Partner Links:

What happens if the product fails? List of companies with best warranty service

Those who live in remote rural areas and decide to buy a solar product should not only consider quality and price but also the warranty. What happens when the solar lamp or Solar-Home-System doesn’t work?

Service of the local company
This concerns first of all the local company from which the product was purchased: is there a service station within reach? Or must the customer specifically go to the capital, only to repair a minor fault? Many solar products are only so cheap because they are sold from the shelf and a network for service and maintenance doesn’t exist. Other companies focus on customer proximity and only sell their products where maintenance and repair are guaranteed. But to set up a rural service network costs time and money - which is also reflected in the price of the products. However, for customers in rural areas the following applies: who buys cheap, buys expensive in the end.

Manufacturer’s warranty
If a rural service station exists, then the additional question about the warranty of the manufacturer arises. The best solution is when the manufacturer has a certified repair shop on site, which also has the necessary spare parts. The reality is usually different. Such formulation is typical: "Purchaser must send back the product to manufacturer. Purchaser is required to bear all transportation costs to the repair base." Since most products are manufactured in China or India, this is a time and money consuming process, and therefore totally unacceptable from a customer perspective.

Warranty or Guarantee?
The terms warranty and guarantee are often mixed. They describe however two completely different services:

  • Warranty
    Warranty means that the seller is responsible, that the goods sold are free from material defects and deficiencies. Therefore, the seller is liable for all defects that already existed at the time of sale, including those hidden defects that only became apparent later. The warranty period is usually longer than the guarantee period.
  • Guarantee
    The guarantee promise is an additional voluntary service from the retailer and / or the manufacturer. The guarantee commitment is mostly related to the operational capability of certain parts (or the entire device) over a given period. In case of a guarantee, the condition of the product at the time of delivery to the customer is irrelevant, as the functioning over this period is guaranteed.

An important difference between warranty and guarantee is as follows:

  • Guarantee: assures an unconditional indemnification
  • Warranty: defines a temporary rectification commitment only for defects that already existed at the time of sale 

Minimum requirement:
Which minimum requirements should the manufacturer and supplier meet?

  • 2 years warranty; 1 year guarantee
  • for solar panels  additionally 25 years guarantee on 80% of performance

The best companies
sun-connect has checked the guarantee services of the most popular manufacturer of solar lamps and solar-home-systems. The result is surprising: only four manufacturers meet the mentioned requirements (in alphabetical order):

  • Barefoot Power (Australia)
  • SunTransfer (Germany)
  • Trony Solar Holdings (China)
  • Uniglobe (Korea)

Important: rural service network
But above all, what is important for the customer besides the manufacturer's performance is if there is a national service network on site. Only this service network makes the warranty services actually available. Otherwise, it is not worth the paper on which it is printed.