Carrera - Not impressed. Can they do this?

  Jdoki 18:49 02 Nov 2004

I'm hoping you good people of the Consumer Watch Forum may be able to help me with some advice.

A colleague of mine ordered a PC from CARRERA on the 1st November via their website. She chose a Saturday delivery (other options were 10-21 days and 7-10) but as they have no online tracking she called up the next day to check her delivery date – she assumed as she had chosen the most expensive, Saturday option, that it would arrive on a Saturday in about 7 to10 days.

Carrera stated they could not deliver until November 30th.

I called back on her behalf later to ask for the reason for delay – I was told that it was due to them having no stock of Windows MCE 2005. I was categorically told that it would be around 21 days for stock to come in. I pressed them for an exact delivery date and after being put on hold I was told that if she paid £25 more she could have it in 7-10 days!

Seemed very odd that they will not be getting stock for almost a month – but if she pays more she can have it in 7-10 days!

My colleague decided that she was unimpressed with this and would take her business elsewhere.

I called them back to cancel. I was told that it would cost 10% of the order total to 'restock' the PC.

Bear in mind that the order was placed on the evening of the 1st after close of business, and I called to cancel at around 4pm on the 2nd. Somehow on a PC that would not be delivered until the 30th November, they were 'already getting the parts together and building it'.

Eventually after complaining the Carrera employee offered a restocking fee of 'only £25'

So basically, if my colleague wants her PC when she was expecting it, she has to pay £25, and if she wants to cancel she has to pay £25!

I reminded the employee of the Distance Selling Regulations, and how the order could be canceled with in 7 days for a full refund – but was told 'not our policy'.

Am I right to try and use the distance selling laws? Carrera's small print does state 'delays can not be used for reason of cancellation', but I feel as she was never informed of a delay, in fact the web site allowed her to specify Saturday delivery. Also is it unreasonable to give the excuse that 'the PC is already being built' as a reason to apply the restocking fee – even though delivery is 4 weeks away?

  Dorsai 19:34 02 Nov 2004

If a 'bespoke' item, In other words, custom made, the rules are different from 'off the shelf' models, where that can just sell it to the next person who orders one.

I though 'late delivery' as a reason for cancellation only applied if more than 28 days. As they got the order on 2nd, and 28 days later is the 30th, late del might not be the right reason to cite for cancelling. But the 7 day cooling off period for distance selling might be the reason to give. But as said, this is not the case if 'bespoke'

Over to the rest for a much more accurate interpretation of these laws.

  Forum Editor 19:40 02 Nov 2004

or was it an 'off the shelf' model?

If it was the latter your friend simply has to tell Carrera that she no longer wishes to proceed with her order, and that she wants a full refund. As long as she does this within seven days she's entitled to the refund, and there's no question of a restocking charge - it's illegal to charge one. There's nothing to restock anyway.

If a computer is being built to a buyer's specification and the finished machine is what's called a 'non standard item' the distance selling regulations do not apply, and if your friend's machine falls into this category things are not so straightforward - she must negotiate with Carrera.

In the event of an order cancellation under the distance selling regulations the supplier MUST be notified of the cancellation in writing - a telephone call is not sufficient.

  Jdoki 19:56 02 Nov 2004

I believe the machine was an 'off the shelf model' with no upgrades - but I will check.

I did mention the Distance Selling regs to the Carrera employee, but as I mentioned in my previous post he mearly shrugged it off as 'not our policy'.

Considering the reputation Carrera has I've been completely unimpressed by the reaction of their employees - it's really felt like a case of 'tough luck we've got the money now'.

Thanks for the advice.

  spuds 20:02 02 Nov 2004

Restocking Fee's are now illegal.There could be a fee chargable if special parts had to be ordered to customers specifications and the computer was being built as a one off.

Carrera cannot change consumer law irrespect of 'not our policy'. The Consumer Protection [Distance Selling]Regulations 2000 states: The consumer must be given clear information about the goods and services offered-After making a purchase the consumer must be sent a confirmation [by writing,fax or email]- The consumer has a cooling off period of seven working days and the consumer must be given information on how to cancel, and for contracts with no specified end date [such as a mobile phone] the customer must be sent details as to when and how the contract can be terminated.

The seller must provide clear and comprehensible information to enable the consumer to decide whether to buy.This must include:The seller's name and, if payment is required in advance, his/her postal address-A description of the goods or services-The price including all taxes-Delivery costs where they apply- Arrangement for payment-Arrangements and date for delivery-The right to cancel the order-How long the offer or price remains valid.

If you are convinced that Carrera are not complying with Consumer Laws, then I would suggest that you contact your local trading standards for further guidance and advice. More details are available via click here

  Forum Editor 23:47 02 Nov 2004

in the old adage that "with knowledge comes confidence", and you may rest assured that neither Carrera or any other company may simply dismiss consumer legislation out of hand - they must comply, policies not withstanding.

If your friend intends to cancel the order tell her to do so in writing, and to do it soon. On the other hand, she might want to consider the possibility of taking the longer view. She obviously liked the look of the computer, and if paying an extra £25 will bring it to her door sooner rather than later she might decide that the game is worth the candle, as they say. After all, she'll still be enjoying using the machine long after the pain of paying the £25 has faded.

  Jdoki 08:46 03 Nov 2004

However, she sees it as a point of principle. Why should she pay £25 for poor service? There's no shortage of other retailers online.

The main reason for canceling came purely from the...

We're not getting the software until the end of the month.

If you pay more money you can have it in 7-10days

This seems all too common in the industry - lies to try and keep the customer hanging on or paying more.

  Jdoki 10:11 03 Nov 2004

I called Carrera this morning... Argued my Distance Selling Rights, (and asked to speak to a Manager)!

Despite being told once again that Windows MCE 2005 is not available until the end of the month, if my colleague paid £25+VAT extra she could have the PC in 7-10 days!!

In the end they 'waived' the cancelation/restocking fee and so lost the order

  spuds 11:50 04 Nov 2004

When you informed Carrera of the relevant regulations and the illegality of Restocking Fee's, what did Carrera say!.

  forbidden donut 21:31 04 Nov 2004

must say i am not impressed with carrera either. i ordered my pc on the 27/9/04. was phoned 2 weeks ago to say that they were commencing building my pc. still don't know when it is going to arrive though... all they tell me is that they are behind and they will call when it is going to be despached.

  Jdoki 09:50 05 Nov 2004

I followed the link you kindly gave me, and printed off the info - so I was well armed!

The response to the '7 day cooling off' was initially - 'not out policy', but changed when I mentioned it was also in their terms and conditions!

The response to 'you can not enforce a 10% cancelation/restocking fee' was initially 'it's a grey area'.

I think he would have argued this point more, but he went and spoke to the Production Manager and I assume he authorised the waiving of this (illegal) fee or put the Salesperson straight on the matter.

I'm also wondering if all PC Sales People are trained to automatically respond with...

'Sorry they are all in a meeting'

to the question

'Can I speak to a manager'? :)

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