Local Computer Shop and innocent customer

  Stephanie 16:54 17 Jan 2004

A friend of mine who knows nothing about PC specs went into a small local computer shop to buy a replacement for her pc which she thought was defunct. She uses her pc to surf the internet and wanted to run a webcam, scanner and printer on it. She told the man in the shop what she wanted it for and was sold a tower unit with a 166Mhz intel processor, 4 gig HD and 64Mb of ram for £185 (This included 30 days support). All this was specified on the receipt. Unfortunately, she did not realise what an inadequate unit this was until she tried to use it. She tried to install her web cam and could not get it to work. She took the unit and webcam to the shop and the man there could not get it to work but insisted that it was the webcam that was faulty. My friend, unfortunately, believed him and returned the webcam. On taking the unit back to the shop, following my advice, the proprieter would not refund her money as the spec was on the receipt but offered her credit to the value of the unit. He did not at this time make any conditions on the credit. After some thought, my friend returned to the shop and enquired whether he would allow her to have a 17" monitor which he had priced at £80. She was willing to take this as a full credit against the pc unit. The proprietor refused and said that she could only use the credit against another pc unit, for which incidently he would charge her extra money.

I appreciate that the unit originally sold to her was as specified, but doubt that it was fit for the purpose as stated by her at the point of sale. Do you think she would have any redress under law against this man?

  beeuuem 17:14 17 Jan 2004

She probably has. I would suggest that you contact your local Trading Standards. You can find your local office from click here

  josie mayhem 17:17 17 Jan 2004

In one word us,

BUT, the biggest problem will be proving what was said at the point of sale.

I would contact trading standards, explaining what had happened, also the credit note, and the limitation of that note. They will tell you what you can do, and how to go about it or at least point your friend in the right direction.

Not very good customer care, I had a problem once with a second hand base unit, printer wouldn't install properly, even though it was compatiable, the shop found one that it would work on, and even loaded the installed the printer for me.

I bet at the rate he's going he won't be in business for long!

  spuds 17:22 17 Jan 2004

Get her to contact her local Trading Standards or Advice Centre.Refunds,Credit Notes come under different sections of Consumer Law, and the shop cannot take away or alter these rights, irrespect as to the shops sales terms and conditions or what the store personal may say.

  jaydeeace 18:46 17 Jan 2004

Agree 100%, all set out in statute law so there shouldn't be any problem. Meantime, see if your local paper has a consumer affairs section - the best way to hit these idiots is in the wallet!
Next time, make sure your friend does her research, or takes someone knowledgeable (i.e. you!) along. :o)

  Stephanie 19:51 17 Jan 2004

This was the line I thought of taking. I also like the idea of a little adverse publicity!

Thanks to all

  Forum Editor 20:13 17 Jan 2004

wanted a computer to run a webcam, a scanner and a printer, and he sold her a machine that will not do all of those things then he is guilty of misrepresentation.

He has misrepresented the goods in order to secure a sale, and that is a serious matter. Your friend went to this man in his capacity as a comouter retailer, and relied on his advice when making the decision to purchase - she's entitled to her money back in full under the sale of goods act, on the basis that the goods were not fit for the purpose for which they were sold.

The sale of goods act applies equally to second-hand items, so there's no escape for him there. It's not up to your friend to know whether the computer could do its job, and the fact that the receipt mentions the machine's spec has got nothing to do with it. The man acted illegally by refusing to refund the money, and his offer of a credit note or nothing was also illegal.All this business about only being able to use a credit note for specific items is rubbish - a credit note is just that - a note "to the value of", and by making the condition in the first place this man has as good as admitted that he charged far too much for the machine in the first place - otherwise why would he worry what your friend got with her credit note?

Tell her to write to him and tell him that unless he refinds her money in full within 7 days she will take the matter to her solicitor without further reference to him. Tell him that she'll take him to the small claims court, and that she'll make sure she tells as many people as possible about his sharp practices.

People like him make me fume, as you've probably gathered.

  Starfox 18:02 18 Jan 2004

and some people wonder why others(myself included)are reluctant to use thse small computer retailers.

  canard 18:52 18 Jan 2004

There are excellent local computer shops as well as substandard major suppliers.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:39 18 Jan 2004

There are excellent major suppliers as well as substandard local computer shops. ;-)))))


  canard 21:27 18 Jan 2004

Said Alice.

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