/

Osaka venture’s warranty app expands to cars, housing; flags future use of AI for appraisals

Kyodo

The Osaka-based venture behind a smartphone app that allows people to register warranty certificates and order repairs for appliances online has branched out to car and housing information while flagging the future use of artificial intelligence.

Warrantee Inc., which has grown to tens of thousands of users since it was launched in 2014, is hoping to reach 1 million users by the end of the year. It also wants to enable users to sell or dispose of used appliances using the app, it said.

The free app works by scanning a product bar code after purchase and taking pictures of the warranty certificate and receipt via a smartphone camera.

Last month, the company started offering a new function, allowing users to manage car and housing information. Users can get their assets valued and sell them based on the assessed prices. They can also get notifications on when they need to get their cars inspected.

In the future, the company wants to use artificial intelligence to assess a user’s entire asset value and give them advice on mortgage refinancing and insurance, it said.

Warrantee President Yusuke Shono, 31, said he initially developed the app based on his experience at university, when he started living by himself with new home appliances.

When his new washing machine and refrigerator broke down, he had to pay for their repair as he had already discarded the warranty certificates.

“People tend to throw away warranty certificates and receipts immediately after they buy products,” Shono said. “I wanted to provide a solution for potential problems by using information technology.”

After downloading the app, users enter their names and addresses to sign up for the service.

If their appliances are malfunctioning, users can press the “repair service” button, which will send an email to a repair company. Users will then be notified about how much they will have to pay as well as where and how they need to send the products.

The company said the app was also beneficial to home appliance makers as it allowed them to quickly communicate with users. Warrantee collects fees from the companies.

“By having consumers register what kind of home appliances they are using, we can create a system in which manufacturers will be able to deliver recall information to users smoothly,” Shono said.