to several United contact numbers have also gone unanswered, and although the company’s website is still online, the security certificates on both the Big W and Myer warranty activation microsites have expired.
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Big W is still advertising product care plans from United Warranties on its website.