Consumer Law and possibly you!.

  spuds 11:47 16 May 2008

Have you or someone you know (general consumer, retailer or trade), ever resolved or perhaps not resolved an issue by using Consumer Law regulations.Perhaps to the point that you or they have either given up or gone that step further by perhaps seeking legal action.

I was reading a report a short while ago, regarding a joint survey undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards. It became very evident 'to them' that the feedback from the survey started alarm bells ringing in respect of 'misunderstandings' especially on things like the Distance Selling Regulations, and how people were 'understanding' this regulation.The same also applied to warranty claims and the sale or fitting of refurbished products.

Care to share your views and experiences!.

  Scorpion Bay 13:19 16 May 2008

I think some of the problem could be that many people still believe in the maxim "the customer is always right", and base everything on that.

I'm a trainee solicitor, but I also work part time as a customer services team leader at a national retail chain (that amount of work surely isn't good for me, is it?!) and I find that a lot of the time, people tend to make an attempt at interpreting the law in such a way that helps them best, not in the way it shoud be taken, and then accuse the retailer of breaching their rights when they're put right.

I have had, on two occasions, customers come back to me some time after a disagreement and apologise, saying they did seek legal advice, and were told exactly what they were told in the shop in the first place.

  tullie 22:34 16 May 2008

One day we may see "Scorpion Bay Solicitors" outside your door.

  Stuartli 00:06 17 May 2008

Why? Is there a sting in the tail?

  spuds 15:32 17 May 2008

Forgive me if I am wrong, but your comments seem to suggest that what the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards are stating is perhaps correct, and that 'misunderstandings' can come from both quarters ie- the retailer and customer.

Could I possibly expand this a little further and perhaps say, that some retail / manufacturing staff and perhaps customers are completely ignorant of correct consumer law advice. I admit that I have on occasions in past years 'got my facts wrong', but I can also say that I have been blatantly lied to about consumer rights, whether this was by ignorance or someone 'trying it on'.

Even within this forum, we read of many good examples of great customer care, then at the same time, we may read of disasters, that might require the services of a legal person to help resolve an issue.

Te same thing possibly applies to advice from Trading Standards and the methods they use. I remember well the Kodak saga, when very expensive legal advisor's couldn't decide what was correct in the terms of UK consumer law.

  Scorpion Bay 22:18 18 May 2008

I absolutely agree that there have been some times when even those who are meant to be 'clued up' on consumer law have gotten their facts shockingly wrong, and it comes from both sides; customer and retailer. I also agree that retailers do may try it on from time to time, which is a big risk in itself.

One of the vagaries of our legal system - and this is highlighted by the Kodak case - is that should a problem get to the stage that it requires a decision from the Court of Appeal or even the House of Lords, this decision would be based upon how the judges apply their interpretation of the facts to the even with the doctrine of stare decisis, different situations could produce different results.

I think it's a shame that there is no real way of testing retailers on their application of consumer law, before getting to things such as Watchdog etc etc. The retailer I work for tests us covertly on how much we smile and how nice we are, but surely the customer would feel better if they knew that the person behind the counter was being tested on their knowledge of consumer law? Or am I alone in this?

  Mark v1.9.66 23:35 09 Jun 2008

I have used the Sales of Goods Act 1979 (as Amended), to win a case against a double glazing firm. I found all the information I needed thanks to a local law centre which stocked the government issued pamphlets on how to claim in the small claims court, (or defend). I was also able to read up on the relevant law in the text books available for reference. If you need any actual advice, however, they'll charge you for it, whereas you might get some free from the Citizens' Advice Bureau. I found it very satisfying to embarrass the ill-prepared junior barrister employed by the other side, in front of the judge. I should add perhaps though, that having suffered much under the old system of "insult to injury" which used to exist in the UK for accident injury compensation, I have a very jaundiced opinion of lawyers in general. The law really can be (a pain in) an ass sometimes.

  Forum Editor 18:20 10 Jun 2008

when the results of the survey were first published. What was interesting was the fact that large numbers of consumers were completely in the dark when it came to knowing about their rights under current legislation. Not only that, but large numbers of online suppliers were not fully complying with their obligations under the Distance seliing regulations, or the Supply of goods and services to consumers legislation.

All in all it revealed the kind of situation we've known about in this forum for years.

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

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