A company is accusing me of sabotaging a treadmill

  temp89 17:47 02 Jun 2018

tl;dr I sent a treadmill for repair and the manufacturer says I must have cut a wire, after previously saying it was their engineer's fault. Neither of us have pics of the wire prior to being sent off.

I own a fairly heavy-duty treadmill that I bought through Amazon UK. 3 months ago the motor burned out. This was 9 months after purchase and with daily use on average of 45 minutes. Sucks, but it has a separate motor warranty and the manufacturer sent an engineer to replace it no problem. 1 month ago the motor burns out again (red hot to the touch, smell of ozone, fails to move).

At my worst I've been 90kg, and I use silcone lubricant on the belt every few months. Have adjusted the belt so there's 3 inches of slack if you lift it up, as recommended by the manual.

This time the company insisted I send it to them for repair. I'll spare you a diatribe about their pick-up service, but suffice to say there were multiple "failed attempts" that left me fuming.

After 2 weeks they say a coupling must have been left connected that shouldn't have been by the engineer and they'll repair for free as specified in the 5 year warranty. Then the next day they email me saying a cable inside the motor housing has been cut and that I must have done it.

They sent a photo. The cable in question is 3 sheathed wires, wrapped in another sheath and there's no question the thing has been sliced cleanly through. The problem is I haven't touched it. The motor is housed inside a compartment like a standard treadmill. No one else has had access to it, and you would need a special right-angle screwdriver to get the casing off due to the screws are in between 2 metal bars with a few centimetres clearance. Before I sent it off, when I switched the treadmill on the motor wouldn't move but would make a loud humming sound. I don't know if it would still be receiving power with that cable sliced.

I don't have any photos of the condition of the treadmill before I sent it off and neither do they. I think something happened in transport or an engineer did something by accident and decided to keep silent or wasn't even aware of it. I can understand dodgy customers damaging something in hopes of a free replacement/refund, complete with histrionical sob story. I can even believe the company is sincere in their belief that I cut the cable. The only issue is, I didn't.

So neither of us have evidence one way or the other. What are my consumer rights?

  Forum Editor 12:15 06 Jun 2018

This is a classic case of one person's (yours) against another's (the seller), and the only way forward is to marshal the facts.

The company offered you a free replacement motor, and your approach should be that you want them to honour the promise they made. The fact that the discovery of the cut cable was made after the offer was made (and accepted by you) mitigates in your favour.

Be firm - offer made, and offer accepted. What happens while the machine is in their hands is hardly your problem.

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