How to complain about an item over a year old

Note – This is an old post. For purchases made before October 1st 2015 please see Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The Sale of Goods Act 1979/Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994
Generally speaking if the item is less than 6 months old and the item is faulty then the consumer should receive a full refund (minus any depreciation of value of use, e.g. a car used for 4 months has had some use and will have depreciated in value) a replacement or a repair. After 6 months it is up to the customer to prove that the fault was there at point of purchase. However, only take this as a guideline. When my son said that we should complain and take something back to a pound shop, even I drew the line! But there are cases when you can and should claim redress after 6 months. (More on laws protecting you from faulty purchases here.)

A faulty sofa
Damaged sofaA friend of mine had bought a sofa over a year ago from a mail order company, Studio. It was clearly faulty and she was having difficulty getting a full refund. I took to writing an email for the CEO. I stated that there were 2 really sharp metal rods (thin ones) poking through out of the fabric, so when hands are put down the middle bit of the sofa it really hurts, obviously. Karen had only done this once now knowing it is was there, however, the item is clearly faulty and she has very young children to consider. Originally she was told that because she had had the bed more than a year there was nothing that could be done. However, once this was checked further (with one assumes, the legal department) she was told that it would have to go to quality control. Karen was promised a call back that never came and she had to chase it up and get a form to fill in and request to send photos of the issue which she did. The proof of postage for this was available. Again she had to chase and ‘phone again to be told that her letter had not arrived. Since then a leg has literally snapped off when she sat on the end causing her to fall. It was now obviously not level.

The sofa was clearly faulty and under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 she was entitled to a full refund. It was easily proven that the fault was there from the start and so the fact that she had had this item for over a year is irrelevant. In addition to the full refund I expected them to arrange for removal of the sofa and provide redress for the inconvenience caused, not least the damage to Karen’s hand, the time spent on the matter and the stress involved. Karen had not been able to use the sofa bed and so also expected redress for this particularly in light of Studio’s delayed and non-existent responses pro longing the matter.

I added my usual see you in court line if not satisfied with the response…

Result
Karen received a replacement (which is what she wanted) plus £50.

You should persevere when met with fob offs and of course more help and templates for this sort of thing in the book. 🙂

GHOTW CEO insinuates all reviewers and complainers are freeloaders oh and it’s okay to overcharge too!

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time will know that complaining is not all about getting freebies. For me, it is always the principle of the thing; I complain about the smallest of things, principle of the thing, I complain in person to politicians, principle of the thing, I take Tesco to court which pounds per hour was nothing to do with getting freebies that’s for sure(!) but was certainly about the principle of the thing, I get refunds for friends when they are out of pocket, principle of the thing, I help people out on social media with advice on getting refunds and redress, principle of the thing. Some people may see this as time poorly spent and that complainers are sad etc etc., if that’s you, then you tell that to the people who have been helped and remember your stance when you make an expensive purchase and want your money back because the thing is faulty. Oh and don’t complain about fat cats either, because some of the reason they get paid so much is because people don’t complain about their services.

So with that in mind I was astounded when my latest complaint elicited the rudest response I have ever received from a CEO. (Up until now, the rudest CEOS have just been the ones such as Clarke who just ignored customers). Admittedly I have never complained to Ryanair CEO but even he has apparently seen the error of his ways.

Now, I am a reviewer for What’s Good to Do. A great site reviewing lots of products and services around the country, check them out. As such I offered to review a variety of places over a number of different dates with Great Hotels of The World. GHOTW is a global sales and marketing alliance. The Iberostar in Majorca was offered for 3 nights in October. I had asked how much an upgrade from B & B would be to all inclusive. (i.e. I wanted to pay for the upgrade) I was offered €122.40 a night per room on All Inclusive. The offer had already included B & B and one dinner for one night. So obviously one night upgrade from B & B plus dinner would be less than the other 2 nights of upgrade form just B & B. I pointed out the following:

“1)     On the Iberostar own website for those nights B & B = €186.66 AI = €296.82 a difference of €110.16 therefore the difference is €110.82 not €122.40

2)     One night dinner is provided for the review. Therefore an upgrade from to all inclusive is certainly not €122.”

After a ridiculous email exchange including telling GHOTW PR team the same thing 6 times and each of those 6 times that I was not asking for anything extra free, I was asking not to be overcharged, I gave up.

The director of What’s Good to Do tried to speak to staff and explain the same, that the website said a lower price and that the dinner would not be free if paying the same extra rate for each of the 3 nights so that the hotel was in effect overcharging. But I received another email to say that the rate was correct and another email with the offer previously received. I was even told that the review must be a positive one!!!

So, I emailed the GHOTW CEO. I explained that it is usual for a reviewer to be offered a discounted rate for extra nights or upgrades to the stay on offer. I wasn’t even asking for this! I just wanted to upgrade. I did however object to being overcharged twice over. Once, telling me that the price was more than advertised on the website and secondly charging me the same for an upgrade from B & B to AI as from B, B & dinner to AI. This is the response I received:

Helen

I have read your email with interest.

