Here is the hypothetical situation that my following question will refer to:

  1. Person A purchases goods online.
  2. Person A modifies goods in a way that would likely void warranty but the item still works.
  3. At a later date, the goods develop a fault.
  4. Person A contacts the seller and describes this new fault and is not asked about but does not volunteer the fact that modifications were made.
  5. The seller accepts a return based on the fact that this fault has developed.

My questions are thus:

  1. Would person A be legally required to volunteer information on modifications made when attempting to return the goods if not explicitly asked?
  2. Would an offense have taken place if this information was not volunteered?

1 Answer 1


The essence of fraud is that you make someone give you something by making them believe something that isn't true. You made them give you money for broken goods by making them believe that the goods are not broken. So yes, it is fraud.

Modifying the goods may not actually void your warranty, but when you return goods and get your money back, the assumption is that the goods can be repaired and be sold as refurbished, used as a loan item, and so on. With modifications, that cannot be done - what would you say if you were the next customer who bought a refurbished (repaired) product with say 25% off, assuming it was like new, and it turns out it has unknown modifications?

Look at it the other way round: If I bought something off you, modified and broke it, and then returned it to you for my money back, would you think it was fraud if someone did it to you, or would you think it is alright and be happy with your loss?

  • I would just like to clarify, this is a hypothetical and not something that has happened. Further to this, the question is about an item that has been broken through no fault of the owner and returned with a full description of the fact that it is broken. Just with no volunteering of the fact that unrelated actions were taken that would render the warranty void. I'll add some clarification to my question.
    – user175
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 14:31

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