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This is one that was within his rights all along. While his experience was lamentable, it does hold a lot of useful pointers for others who may find themselves fighting on multiple fronts after buying faulty goods. Richard’s battleground involved online retailer Appliances Direct, CDA, the manufacturer of his Amica brand machine, and their chosen repairer.
The mechanical problem he discovered happened a couple days after installation.
“Salt is required to soften hard water and stop clogging. But on this machine the container kept opening and emptying all in one go,” he explained.
“Over one week it used up four kilos of salt. The container lid rattles around in the wash and the cycle also finishes sooner than it indicates.”
Richard asked Appliances Direct for a refund. “But they said it was not possible until the manufacturer had verified the fault and I was directed to CDA,” he told Crusader.
“When I called I was warned I could be on hold for three hours, so I emailed and was told a repair agent would call within 48 hours. But then nothing.”
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer and small business champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++
Finally on September 12 after Crusader lobbied on his behalf he got a response, but it didn’t go very far.
“The engineer came but there was no fix,” added a despondent Richard. “Then it all went quiet again. When I managed to get to speak to them they said they were ordering a part, but had no idea when it would arrive.
“I’ve also been offered a replacement, but I’ve had enough and just want my money back.”
Throughout Crusader also did its best to ensure Richard was not left in limbo and we kept up a stream of firm emails outlining his rights to remedies, citing expertise from lawyer Jo Lezemore of advice site Consumer Genie.
“All goods must be fit for purpose when sold. If a fault appears within the first 30 days a consumer can reject the goods however the burden is on them to prove fault existed at the time of sale. In Richard’s it was not too difficult given how early the fault occurred,” says Lezemore.
“Consumers should not be fobbed off by a manufacturer saying you must deal with the retailer and vice versa. Any claim should be made to the retailer first.”
But as Richard started to prepare a breach of contract claim against his seller through his credit card provider and a Section 75 charge, there was better news.
Appliances Direct collected his machine last week and has pledged a refund in the next few days.
Don’t be fobbed off – your buying rights
Consumer law expert Joanne Lezemore of Consumer Genie spells out exactly where consumers stand.
Whenever you buy goods in the UK, the purchase is governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”).
If you buy goods online, in most cases you have an additional right to also return the goods within 14 days to the retailer without having to give a reason, provided you have not used the goods.
The Act states that goods must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose – therefore, if a fault occurs, consumers have the following remedies:
If a fault appears within the first 30 days after purchase, a consumer can reject the goods and request a full refund however, the burden is on the consumer to prove the fault existed at the time of sale.
If the fault occurs after the first 30 days after purchase/delivery, but within 6 months after the date of delivery, the fault is deemed to have been present at the point of sale, unless the retailer proves otherwise, and the consumer is entitled to a repair or replacement.
The trader must offer the repair or replacement within a reasonable period of time and without causing significant inconvenience.
The burden is on the trader to arrange the repair and replacement and therefore should not delay the remedy offered by referencing the matter back to the manufacturer i.e. stating that additional time is required to arrange for the manufacturer to inspect and report back.
It would be for the trader to decide whether to offer a repair or replacement.
Once a repair has been agreed, a consumer cannot require a replacement or reject the goods without giving a reasonable time for the trader to carry out the repair (unless that time would cause the consumer a significant inconvenience).
Where a request for a repair has been made, and the trader has failed to undertake a repair within a reasonable period and time and has caused a significant inconvenience to the consumer, the consumer will then have the right (subject to certain exceptions as set out in the Act) to a price reduction (if they wished to keep the goods) or may exercise the final right of rejection and request a full refund.
When a notification of rejection is made, the consumer should not make any further use of the goods.
If any retailer misrepresents to a consumer their legal rights, they could be acting unlawfully.
If goods are purchased with a value of between £100 and £30000 on a credit card, the card provider is jointly and severally liable with the trader for breach of contract – consumers can claim against the retailer, the card provider or both, but can only receive payment from one.
The amount of claim is not limited to the amount paid on the card.
Consumers must give the card provider time in which to respond to any claim but if the consumer is not happy with the outcome, they can refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman – this is free to consumers who are not bound by the FO decision, but the card provider is.
And consumers should not be fobbed off by a manufacturer saying you must deal with the retailer and vice versa.
Any claim should be made to the retailer first – and you have up to six years to make a claim.
That does not mean that all goods have to last six years.
You are not obliged to report a fault to a manufacturer under a warranty, and can refuse to do so.
Most warranties only last one or two years, and offer the same remedies as consumers are entitled to under the Act.
A warranty is really only worth relying on if it offers additional protection i.e. it lasts longer than six years and/or a repair will be undertaken at no charge without the consumer having to prove fault.
Always check what is being offered under the warranty before relying on it.
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