Who is responsible?

  pj123 15:34 27 Oct 2003

I reccommended a friend to buy a printer from a specific local retailer. Having done that and got the printer home it didn't work. He found a cogwheel in the bottom of the box and the belt that drives the cartridges hanging loose. He took it back and the retailer said, "The invoice states that the manufacturer covers the warranty, not us". My local trading standards office has advised me that "it doesn't matter what the invoice says, it is the retailer whom you bought it from that is responsible". Who is right?

  IanNiblock 15:43 27 Oct 2003

I believe the trading standards are correct, although in my experience it may be better to contact the manufacturer directly - sometimes this leads to a quicker resolution of the problem.

  Stuartli 16:41 27 Oct 2003

The retailer is, in the vast majority of cases, entirely responsible for replacing, refunding or repairing an item you have purchased.

Exceptions include some leading white and brown goods manufacturers who have taken on all necessary repairs etc rather than paying for the work to be done under warranty by the retailers' workshops.

One reason for this is that people want to buy everything at the lowest possible cost - a retailer, especially a small independent outlet, cannot work on slim profit margins and operate a fully staffed and equipped workshop. The two are incompatible.

  spuds 19:00 27 Oct 2003

The law is quite clear on this matter.The contract is with the retailer, not the manufacturer. It is the retailers responsibilty to put things right, either by refund or replacement/repair.If the printer is brand new, then you can insist on a cash refund [Do not except a credit note].

But, in some cases it is a quicker and a better route to contact the manufacturers direct via the product warranty.The manufacturer may do a straight swap-out or make an arrangement for an enginneer to attend.

I would suggest that you inform the retailer, that stating on a invoice, something to the effect that they are not responsible, would not be approved in a court of law, or by trading standards. The retailer cannot take your legal rights away, irrespect of what they may or may not think ,or suggest.

  wee eddie 19:08 27 Oct 2003

Just as your Trading Standards people said.

The retailer is also required to sort the problem out in what the Law describes as a 'Reasonable Time', however the law fails to say what a reasonable time is!

  oresome 19:22 27 Oct 2003

I am amazed that any retailer would take this stance with an item that was faulty on opening the box. I would expect an immediate replacement or refund and an apology for the wasted time and inconvenience. Hardly the way to win customers is it? If the item had been in use for some time,fair enough and I would go along with the manufacturers exchange route. But bear in mind the exchange item may well be a used and repaired item. Why accept this when you've just purchased a brand new printer?

  D-P-R 19:27 27 Oct 2003

trading standards are correct

  spuds 20:20 27 Oct 2003

Good thing oresome mentioned the fact, that a refurbishment maybe substituted, which could be the case via the manufacturer.I would add, that if it was me with this problem, then I would demand a full refund from the retailer, and purchase elsewhere.If you decide on the manufacturers route, then I would suggest that you request a brand new printer, with a full and new warranty.Also be carefull if the printer as to be collected, keep documents etc. Make sure that you keep the original cartridges and accessories, in case the replacement machine as none on arrival.Unless informed otherwise.

  bfoc 23:18 27 Oct 2003

Without doubt the retailer is responsible.

Again, as many have said, there can be an advantage in using the manufacturer. I ordered an Epson printer for a friend. After some weeks it packed up. On contacting Epson they had a replacement brand new printer installed in under 48 hours!

Just one word of warning, it might be a good idea to confirm in writing that your contacting the manufacturer, on this single occasion and as a concession, does not remove from the retailer any of their legal responsibilies and you are only taking this action on that basis. Thus you do not risk losing any rights.

I may say that personally, I would be tempted to demand a full refund, since, IMHO, any business which does not know such basic consumer rights, or even worse does know and tries to mislead consumers, is not one that inspires confidence.

  Djohn 01:34 28 Oct 2003

As above have said Pete, it's the retailer that is responsible and under the circumstances of opening the box and finding a fault as you describe, should replace or refund immediately.

I think if you make a phone call to the manufacturer of the printer and explain, they too would advise you to return to the supplier in the first instance, although they will stand by you if the supplier fails to honour his commitment.

Also don't forget that the consumer law changed earlier this year in your favour. It is now down to the supplier to prove the fault did not exist on purchase, not the other way round. j.

  pj123 11:18 28 Oct 2003

Thanks for the backup everyone. Needless to say my friend won't be buying from there again. As the purchase was done on invoice no money changed hands. The retailer insists the printer was brand new but when opened (by my friend) the ink cartridges were already installed??? and the box was selotaped up. Whoever heard of cartridges being installed? Looks like a "returned by someone else" job to me. Just checked an invoice that I have (I have bought from them in the past) and notice there is a signature box that you sign for the goods which says "Sold as seen and agreed" is that legal for new equipment? As the box is (apparently) sealed they haven't been seen. Anyway the printer is now back with the retailer.

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