Suppose you bought a printer and it came with a manufacturer's warranty of two years. In addition, the store you bought the printer from offered to sell you printer coverage for two or more years where they would replace your printer with a new one if anything happened to it. What would be the Fiqhi ruling with regards to purchasing this additional printer coverage? Please explain.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Purchasing the warranty independently of the purchase contract of the printer such that it has a fixed price is not permissible because it is based on Gharar (uncertainty/risk) and gambling. The printer may or may not break down. Also, if it broke down, the cost of maintenance and repair or exchange may be less or more than the amount paid for the separate warranty. There is no doubt that this is clear Gharar, and the Prophet forbade the Gharar sale.
Abu Hurayrah said, “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade the sale which involves Gharar.” [Muslim] [The Gharar sale is like selling fish that are in the water, selling a slave who has escaped, selling birds that are in the sky, and similar types of sale.]
The separate warranty is, in fact, a type of prohibited commercial insurance; therefore, it is not permissible to buy it.
The fatwa issued by Dr. Saami As-Suwaylim reads:
“The warranty that is given with commodities when they are sold such that the price increases by the warranty’s existence or its specifications does not appear to be Islamically forbidden to me. The rule is that the terms and conditions are part of the price, and this includes the warranty and other conditions. It is permissible to consider the warranty as part of the price of the commodity, but it is not permissible to ask for a separate price for it independent of the contract... Just as it is permissible to increase the price of the commodity in return for the delay in payment, it is permissible to increase the price in return for the warranty. Also, just as it is not permissible to seek a price for the delayed payment independently – as this is the Riba An-Nasee’ah (interest) that is forbidden according to the consensus of the scholars – it is also not permissible to set a price for a separate warranty because this is Gharar, which is forbidden as well. It is permissible to consider the warranty as part of the price if it is related to the commodity, but it is not permissible to set a price for it independently.” [Abridged]
Allah knows best.
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