No cooling off period - buyer beware!!

  nevillej 00:24 05 May 2004

Readers may be interested in my recent experience. My wife and I were interested in buying a DVD-HDD recorder. At Easter we took a short holiday in our caravan near Manchester. We had heard that Sound and Vision at Farnworth were worth a visit and duly made the 30 mile trip to their shop. We had a model in mind (Pioneer DVR5100) but were persuaded that the JVC DR-MH30 would most suit our requirements, but it would not be available until mid-May. We duly paid a deposit of £95 by credit card (an online card) towards the purchase price of £595. During the following week we decided that we may have been somewhat hasty, as there were as yet no full specifications or reviews published. On the Tuesday after Easter, I rang them from home, explained the situation, and requested a refund of the deposit. I was assured that this would be no problem, and I could expect £95 to be credited to my account in the next day or two. A week later this had not happened, so I rang again. They were very apologetic, and assured me the matter would be attended to. After a further week, the same thing happened again, and again, so I wrote a rather strongly worded letter, saying that if the money had not been refunded within 7 days of the date of the letter, I would seek advice from the Trading Standards Dept. After a further 10 days there was still no result, so I rang Trading Standards. I was told that, in effect, I hadn't got a leg to stand on, as the purchase had been instigated by me, and there was no 14 day cooling off period, as I had thought. The cooling off period only applies to a sale instigated by a salesman calling at the house, selling double glazing, for example.

It would seem that I will now have to complete the purchase, but the shop could have told me that I could not claim a refund of the deposit, and avoided all the wasted phone calls etc. instead of assuring me that there was no problem.
The money is not really the problem, it is the attitude of Sound and Vision.

Incidentally, I have found out that click here will be selling the same recorder for £518, when it is available.


  Forum Editor 07:14 05 May 2004

that a deposit paid in respect of an intended purchase is not necessarily refundable, and Trading Standards have of course confirmed that, and also the fact that you don't have a cooling off period when you initiate a purchase contract. You have a period after receipt of the goods in which you may return them for a refund, but that's a different matter.

In this particular case however, it could be said that by agreeing (twice) to refund your money the shop had contracted to do so, albeit verbally. You may be on slightly thin ice, but nevertheless I think it's worth a letter (by special delivery, not recorded) saying that you expect the company to honour its verbal contract with you, and to refund your money - failing which you reserve the right to take further action to recover the funds without reference to them.

Then keep your fingers crossed.

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