/ Consumer Rights, Shopping

Do you know your consumer rights?

Ever had a faulty product, missing parcel, dodgy second-hand car or delayed flight? Well, you have rights – but do you know what to do with them?

28/02/2019: consumer rights misconceptions

In 2018, we asked 2,000 of our members about some common consumer rights misconceptions.

We found some scenarios seemed to be cut and dry – such as returning a faulty second-hand car to a dealership or staying in a room with a carpark view instead of the sea view you’d booked.

But others were a lot more confusing.

Is a landlord responsible for repairing a property?

For example, we asked if it was true or false whether a landlord was responsible for all repairs and maintenance to a property.

44% said true     |     29% said false     |      27% didn’t know

The correct answer is true – but you’ll need to check your tenancy agreement as to what is the tenant’s responsibility. Usually this comes down to keeping the property in a good state of repair, changing the lightbulbs and keeping plugholes clear.

Read more about your responsibilities as tenant in our guide

Does where you shop change your rights?

We asked if you ordered a product online, you have more more rights to return it than if you ordered in-store.

40% said true, but 60% either didn’t know, or incorrectly thought you had the same rights in-store as you do online.

In fact, you have much more enhanced rights shopping online thanks to the 14-day cooling off cancellation period which doesn’t end until 14 days after you receive whatever you bought online.

Read our guide to cancelling an order for goods or services you placed online

“I’m renting and there’s mould”

We also asked if it was always the landlord’s responsibility to remove mould.

33% said true     |     27% said false     |     40% didn’t know

This answer is false as, sometimes, depending on the type of mould, it falls on the tenant’s shoulders to remove it. You can read more about which mould is whose responsibility in our free guide.

Your consumer rights questions answered

Click or tap on each to expand

I purchased a faulty appliance and the retailer replaced it with another faulty appliance. How can I get a working appliance?

Wendy asked:

A purchase from Curry’s on 31st January resulted in 2 faulty fridges, both returned To date I am waiting for the 3rd delivery and after 3 email complaints, 3 webchats ( copied for evidence)and 1 phone call, I still have no fridge.

According to Evgeni from Which? Legal:

As per the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to ask for the fridge to be either repaired or replaced. This should be done within a reasonable amount of time and without significant inconvenience. Eventually, you can also exercise your final right to reject. This means asking for a refund as Curry’s has not delivered a working fridge to you within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, the law does not provide guidance as to what is regarded as “reasonable.” This will be a question of fact.

It is worth putting your concerns in writing and send a hard copy letter to the Company’s registered address.

See our advice guide on how to get a refund, repair, or replacement for a faulty product

Can a parcel delivery firm avoid paying compensation for a parcel lost in transit?

Jan asked:

myHermes provides a parcel delivery service. They have introduced a new category, ‘postable’ parcels, (max 23x35x3cm) that can fit a standard letter box. However, unlike their other parcels, they provide NO COVER for loss or damage in transit. So I emailed them and there reply is: “As it is a ‘stripped back’ service we are also not offering compensation if any get lost or damaged in our network.” Is that legal?

According to James from Which? Legal:

Despite what the terms and conditions of the contract stipulate the trader is responsible for performing the service with reasonable care and skill. This is a term implied into your contract for services.

Further, consumer law states that a term of a contract that would attempt to exclude a traders liability for an implied term such as reasonable care and skill would not be binding on the consumer.

For this reason, despite what is advertised they cannot render a service poorly and escape liability.

See your rights if a parcel you have sent is late or missing

 

Helping resolve your queries

Here at Which? Conversation, we’re often asked to help with problems varying from delivery issues to misleading advertising and from faulty televisions to shady art dealings.

And fair enough, consumer law can be complicated with lots of grey areas and uncertainty about where to turn if you’re not being heard.

Have you had any problems where your consumer rights haven’t been upheld? Or any issues where your rights haven’t been clear? Tell us in the comments and we can help direct you to the right advice.

 

Comments

Has Amazon UK stopped letting people write comments on other people’s reviews?

Wendy Coupar says:
28 March 2021

A purchase from Curry’s on 31st January resulted in 2 faulty fridges, both returned To date I am waiting for the 3rd delivery and after 3 email complaints, 3 webchats ( copied for evidence)and 1 phone call, I still have no fridge.

Hi Ms Coupar,

I am sorry to hear about your issues with Curry’s.

As per the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to ask for the fridge to be either repaired or replaced. This should be done within a reasonable amount of time and without significant inconvenience. Eventually, you can also exercise your final right to reject. This means asking for a refund as Curry’s has not delivered a working fridge to you within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, the law does not provide guidance as to what is regarded as “reasonable.” This will be a question of fact.