I get many of these emails and whilst on many occasions i have great sympathy with the genuine concerns expressed. In this case i would like to suggest that you really need to get a life and stop bothering well meaning busy people with this sad self indulgent rambling.

If you and your freeloading friends on these various websites are not happy with a price quoted then you should perhaps seek alternative accommodation?

I hope this helps. With the kindest regards and best wishes

Regards

Peter Gould
CEO
Big Worldwide
www.big-worldwide.com

(Typos are his not mine)

Remember, I was not asking for a freebie, I was merely pointing out that that I was being overcharged. So it would appear from this email that:

  1. Mr Gould feels that people on these websites (I mentioned review sites, blogs and my own) are also freeloaders. So if you are a reviewer or journalist that has ever reviewed something and got the item or service for free before taking the time to write a review then that’s you!
  2. If you have ever used the information on my site to gain refunds and redress I guess he means you too!
  3. If you have bought my book to gain refunds and redress I suppose he means you as well!
  4. I guess if you have liked my Facebook and certainly if you interact with me on there then he includes you as a free loading friend on these websites!
  5. The reviewer receives a couple of hundred pounds worth of stay (no travel) – The hotel receives much free advertisement. I would suggest that several thousand people reading a review is worth slightly more than the couple of hundred pounds that the reviewer “saves” before writing up the piece. No advertisement costs, not even having to pay anyone to design the advert. So as a PR company GHOTW is doing a great job huh?

Wonder what the other hotels in this group think of the way that the PR company handles publicity?!

So who is the freeloader? The person who seeks refunds and redress when put out of pocket/the reviewer who undertakes some work in return for a free service or product, or the company that uses reviews as a cheaper method of traditional advertising and then insults anyone who evidences overcharging?

Should you be a reviewer or journalist that undertakes reviews and doesn’t take kindly to the above you can contact Peter Gould here

 

How to complain about a dry cleaners

all you need to know to make a complaint about dry cleaners text with pic of rail of clothese

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers again. If services are not undertaken with reasonable skill and care and your items get damaged or lost then you have the right to claim compensation. This can be the cost of replacing the damaged or lost item although there may be a reduction for wear and tear of the original item.

Membership of the Textile Services Association is available to Laundries, Dry Cleaners, Textile Renters and their suppliers. If the company you are using are members then it offers a conciliation service. You may be asked to prove your claim and on a loser pays basis use the association’s testing service. It also offers an arbitration service is the matter still cannot be resolved.

Speak to the dry cleaner to get the matter resolved in the first instance. If this does not work, write, following Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

If the firm is not a member of the TSA, then you have the option of taking the matter through the Small Claims Court.

Shifting blame
If the dry cleaner tries to blame the manufacturer saying that the item was incorrectly labelled you should put your complaint in writing. Follow the tips in the link above as you will need this claim in writing to take the matter further. Your contract when you bought the item was with the retailer not the manufacturer so you should write to the retailer outlining the issue and enclosing a photograph of the damage.

The retailer will probably want to undertake tests with the supplier or manufacturer. If the retailer finds that the label was incorrect you should claim from the retailer for a full refund of the item.

If the retailer denies responsibility you will need to take this evidence to the dry cleaner and state that it is responsible for not carrying out the service with reasonable skill and care. You have a choice if the dry cleaner is a member of the TSA of going through arbitration and/or threatening the Small Claims Court. (Link explains process and fees).

If you believe that the dry cleaner has deliberately tried to mislead you into thinking that the manufacturer was at fault then you could also say that they are in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These Regulations prohibit traders from engaging in misleading or aggressive commercial practices that are unfair to consumers.

Dry cleaning complaints
Earlier this year, I took a suit to a local dry cleaners and picked it up two days later. Luckily I noticed there and then that the mark on the jacket was still there. I complained and said it looked like the jacket hadn’t been done or at the very least the mark hadn’t Helen Dewdney stern face arms foldedcome out and I had expected it to do so. The owner was very apologetic and asked me to come back the next day. Apparently the jacket had not been done! I didn’t even need to complain and assert my legal rights and got the jacket cleaned for free. So either my reputation goes before me or my face must have said it all. Perhaps it was a good dry cleaners? Or at least had a good manager who had words with his son who only cleaned the trousers!

Another time I took in curtains to a different dry cleaners. Condensation had ruined the bottom of them. This did not come out. I complained and received a full refund. They did tell me that those sort of stains do not come out. So please let me know if you know different and you can get a mould stain out! Also, lesson here, check with the dry cleaner if they think the stain will come out before they waste their and your time.

 

 

See also Top 20 Tips for complaining and GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for more tips, guidance, advice and templates for complaining effectively.