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Complaining about faulty goods

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 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
Damaged 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…

Result

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.

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For consumer laws, information, advice and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

5 top tips for complaining effectively

 

 

 

 

Categories
Complaining about customer service Complaining about faulty goods Laws

7 Common fob offs that companies use to not give refunds!

Many companies and individuals will try and fob you off in order not to give you a refund or redress. Below are some common ones of which you should be aware and know how to deal with.

Know the rules

“We do not give refunds”

Signs like this are illegal and you can report them to Trading Standards. Traders do not have to give you a refund if you have simply changed your mind about a purchase or the jumper didn’t fit for example, but if the item is faulty you are legally entitled to a full refund, (unless the fault was pointed out at time of purchase) until the time that you are deemed to have “accepted” the goods. “Accepted” is generally thought to be up to 4 weeks after that you are still entitled to a replacement or repair. If you put up a fight though you’ll usually get a refund, I always have!

“You/we will send it back to the manufacturer

Your contract is always with whoever received your money. If you buy a kettle from store A which was made by company B and that kettle stops working you are entitled to the repair, refund or replacement from company A.

This is a classic fob off often used by the likes of Curry’s. Renowned for trying to sell unnecessary warranties and denying people their consumer rights for many years.

“You will need to contact the delivery firm”

That kettle you bought from store A was delivered to your house and the delivery driver dropped it, or left it on the doorstep and it was stolen. Store A is wrong to tell you to contact the delivery firm. Your contract is with store A and you claim your refund from it. It can claim from the delivery firm! More here.

“You should have taken out a warranty”

Warranties are rarely worth the paper they are written on in my opinion! Items should last a reasonable length of time, a washing machine should last more than 6 months so it is wholly irrelevant whether you have taken out a warranty. So, even if your washing machine is a few years old you can still get that free repair or replacement.

Currys is a big culprit for this.
story post from LI about standing in Currys demanding replacement laptop

 

More on What is a warranty, a guarantee and my consumer rights?

“We don’t take back items bought in the sale”

Unless the fault was pointed out at time of purchase (and therefore contributed to the sale price) your legal rights remain the same as if the item was sold at full price.

“You caused the fault

If an item breaks up to 6 months from purchase then it is up to the trader to prove that the fault was caused by you and was not there at time of purchase and therefore you are legally entitled to the full refund, repair or replacement.

If you reject the item within 30 days you need to prove fault was there at point of purchase and are entitled to a full refund. After this time the above applies for a repair or replacement.

“You don’t have the receipt so we can’t give a refund”

The law states proof of purchase so this could be a credit card bill, easier to find online now than an old receipt.

“It is over 6 months so we do not need to give a refund”

As a general rule this is correct. You are entitled to a repair or replacement 30 days after the point of purchase. But if you can still prove that the fault was there at point of purchase and/or the item has not lasted ‘a reasonable length of time’ then you can and should get a replacement or free repair if not the refund. More at The Consumer Rights Act 2015.

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For help with consumer laws, tips, information and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

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If you want to take the effort and time out of looking up the laws and compiling an effective letter of complaint you can also Purchase downloadable templates to gain redress

 

5 top tips for complaining effectively