Yada Yada DSRs Again

  Cardinal-Red 13:22 24 Oct 2009

I've read through a lot of threads on this forum relating to the DSRs and custom built PCs, as well as speaking to Consumer Direct and reading guidance from the OFT.

I am in dispute with a company over a PC I ordered from them and cancelled 2 days before delivery. They are saying that the DSRs do not apply to custom build PCs; I am saying they do... the usual argument.

In terms of full disclosure, the machine I ordered was one advertised in national press and computer magazines. I made 2 adjustments to the advertised specification, namely:

- not selecting the speaker set which was included in the spec;

- upgrading the PSU to a higher rating, from the list of (I think 3) available units.

The inevitable to and fro of emails have gone and they've basically said, despite being sent all the links to the OFT guidance etc, that they'll only refund the amount "if a court of law tells them to."

They've had notification from me now on 20th October of my cancellation. I will if needed issue a Small Claim, but obviously I don't want to go through such a convoluted route.

Could anybody recommend any action, document, link, etc I could take/send to persuade the company that their position is wrong and to issue the refund, without subjecting them to the further charges of my small claim fee, interest etc that the court will inevitably involve?

  xania 14:04 24 Oct 2009

I can only advise caution. You assume too much when you say 'charges of my small claim fee, interest etc that the court will inevitably involve'. There is no guarantee that the court will find in your favour - if the court finds against you, YOU will end up paying those costs. Certainly, my understanding of DSR's incicates that bespoke may not be included, and waiting until 2 days before delivery implies that item was already built and possibly even despatched. You don't say why you cancelled the order - I would expect the court will look for a very good explpanation of your actions if they are to side with you.

  tullie 14:13 24 Oct 2009

I have allways thought that if its custom built,then you are stuck with it,others will inform better im sure.

  Cardinal-Red 14:16 24 Oct 2009


Thanks for your post.

Respectfully, I disagree. The regulations state that the consumer can cancel for any reason... upto and including 7 days after delivery. 2 days before delivery is clearly within this.

The OFT specifically keep custom built PCs out of the exemption for bespoke items also.

Having spoken with Trading Standards and Consumer Direct I am 99.9% sure that I would win this case.

What I am hoping to avoid is going all that way and was hoping for anything definitive that I could provide to the company to avoid having to go down this route.

Thanks for your input though.

  Stuartli 14:30 24 Oct 2009

What does the company involved state in its own terms and conditions?

  Forum Editor 15:52 24 Oct 2009

because the Distance selling regulations and the Sale of Goods Act will apply.

The Office of Fair Trading's guide to businesses clearly states that if an order for a computer involves the selection of hardware components from a list that's published on the company's website the machine will NOT be considered as 'custom built' within the meaning of the regulations.

The OFT likens it to buying a car and ordering non-standard wheels. Doing that does not mean the car is custom built, or made to order.

Based on what you've said, you are entitled to a refund. Tell the company to read the OFT's 'Guide for businesses on Distance Selling'

The relevant passage is on page 25, and it says this (when referring to custom -made goods being an exception as far as the right to cancel is concerned):-

"... this exception does
not apply to upgrade options such as choosing alloy wheels when buying a car; or opting for add-on memory or choosing a combination of standard-off-the shelf components when ordering a PC, for example"

You can read the guide in its entirety if you click here

  bjh 15:52 24 Oct 2009

I'm afraid I think the company is in the stronger position here - you have made changes that would effectively make the PC a custom-build. You may find that the company is willing to accept payment in lieu of the work they have done, but I cannot see that they will waive all charges (nor that they would be obliged to under current legislation) unless they do so out of generosity.

I feel the last line of your original post suggests you may be looking at this from the wrong perspective. I very much doubt the company would pay, or be expected to pay, your costs.

  bjh 15:56 24 Oct 2009

(Cross - post with the esteemed F.E. - and I'm sure he knows more than I do - even though he disagrees with me. I thought your changes would make it a custom - build... I suspect from the F.E. that I'm very likely wrong. I still worry that your post might indicate a wrong attitude for approaching the company for an easy resolution... Let's hope I'm wrong there too!)

  interzone55 15:57 24 Oct 2009

From "A guide for businesses on distance selling" - click here (pdf download)

"the supply of goods made to the consumer’s own specification such as custom-made blinds or curtains. But this exception does not apply to upgrade options such as choosing alloy wheels when
buying a car; or opting for add-on memory or choosing a combination of standard-off-the shelf components when ordering a PC, for example"

This means that a PC built to the customer's specification from off-the-shelf components is still protected by the DSR.

If your PC includes any parts that need to be specially ordered however, such as a fancy case or powerful PSU, then it is not covered by the DSR.

  Kevscar1 19:25 24 Oct 2009

In the simplest of terms if it is made fron products advertised on their website then it is not Custom Built. If you ask them for a specific item which they do not normally carry and they have to order it in for you then it is custom Built even if every other part of the machine comes from normal stock.

  Cardinal-Red 19:49 24 Oct 2009

Dear All,

May I first thank you all for your responses.

I apologise if my post did not convey my intentions accurately. I did rush through it in the hope of leaving it active while I was out today, to come back to a discussion. This worked...but seems I may have misrepresented my position.

I have tried to settle this amicably with the company involved. I did this initially by trying to call them as soon as possible, persuade them to not try to deliver the item (which they attempted anyway) and to have a sensible discussion on the issue.

They have steadfastly refused to accept that the conditions apply to them, despite the documentary evidence from OFT, Consumer Direct, Trading Standards and the DTI in publishing clarifying statements.

As Forum Editor has stated, it seems commonly accepted that changing items in a stock machine from a list of pre-built options does NOT constitute a bespoke machine. I was pretty confident with this position when writing the post.

What I wanted to get across, and clarify, was whether there was any case law or historical statement that I could use to demonstrate, amicably, to the company that they were wrong to interpret the rules as they have.

In another thread (I think called something like My Experience With PC Options) this was pretty much covered in detail and Forum Editor (whether that's a single person or a role inside PC Advisor) was hoping to get a clarifying statement from Consumer Direct.

I want this to be settled by the company realising that the Regulations clearly apply to them. The last paragraph was merely to say that if they don't, I won't hesitate to go down the legal avenue to pursue this money, and if I do, then I will be looking to have costs and interest paid on top of the refund. This was not meant to sound as combatative as it maybe did; merely that I would like the company to avoid this.

However, since posting, I have since received a letter today making it clear that this is the only avenue I have left available to me and so I shall reluctantly be issuing a claim today.

Forum Editor - if you did receive clarification from Consumer Direct or OFT relating to this issue, could you please provide a reference to it? It could be very handy.

If it is desired, I will keep the forum posted of developments in this case, maybe in the hope of establishing a precedent incase of future themed disputes.

Again, I thank everybody for their time in responding.

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

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