Don't Buy Anything until Tuesday!!

  flecc 22:33 27 Mar 2003

There's an important change in consumer protection from Monday 31st March 2003.

From then, the onus to prove responsibility for a defect during the first six months shifts from the customer to the retailer.

This means that if you return a faulty item in the first six months, it must be replaced or repaired unless the retailer can PROVE that the customer was responsible for the fault.

At the moment the reverse is true, the customer has to argue the case.

This should put paid to the instore arguments that have been so common. All you need do from Tuesday is insist upon observance of the law.

If someone has previously posted about this change, please accept my apologies for any duplication.

  Forum Editor 23:55 27 Mar 2003

This is an important addition to the current consumer protection legislation, and something which is bound to bring about a decrease in the number of disputes between retailers and customers, as you say.

It's important to remember however that these provisions do not apply to the fair wear and tear or misuse of goods, and after the six-month period the onus will again be on the customer to prove that defects existed at the point of sale.

  Stuartli 01:27 28 Mar 2003

The subject has been posted previously.

This is something that is/will be a nightmare for retailers, who are wide open to abuse by unscrupulous customers ever eager to take advantage of what can only be termed ridiculous laws.

If you don't know that something is faulty for at least six months than why should a retailer have to bear the responsibilty?

We might be a nation of shopkeepers, but who would want to be one in the face of such nonsensical law making?

The majority of retailers are pefectly happy to help out if a product is faulty from the start or shortly afterwards, but after that point one must question why they should be held accountable?

Profit margins are slim enough these days without retailers having to endure the possibility of being taken to the cleaners by unscrupulous customers.

How on earth is any retailer able to prove that a customer is responsible for a fault in a product, no matter what that product may be, after such a period?

My mate runs an independent audio/visual/appliances outlet. Over the past five to seven years his profit margins have been hit so hard that, not only does he have to sell a minimum of two of each product just to keep pace with the mid-nineties profits return, he has virtually scrapped his workshop service.

Only the fact that he is a member of Euronics means he can compete on prices with the high street outlets (Euronics has more than 700 outlets) and even then his free delivery benefit has been scrapped unless a purchase is above a certain price level.

In addition, only those who have purchased items from him now have the benefit of the after sales and repairs service (unless a product is out of warranty) and anyone else is told, quite bluntly and almost brutally, to go back to where they bought their (marginally lower cost) goods.

In the case of those who bought items a handful of pounds cheaper from the big high street stores that proves a real culture shock, as these companies rely on third parties to provide after sales service and repairs.

The abuse from such potential customers has to be heard to be believed, but why should my mate run a workshop to help out the big high street retailers' customers? His first and foremost priority is his own customers.

Furthermore, let's face it, we all know which outlets I'm talking about.

But if you only pay peanuts......:-)

  tbh72 02:20 28 Mar 2003

Nice to see you back flecc!!! Hope you've been keeping well. I hadn't realised there has been a change in the law, this should make it much easy for returns.

  flecc 11:17 28 Mar 2003

I tend to agree with you. In the midst of the publicity given to cases where consumers have been wronged, it's easy to forget that retailers also need some protection at times.

Ultimately all these improvements in protection for the customer must result in higher prices, for as you rightly say, margins are becoming increasingly impossible now. Something will have to give shortly.

  wee eddie 12:53 28 Mar 2003

To get 100% Ist year tax rebate!

Hey! Hey! Shop Away!

  bfoc 14:00 28 Mar 2003

But it is worth remembering that retailers would be able to claim back against their suppliers for faulty products.

It is also the case that a product can be faulty at point of sale but that fault may not become clear until much later. I believe at the prsent reatilers can have a responsibility for up to 6 years!

The only major difference from the 31st is that in the first 6mths retailers have to prove any fault wasn't there at POS. Consumers will then have to prove it was for the next (up to) 5.5 years. I don't think it is that unfair and since it has taken nearly 2 years for the Govt to implement the changes retailers have had plenty of time to prepare.

  spuds 10:21 29 Mar 2003

Seeing and hearing of past consumer problems, and non compliance of the Sales of Goods Act etc by some retailers. I wonder how long it will be before we see a posting on someone having problems on obtaining satisfaction, within the new legistalation. No doubt the big retailers have been informed, via their trade associations etc, how they should implement the procedures and practises required.

  Forum Editor 10:37 29 Mar 2003

and remember that 99% (or more) of all products work perfectly well, and do not have defects present when they leave retailers' premises.

Retailers know this very well, and will certainly not be handing over replacement products to anyone who fancies walking through the door for a new item after four or five months.

The law isn't designed to be a freeloaders' charter, and retailers will have an opportunity to prove that a defect has been caused by misuse/accidental damage by the customer. I do not expect to see a flood of disputed claims, because in theory there should not be that many more claims than at present.

Anyone who has a genuine complaint will get some welcome additional protection from the new legislation, but nobody should expect the law to provide a carte blanche for getting a new product when the existing one has been damaged by misuse - it won't work that way.

  flecc 11:16 29 Mar 2003

The main advantage of this change in the law is that it covers the majority of all customer problems with products.

Experience shows that if a product has a fault from manufacture it will almost always show itself in the early stages of it's normal life. Although it can happen on the odd occasion, it's quite rare for a product to perform perfectly for over six months and then show a manufacturing fault.

Therefore, as the FE remarked in his first posting above, the change should bring about a decrease in customer/retailer disputes. Anything which reduces the confrontational attitude increasingly shown by a small minority of customers in recent years can only be to the good, since they sour the retail atmosphere for all of us.

  Coaster3 11:25 29 Mar 2003

I'm going to point this thread out to Ebuyer

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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