By Claire Reilly

Big W has followed Myer’s lead in dropping the embattled warranty service provider United Warranties, confirming that the decision was made late yesterday to “suspend sales of United warranties at Big W”.

As late as yesterday morning, the company was still advertising United warranty products for purchase on its website, however these have since been removed.

Benedict Brook, media relations manager, corporate and public affairs, for Woolworths Limited (Big W’s parent company) spoke to about the matter, saying the retailer was most concerned with looking after its customers.

“The main thing is that, whether it’s through a provider or ourselves, we will make sure that customers who buy products from Big W are protected when it comes to the workings of those products."

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Brook said United Warranties was “in contact” with Big W yesterday, and that although he couldn’t comment on what operational state the warranty provider was currently in, he was determined that, for its part, Big W would look after its customers. However, the finer details of just what will happen to customer’s extended warranties are yet to be confirmed.

“I think it’s fair to say that this all happened yesterday, that it all happened for us quite late in the day yesterday, so at this stage we’re still crossing the ‘Ts’ and dotting the ‘Is’ about what that will be,” he said, referring to the protections that Big W plans to enact for consumers.

“But we are determined to make sure that our customers who have bought warranties through Big W are protected, whether that’s through ourselves or an alternative supplier. The situation with our current supplier is changing at the moment and we’re in contact with them to see what the full situation is.”

Brook could not confirm whether an alternate warranty provider had been appointed by Big W. Neither would he comment on whether the association with United Warranties had damaged the Big W brand or its good will with customers.

Brook simply noted that “communications are going out to stores at the moment” and that customers who have concerns should contact their local store or the Big W customer care centre to resolve their issues.

“Some of these situations are out of our control, but we’re doing the best we can to liaise with the various parties involved to get a positive outcome for the people that shop with us.”

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Big W has previously advertised extended warranties, provided by United Warranties, with swing tags on appliance and electrical products in its stores.