Is that gift voucher useless? 7 things you need to know

Vouchers

I was on Radio Gloucestershire the other week regarding a local restaurant suddenly closing and your rights if you have vouchers. I often get asked this so thought a post would be useful.

 

 

Your rights and what you should do

  1. If the voucher is for any amount over £100 and was paid for by credit card then you have protection from the credit company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
  2. It is possible that if you paid through your bank you could get your money back through Cashback. This is a voluntary scheme and you will need to check with your bank.
  3. If the company is taken over by another one it does not have to honour the voucher but always worth checking. They may well be of the opinion that if they honour the voucher that you will return and if they don’t you will not go there ever and tell your friends so!
  4. If you have bought your vouchers through a third party website it is worth contacting them. They do not legally have to refund you the money but they may as a goodwill gesture.
  5. Contact the administration company as soon as possible. You will be added to the creditors list, along with staff wages, the taxman etc., so it is highly unlikely that you will get your money but you have no chance at all if you don’t register your interest!
  6. Keep hold of your vouchers. Even if the company goes into an administration a buyer may be found which may honour the vouchers.
  7. See Retailer in administration for more information.

For all gift vouchers

  1. If you have a voucher and the company hasn’t gone bust, check the date anyway! Many vouchers in the terms and conditions state that the voucher lasts only a year or two years from purchase. Don’t get caught out as this is not illegal to put a date on it.
  2. The same applies for credit notes too.

Dodgy tumble dryers – your legal rights & what to do

Many people have what some of us might consider as dodgy tumble dryers and have asked what they should do if they think they are affected and how long is reasonable to wait. Please read this post before asking what you should do, the answers are here!

 

In April 2018 I published a report. This report outlines the whole story. It includes contradictions, results of Freedom of Information Requests to Government departments and Peterborough Trading Standards, London Fire Brigade statistics and recommendations, research and investigations. All in one place.

The tumble dryer story without the spin.

Download Whirlpool – the tumble dryer story without the spin

 

This post below was written in February 2016 and updated in March 2017. Please see the link above for much more and updated information on the story.

So what is going on?

Current situation
1) 113 different Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda tumble dryers have been recalled. However, it is not a full recall in that all machines are being replaced. The machines affected were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. Dryers affected could pose a fire risk if fluff should come into contact with the heating element. 750 fires involving Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers have been reported since 2004, including three injuries. Update 12th March 2017 On the 23rd February Whirlpool has now amended advice and says to unplug and not use machine. It has still stopped short of a full recall. New advice.

2) Despite the potential risk, Whirpool has said the dryers are safe to use following precautions, such as not leaving the tumble dryer on when asleep, not leaving the house when it is on, cleaning the lint filter after every use, and  ensure proper venting

3) Whirpool will send an engineer to check your tumble dryer and have said it will be a 6 – 8 week wait, alternatively they are telling some people that they have to wait until June because they are still recruiting engineers! Update in March now saying 3 weeks to get a call back and wait could be up to 10 months! Given how long everyone involved in this fiasco has known about the issues this is not good enough and in my humble opinion not a good enough reason for delay should you take the matter to court.

4) Trading Standards calls for a full product recall before someone dies.

5) As of end February 2017 Whirlpool has finally changed its advice and said unplug and do not use.

What you should do if you think you are affected
1) If your tumble dryer is not affected there will be a green dot sticker insider the dryer either on the door, rim or back panel. Look for a green dot sticker inside the dryer either on the door itself or on the rim.

2) You may want to not use your tumble dryer despite Whirpool’s advice. After all, do you think it’s ok if it catches fire just because you are in the house?! I don’t!

3) Check to see if your appliances are affected. Hotpoint and Creda tumble dryers can be checked on the safety.hotpoint.eu website and Indesit ones here safety.indesit.eu Which? also uncovered the models affected and you can find the list here.

4) Contact the company and arrange for your service. Log all your calls, length or time on the phone and costs involved as you are due redress for this.

5) People are really struggling when ‘phoning to get the service sorted. I would advise putting your request in writing see here for why.

