/ Money

Legal advice: the case of the missing zip

A company isn’t allowed to mislead consumers with false statements. Here’s how we helped a member when he was given the wrong information.

After Which? Legal member Paul bought an Antler Zero suitcase, it was damaged during a flight with British Airways.

BA sent the case to its agent, K2 Global Ltd, which said that it wasn’t repairable, instead offering a replacement.

Although Paul had originally paid £175, the case was now a few years old, so K2 offered a model worth £106. Paul specifically wanted one with a zipped pocket, which would cost an additional £42.

Incorrect information: your rights

Before paying, Paul contacted Antler, which confirmed that the replacement would have the pocket, yet the model he received didn’t.

K2 refused responsibility because it was Antler that gave the incorrect information and Antler initially refused because it had not directly sold the suitcase.

When Paul contacted us, we advised him of his rights under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

If a company gives incorrect information regarding the nature and characteristics of a product, and this is likely to influence a purchase, the retailer could be in breach.

Our legal advice

We advised Paul to write to Antler, referencing this law. It contacted him soon after to offer a new model which did meet his requirements. Antler said:

“We acknowledge that in this instance there was a miscommunication about the specification of the product.

This was our error, so we apologised to the customer, and offered a more premium, new product as compensation.

We take customer feedback seriously, and always aim to resolve issues swiftly and fairly, which we hope we were able to do in this instance”

A company can’t mislead people with false information that’s likely to cause them to make a purchase that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

If a company recklessly misleads consumers, this can be considered a criminal offence. But, in the case of an honest mistake, it’s often better to try to resolve the issue with the retailer in the first instance.

Have you ever had difficulty getting a replacement product from a company? Have you ever felt misled or been given conflicting information?

Kevin says:
5 November 2019

This illustrates the standard operating procedure for customer service, particularly in insurance, banking, utilities, council and government services, where you are effectivley a captive customer.

First, deny responsibility, if that doesn’t work, defer responsibility, if the complainent is still being a ‘troublemaker’, debate responsibilty until they get bored and give up.

Typically I’ve had to cut and paste their own terms and conditions and email them with the URL to get action, including from a well known building society refusing to reimburse a direct debit from a utility company who were not responding to emails about money they had effectively stolen from me.