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Customers legal rights.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Customers legal rights.

Rather interesting report came from which magazine recently where they had visited 60 shops including some of the major retailers to complain about a faulty fridge that was just out of a one or two year warranty. Most of these stores either said they could do nothing about it or referred them to the manufacturer.
The sale of goods act 1979 gives consumers limited protection for up to six years after purchase, regardless of store or manufacturer warranties. The act says that when a product is bought it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and meet it's description.
'Which', also found that many stores would refer the customer to the manufacturer but the retailer is actually legally responsible to sort out any problem.
Must admit I had not been aware of this and have been fobbed off  on a couple of occasions regarding items outside the guarantee period.
Always important to remember that when complaining do so in a calm manner as staff working for a particular store are employees they do not own the place or make the rules and are more likely to assist you with a complaint if you present it in a calm manner rather than shouting or swearing at them because you are annoyed at the inconvenience caused by the item you are complaining about.
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Re: Customers legal rights.

I read that report. Interesting stuff and I think very few people actually know their rights.
Also, I am sure most of the staff in some of the stores mentioned haven't been educated properly in them;lI know I wasn't when I worked at Comet! The managers should and, I think generally, DO know but often choose to ignore them. After all, returned or replaced goods are going to affect that store's profits.
In my experience knowing your rights isn't always enough because if the store refuses to acknowledge them then you have a considerable fight on your hands having to go through Trading Standards or taking the store to the Small Claims court. Also, after 6 months it's up to the consumer to prove an inherent fault which can be costly and you will only get that money back if the fault is found to be inherent AND you told the retailer before-hand that you were getting an independant inspection.
All this probably deters people from going ahead in the first place.
In some instances it is better to go straight to the manufacturer after the first 6 months anyway - hard disks come to mind.

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David_W
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Re: Customers legal rights.

It depends on the item really.  Things which you expect to last for 20 years have protection for 6 years (think washing machine, fridge, sofa), things which you may not expect to last more than a few years (things with MTBF, like SSD hard drives) have the same amount of protection but a different time period.  It's one of the reasons extended warranties are a bit of a rip off, they will give you an extra year or two worth of warranty even though you have a legal right of up to 6 years
There has been suggestions that our consumer protection laws lead to higher prices as we automatically get a warranty the sellers have to factor that into the price, everyone pays for the warranty which only a few percent will claim on, the price being spread around nicely.  Of course the hard part is getting the company to accept a washing machine that conked out after 5 years, as they become more technically advanced does their MTBF come down?
itsme
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Re: Customers legal rights.

I laugh at salespersons that try to sell me extended warranties, I ask them why when I am covered by law for 6 years.
We have to thank the EU for this added protection and I went on a seminar in the early 2000's before the law came into affect as one of the main sections of the law made the retailer the manufacturer. This had the benefit to the buyer as it made it easier returning a product if the manufacturer was in a different country. But it also allow the retailer access to manufacturing information and as I was from an industry that heavily used patents to protect it products this was a concern.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CG4QFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pa...
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Re: Customers legal rights.

Ditto. I've been aware of this for a few years now and used it a while back at KwikFit.
I'd done a wishbone on the SOs car. 1.5 years later and less than 9k on the clock the thing has popped its bushes and left the bone wobbling around making clanging noises. Went back to KwikFit and took it up with them. They argued that the warranty covered it for a year blah blah blah. Then I brought up the sale of goods act and the 6 years. I said that a wishbone shouldn't become defective within 9000 miles just doing town trips etc and that if they really wanted to resist this I'd see them in court where they could explain the quality of the product to a judge. It was fixed the next day  Smiley
Likewise when we got another TV recently we refused to take out the extended warranty and after seeing Watchdog cover the issues recently I felt even happier about the decision. Extended warranties are just a way of taking money from those who don't know better and when you think about it, they're pretty vulnerable people being scared into the "it might go wrong" mentality.
Anything below 3-4 years I'll take back and won't let it drop. Anything older than that I tend not to bother with unless its something that is known to normally last longer.
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Re: Customers legal rights.

Also, search the internet to see if others are reporting the same issues - this will help in providing evidence that there is an inherent fault. Also, check the manufacturer's site to see if there are comments on there.
Take this evidence with you to the retailer. It will h elp strengthen your case.
A couple of years ago my mother had a problem with a Samsung DVD player of her surround sound system which was less than a year old. Currys tried to fob her off saying that it she would have to deal direct with the manufacturer. After educating him on the SoG Act he dealt with it through the store. One thing the SoG Act states is that the consumer should not be inconvenienced any more than absolutely ncessary and should not be out of pocket.
The system was repaired within two days by the local Samsung-approved repairer. In this instance it turned out to be quicker for me to take it there myself and collect it after repair but still all done through Currys.