6) Check with your insurance company as to whether you are covered if your tumble dryer were to catch fire even if you were following the guidelines about sill being able to use it. If not, then use this information in your complaint/claim. Although, please also see point 6 below!

Your rights and what you can do if not happy with your situation
1) The affected tumble dryers were manufactured before October 1st 2015 and therefore, if bought prior to October 1st 2015 are covered by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. You are entitled to purchases that are fit for purpose and are of satisfactory quality. Whilst I agree that for you to be covered by this law, you should follow maintenance guidelines in the handbook, you should be able to put the machine on like you would a washing machine and dishwasher when you are asleep or out of the house! The affected tumble dryers are therefore not fit for purpose and not of satisfactory quality. Any products bought after 1st October 2015 are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

2) Under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 or Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. the company can legitimately charge you something towards a new machine as it can deduct an amount for use (after 6 months in the case of the CRA). You can argue how much this should be because if they are charging £99 for a replacement to a family of 4 who have used it for 3 years they should not be able to charge the same for a single person who has had the machine for a year! Some months have now gone by and you will only be entitled to a repair or replacement. The company says it will “modify” the appliance, so one assumes that this is the repair. Some people are getting a free replacement when they assert their legal rights and what they expect! Your rights are as with any other item, one chance at repair is enough before demanding replacement or partial refund.

3) If you stop using the machine because you deem it unsafe (and if the engineer carries out modifications then there is your proof that it was!) you are entitled to your out of pocket expenses. So if you go to the launderette for example, you are entitled to these costs plus cost of going there e.g. public transport/petrol. Update 12th March 2017 Whirlpool have now said unplug and do not use the machine.

4) Do not waste much time ranting on social media. The social media teams will be dealing social media simples! So many people are affected that you will be one of many and your case will not rise above another unless you get lucky. A few people have been lucky this way, most haven’t.

5) If you think the time to wait is too long, or you have been kept waiting longer than they advised or you want to claim, then go straight to the top. Go to ceoemail.com and contact the CEO outlining the issues and use the Tips for effective complaining here and the bestselling book which has more advice and templates here. State that you want a replacement or engineer appointment brought forward.

6) The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if you are harmed by an unsafe product you can sue the manufacturer. You can begin your court case up to three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, you can even sue up to ten years after the product was sold. If for instance you sustain a personal injury or damage to your property. The value of the damage must be more than £275.

7) Your contract normally is with the company to whom you paid the money; however, as the manufacturer has admitted fault your correspondence should be with them as in this case the manufacturer is responsible not the trader. But you could also contact the retailer and request a replacement or repair, you may find that a good retailer will also act on your behalf and get your engineer out to you quicker, or offer a refund. If you find the retailer unhelpful you can also go to the Furniture Ombudsman if the retailer is a member.

8) The “General Product Safety Regulations 2005” dictates that manufacturers must make arrangements for the collection and/or return of the product for destruction from consumers who have purchased the product.

9) If you bought the dryer on your credit card you can also use the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 75 as it is equally liable and it should give you a refund.

10) If you are given a replacement machine or parts that develop a fault your rights remain and see 1, 2 and 3 and links within above. Remember consumer rights always override a warranty.

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

11) See Tips for how to write that complaint and many others: How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! for more help advice, templates for complaining effectively. 

 

 

 

 

Things still wrong after replacement or modification
Some people are getting in contact to say that they have had the repair or paid the £99 and had a new machine but still have problems. This is what you should do:

1)  Contact them in writing. Most important that you have it in writing as evidence. Give details of date of repair (and all the issues getting to that point if it wasn’t straightforward) and that it is not working properly. Give details of the issue. State that as you have given them a chance under the appropriate law (see above) you are entitled to a replacement. They may still argue for for repairing again. Your choice may well then be between taking one more try or to carry on fighting through the Small Claims Court. See Tips for how you should write your email and what to include.

2) If you have paid the £99 for the replacement you have in effect entered into a new contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. As such, if you have had it less than 30 days you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. After this time it is a repair or a replacement. Again, follow the tips for how to write the email and what to include.

3) If you have tried 1 and 2 above or are in the process please email me!

BBC article 11/03/16 Danger dryers in 11-month repair wait

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