Problem with returned faulty goods

  Mark-323050 19:21 17 Nov 2003


I've just returned a DVD writer to a nationally recognised comapany. The drive was sent back under their instructions from customer care to their technical services department for assessment.
Tonight I received a call to say the drive has a read error and was indeed faulty. The guy then insisted that I take a replacement in exchange for the drive. I stuck by my guns and insisted that under consumer law I was entitled to my money back and to a refund of the return postage becuase the goods were faulty. He was adamant that he was under no obligation to give me my money back after a '30' day period.
I left the conversation stating that I would contact their customer services tomorrow.
Could anyone please advise me of my rights. I've read what I can about it all on the Trading Standard etc websites, but can find no reference to this 30 days the man spoke of.

1) Am I entitled to a full refund?
2) Am I entitled to a refund of my postage costs for the return of the drive?
3) What is this thing about 30 days?
4) Does anyone have a quote of the consumer law I could fire at the customer services tomorrow?

Many thanks for any help

  beeuuem 19:50 17 Nov 2003

From click here

If goods are not of satisfactory quality the buyer is entitled, if he acts within a reasonable time, to reject the goods and get his money back.
Reasonable time is not defined, but it isn't set at thirty days.

The relevant Act is:-
Sale of Goods Act 1979. Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations (following 31/3/03 transposition of Directive 1999/44/EC).

See here for information on your rights
click here

Your local Trading Standards are always worth a 'phone call. Some will take up the cudgels on your behalf.

  Mark-323050 20:24 17 Nov 2003

Many thanks beeuuem

  bfoc 20:26 17 Nov 2003

May depend on how old the item is.

If it is less than a couple of months old I believe you would be fully entitled to a refund and certainly there is absolutely no 30 day limit.

As beeuuem says you are, within a reasonable time, entitled to reject the goods. You are also clearly entitled to your postage being refunded. In essence you are entitled to be no worse off as a result of the failure of the DVD.

Since 'reasonable' is not defined matters get more complex. This is not just a matter of how long you have had the item, but how long it might be before you were able to become aware of the problem. The example often given here is of a lawnmower. Someone buying a mower in November may not become aware of the fault until March! It has been established they could reject the goods then.

On the other hand if you have actually had the use of the item for some time then all you might be entitled to is a replacement or a repair.

How long have you been using the DVD?

  DieSse 23:35 17 Nov 2003

Whatever your rights are - what I don't understand is why you are not satisfied with a replacement.

After all goods can and do fail - that's why there's a guarantee, and as far as I can see (apart from the 30 day argument) the company has done exactly what they should do, and you would expect them to do - offer you a replacement.

Don't you want a DVD writer any more - after just buying one?

  bfoc 23:49 17 Nov 2003

If a consumer is entitled to a refund there could be a number of reasons for demanding that above a replacement. Just a few that have influenced me in the past:

1. Being disappointed by the service/politeness/helfulness of the retailer when something goes wrong.
2 Realising that I have paid a 'premium' on a product for extra reliability which my recent experience has proved a waste.
3. A real concern that what is being described as a 'one-off' problem may be more deep-seated than that and having no real confidence that the replacement they would send would be likely to be any better!

If any of these applied to me I would want a refund not a replacement and if I was entitled to it I would insist on it!

In any case even if I did opt for a replacement it would be on condition that if that developed a problem, within a reasonable time frame, I could then have a full refund!

It could be argued that if you had used the printer for a couple of months before it broke down, then that use has a monetary value that should be deducted from any cash refund you think you are entitled too; after all it would be unreasonable for the company to provide you with the use of a printer for a couple of months free of charge. In these circumstances, the offer of a replacement is a generous one. Of course many companies will give a replacement/refund as a good will gesture, but I suspect that should a court case ever evolve, the consumer may get less than what they imagine they are entitled to.

  bfoc 17:59 18 Nov 2003

Is quite clear that one has a legal right to reject faulty goods within a 'reasonable' time. Whilst that 'reasonable' is not defined it does take into account the expected life of a product and on how much use is made of the product and how easy it is to discover the fault.

Less than two months, particularly if it is a problem which has existed from point of sale but has only been recently discovered, would not, IMHO, be an unreasonable time to reject the goods. Particularly something, in this case, like a DVD writer on which such a fault may not be immediately clear. This is why in a legal ruling a number of months ago buyers of a yacht were, on appeal, awarded a full refund despite the fact that many months and even repairs had taken place!

Using a printer (particularly a cheaper one) for a couple of months and asking for a refund might well be considered unreasonable.

That is why the company concerned cannot place a 'blanket' rule of 30 days on items it sells!

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