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Re: Customers legal rights.

The SO had a problem with her mobile a few years back. I bought her a nice phone she'd been wanting for ages. 1.5 years later the bloody thing had gone wrong. It came from Tesco so off we went. Customer services instantly became defensive about it until I mentioned the sale of goods act, the 6 years and that it was needed as it was an 'on-call' phone. Suddenly they didn't have a problem with exchanging it  Roll eyes
Oddly this doesn't seem to work with car dealerships when customers take some of the less reputable branded cars back when they have nothing but agro yet cars typically last 10-15 years.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Customers legal rights.

Interesting topic. I'm not particularly anti-EU where consumer law is concerned, and they have made directives that improve it, but the only bit of this that it applies to is the "reversed burden of proof" in the first 6 months after purchase.  A retailer is not a manufacturer, that would be linguistic nonsense.  The reason you have potentially 6 years' protection is under contract.
The statute of limitations in contract is generally 6 years
Every time you buy something, you enter into a contract
If the seller is in breach of that contract, you generally have up to 6 years to make your claim.
The Sale of Goods Act essentially enshrines and encodes your contractual rights as a consumer
The reversed burden of proof bit means that for the first 6 months it's for the retailer to prove that the goods weren't faulty, not for you to prove that they were.
What the Sale of Goods Act does do (and it's now a very old piece of legislation (1974)), is to lay done what you can expect  Goods will be:
As described
of satisfactory quality and free from defects (that aren't obvious or brought to your attention)
fit for their purpose (so if you say you are allergic to wool, and they sell you a jumper with wool in it; even though there's nothing wrong with the jumper itself, then you're entitled to a refund).
the seller's to sell
etc
It's good legislation, and I've also had "interesting" conversations with managers, when I tell them that I don't want or need their extended warranty.  Smiley A conversation that often finishes with , "Look I wasn't going to mention it, but I'm a Trading Standards Officer, and I know about these things".  On at least  one occasion this resulted in the manager going away and sending a little girl that looked about 15 to finish the sale.
Grin
John
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Re: Customers legal rights.

Quote from: hulls
It's good legislation, and I've also had "interesting" conversations with managers, when I tell them that I don't want or need their extended warranty.  Smiley A conversation that often finishes with , "Look I wasn't going to mention it, but I'm a Trading Standards Officer, and I know about these things".  On at least  one occasion this resulted in the manager going away and sending a little girl that looked about 15 to finish the sale.
Grin

I wish I was a fly on the wall  Wink
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pierre_pierre
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Re: Customers legal rights.

he is blowing his own trumpet trombone again
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Re: Customers legal rights.

Quote from: itsme
We have to thank the EU for this added protection

If you read the document you posted a link to you will see the EU didn't add any real protection to us in the UK.  The EU liability was for 2 years and it is 6 years in England.  Also if you are attempting to claim after say 4 years you have to prove the item was faulty and this could involve you getting an independent report.
Quote
However, the Directive adds little to UK consumer protection law. The SGA 1979 already provides the same legal rights to consumers to return faulty goods but for a period of up to six years after purchase - a much longer period therefore than provided for by the EU Directive. As a result, consumers should still rely on the SGA 1979 when returning faulty goods.
itsme
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Re: Customers legal rights.

For a law that has been around 30+ years why have consumers been buying extended warranties all this time? 
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Re: Customers legal rights.

They are 2 different things and a lot of people get them confused.  If your PC stop working under warranty it will be repaired for you.  To make a claim under SOG you must demonstrate the product failed because of a manufacturing problem.
pierre_pierre
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Re: Customers legal rights.

or as in my case, I had an extended warranty on a Video camera, I dropped it and it stopped working correctly, found my documents, it was 30 months old, so took it into the store,
Yes sir will see what we can do, three weeks later, sorry sir cant repair it, what new recorder would you like - er - well Sir it new for old!!!!
so got a brand new one for free
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Re: Customers legal rights.

Quote from: pierre_pierre
so got a brand new one for free

Not quite - you did pay for the extended warrantee.
I stopped buying extended warrantees when I realised that my home insurance would cover such things as accidental damage. Also covers theft and loss which, AFAIK , extended warrantees do not.
Arounhd 8 years ago an extended warrantee had expired on a video camera. Don't know why but I took out seperate cover with D & G. A month later the camera gave up the ghost. I put in a claim and received a cheque a few days later for the original purchase price. As the cost of cameras had gone down considerably I was able to buy a new video and digital stills camera.
That was the last time I ever took out specific insurance/warrantee.

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