Siobhan Yap was offered a free meal by an Audi garage which damaged her car ran up a £700 bill at a Michelin-starred London restaurant.
She bought a £20,000 car from Audi in Watford and the car was damaged before she took possession. She says she asked for a refund and they wouldn’t give it to her but they did offer a repair. They also gave her a courtesy car I believe which covered the inconvenience. They also said as a goodwill gesture, have a meal for two on us. So she did. She treated her mother to dinner at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden. Here’s the bill:
Audi offered to pay £200 and have now offered half. The item was discussed on a phone in on Three Counties Radio and at the end of the show presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith was undecided about what he thought and was going to contact Audi with the opinions shared on the show and Siobhan’s responses and see what happened.
So the obvious came to most people’s mind who rung up the show:
1) Serves Audi right for not giving an upper limit and they make enough profit
2) Good on her, amusing
3) Morally wrong, Audi would not have expected anyone to spend as she did, nor so much on alcohol
I was asked to speak! For me, it is difficult because I would not have let it get to this stage. I would have had the full refund thank you very much. One is entitled to that in this case. The law covers cars! Here are your rights when buying goods and services. However, according to Siobhan she tried this and Audi refused. Don’t take that rubbish – see Tips here. Lots more advice in the book of course 🙂 Right back to the story.
As Siobhan said, so many people don’t know their legal rights so companies like Audi can get away with fob offs. So once in this situation are there any rules? Well Audi were stupid, frankly. An upper limit should have been set and so I am tempted to say that they got what they deserved. However, one could assume that they didn’t say “Enjoy yourself at an experience/have a slap up meal”. So where does she stand legally? Well under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 a consumer has an obligation to be reasonable. So this would be a good test case! Would a judge see a meal for £714 reasonable? If so she wins the outstanding balance if not she doesn’t.
So what do you think? What would you have done?
Note -- This is an old post. For purchases made before October 1st 2015 please see Consumer Rights Act 2015. The below will only apply for purchases made before this date.
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
A 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…
Karen received a replacement (which is what she wanted) plus £50.
You should persevere when met with fob offs .
See Top 20 tips for effective complaining for lots of advice.
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