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I have a Nokia smartphone with a defect that I will send in for repair under warranty. I was warned by fellow co-workers and by reviews on the internet that the only repair shop authorized to repair the phone under warranty in my town is always overcrowded and people take hours to be serviced. I believe that this is done to discourage clients from accessing warranty services.

There is no law saying how long a client can wait to be serviced for warranty services in all jurisdictions that I know (in my case I would be more interested in the Brazilian law), so is there regulation or law interpretation that could be used against the servicing company that they are doing a appalling service only to avoid their responsibilities?

  • The more likely explanation is "cell phone service is tricky and companies have a decently high standard for authorized service provider; since there's only one provider in town, it's very crowded." It's quite unlikely this is an intentional effort to keep your phone from being serviced. – cpast Jul 27 '15 at 2:36
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According to the Brazillian Customers Right (an addendum to the law), any warranty repair service is limited to 30 days of execution starting from the moment you notify the company of the defect [Read the Warranty Section of this Post]

Same City Services

If the company provides an authorized agent to repair your product in your city, you can be asked to carry the product to the place where the repair will take place. After that, start counting 30 days (not business days, 30 rush days).

Different Cities Services

If the company does not offer a repair service in your city, the countage may start from the moment you notify them of your problem. After the notification, they should provide for the product's transfer without any additional cost to you. You may be asked to take the product to a Post Office. Although the law does not specify whether the 30 days start counting when you notify the company or when they have the product in their hands, common sense takes place to define these cases. For instance, the repair may as well had taken 3 days to be executed, but if the product took 15 days to arrive at the company and 15 more days to be back in your hands, it exceeded the 30 days limit. If you send your product and in 30 days you do not have at least a tracking code from the Post Office to deliver it back, it is reasonable to take legal actions.

Warranty Law

The warranty law is considered to be the Article 18º of the Código de Defesa do Consumidor (Customer's Defense Code), which is considered to be the law of the marketplace. The article 18 states that the repair shall be executed in the extense of 30 days. If your product exceeds the 30 days in a repair store, you can a) require the full reimbursment of the receipt or b) request a new product of the same model or similar.

Execution of the Law

In case your product stays for more than 30 days in the repair shop, you can request for a tracking code or service order number. With that in hands, contact the Customer Service Support of the company and say that your product is over 30 days in the repair and ask for a new one or the money back (whatever you prefer). Different companies have different work-style and they'll guide you through their process. There might be cases where you want a new product, but the company no longer manufacture that specific model and in those cases they tend to offer the money you paid for the product. Even though you want a new product, it's easier and faster to just accept the money back, since the company is not obliged to manufacture an out-of-stock product just to pay you back.

If the company doesn't help me

You can contact the PROCON - Superitendência de Proteção Aos Direitos do Consumidor (Customer's Right Protection Department) with the tracking code. They will notify the company of your complain and they'll have 30 days to respond. Although this course takes a little more time, it usually is the ultimate solution.

Civil Court

Although the PROCON may help you, they're limited to customer's right handbook which states the full restitution of money or a new product. If you feel that you were morally damaged by the company (usually happens when you need to request repair services more than once in 1 year) you can sue the manufacturer in Civil Courts through the Specialized Civil Courts. The max amount of the case is set to 20 minimum wages and you are not required the presence of a lawyer. You can ask for restitution plus damages.

Update to Answer comment

The wait in line differs from warranty services. You are not required to stay at the repair shop for 30 days. You are just required to have a tracking code for the service order. When you request a repair service, the repair shop is obliged to provide you with a code that corresponds to the service that you requested. That code will be linked to the day that the company starts to have responsibility. After 30 days if the product is not repaired, you can request a new one or the money back as explained previously. If you don't have the invoice or the receipt, the law does not see you as the owner of the product and, therefore, you are not covered by the customer's right defense code.

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  • Does this means that they may force the costumer to wait in line for up to 30 days? Or this means that I can drop the product at the shop and go away that they must return the product after the 30 days? The problem of doing this is that without any receipt I would not be able to reclaim it back. The original question is that the companies force the clients to take punishing procedures to service them, not that they are taking longer than it is mandated by law. I know that banks cannot make clients wait in line for a certain amount of time (usually 15 to 30 minutes). – Gabriel Diego Nov 3 '15 at 20:10
  • @gabrieldiego I just updated the answer. – Marco Aurélio Deleu Nov 3 '15 at 20:15
  • Thanks for the detailed answer, but the original question was about the obligation of the customer to wait in line to be serviced (in the sense of someone receiving the product to send it to repairs, as in Portuguese "ser atendido"), not the time that will take to have the product repaired. The customer's right defense code apparently says nothing about this. Which means that the companies may go to great lengths to discourage customers to be serviced in person as, for example, hiring rude attendants, locate the repair shop in a unsafe area or otherwise in a very bad and unhealthy environment. – Gabriel Diego Nov 4 '15 at 0:46
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I'm not from Brazil, but I have Brazilian friends, and I will answer based on my knowledge of American law.

"A long time" in this context, would be measured by how long it would genuinely take to service a client.

Five minutes can be considered a long time, if each "service" takes 30 seconds, and you are continually bypassed for people behind you.

On the other hand, if your problem routinely takes a day to fix because there is one provider and a long line, "hours" would not be a refusal of service. On the other hand, a month would be, and a week may be.

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  • Could you cite the laws or regulations? This could help me to find the analog in Brazilian laws. – Gabriel Diego Jul 28 '15 at 14:09
  • A long time I admit that is too vague, but wasting half a work day just to have a warranty service for a cell phone that is not worth the money lost in not worked time and transportation is clearly discouraging. – Gabriel Diego Jul 28 '15 at 14:12

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