It is worth putting your concerns in writing and send a hard copy letter to the Company’s registered address.

I hope the information above is of assistance.

If you do require any further tailored legal advice, then please do call in to Which? Legal to explore our membership options.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Evgeni Hristov
Which? Legal – Legal Adviser

@evgeni-hristov, Evgeni, Wendy Coupar’s complaint is just one of many against Curry’s. Some, many, of those complaints appear to show CPCW acting illegally by denying customers their rights under the CRA. And yet Which? take no effective action to try to stop CPCW behaving in this way.

Is it not time they helped an aggrieved customer take them to court? Can Which? not work with Trading Standards to try to change CPCW’s behaviour? Must we just be left to tolerate a delinquent company? Or has the poor perception of Currys been overblown and they are not that bad?

Does Which? have a view on how it can make Curry’s disaffected customers as powerful as the organisation “ they have to deal with ( to reword a mission statement 🙂 ).

I recently purchased a CD box set from the Square Enix online store (https://store.eu.square-enix-games.com/en_GB?_ga=2.44377188.1900796839.1618037513-305531329.1618037513). On arrival, the plastic box of the set was smashed, having been posted with only an extremely loose jiffy bag for protection. I contacted the store, which confirmed that they would replace the item if I returned the defective one.

However, they are only willing to reimburse my postage costs for sending back the broken CDs as a credit voucher for future purchases from their store. I cannot see mention of this approach on the store’s terms and conditions, which state “The delivery cost of returning a faulty Product, up to the value of 15 euro, will be reimbursed only if it has been verified to be faulty by the Reseller.”.

I could understand their refusing to give a straightforward reimbursement of my postage costs if I had changed my mind about the product, but this is simply returning faulty goods. I already incurred extra costs due to the store’s request that I return the broken product with tracked shipping. Am I right in thinking that I should press the store on the matter?

I recently had my 6th Warranty replacement of a FitBIt Versa go faulty again. Up to recently fit have replaced the item. On my latest contact with them the only thing they have offered me is a 35% discount on a new one. The last brand new replacement they sent was in June last year and went faulty in March this year.

Fitbit have only come back with:
“Although your device is outside the scope of Fitbit’s warranty terms, we want to offer you a 35% discount on a new Fitbit device.”

When I complained that this was not good enough and I wanted wither a replacement or better discount, Fitbit replied

“Since this is a replacement device, the warranty would still be based on the original device and not the replacement. And as of now, this is the best discount code we have available for your device’s warranty”

Any help much appreciated.

Fitbit is right about the original purchase date being the one that matters. I’m surprised that they have not given you a full refund by now, Michael.

You have a statutory right to make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act for five or six years, depending on where you live in the UK. This takes priority over the manufacturer’s guarantee and is against the retailer rather than the manufacturer, but in the circumstances I do not know what the outcome might be. I admire your tenacity but sometimes it’s worth moving on. https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

A manufacturer’s guarantee only applies to the item originally purchased; replacements will only be covered by the original duration of that guarantee.

I’d suggest your claim should be for lack of durability, a specific requirement of the contract you made with the retailer as stated in the Consumer Rights Act.

From what I recall, fitness trackers do not have long lives but I can’t find the Which? report.

A manufacturer’s guarantee applies according to its own terms. Which differ by company and product. If the replacement was a repaired or refurbished item the terms may limit the cover to the balance of the original term, though some will add ” ….or x months whichever is the longer”. If the replacement was brand new item some will start the term afresh. Since the manufacturer is not obliged to give any guarantee at all it seems fair they should be able to define the terms of what they offer.

You are right, David. To quote from the Fitbit website: “Any replacement Product will be warranted for the remainder of the original Warranty Period or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer, or for any additional period of time that may be required by applicable law.”

I had looked this up when a former neighbour of mine had a problem with a Fitbit.

Hi, we had new timber, double glazed windows installed in January 2021. There are now faults with them which the company acknowledged and agreed in person to replace. However, now I cannot contact the company and believe they may have gone bust as their phone line, website and Facebook page are down and they are not responding to my emails. Who can I appeal to in order to get the windows repaired or replaced?

Nicki – That is a difficult question and there might not be a satisfactory answer. In the first place I think you will need to establish the company’s current status. You can check this on the Companies House website which should state whether the company is still active, or in administration, or going through liquidation. In the case of the latter two states you would then need to contact the administrators or liquidators to register your interest. What happens next will depend on what you can find out.

How did you pay for the new windows and did you pay the entire cost or withhold a retention in case of any rectification work? If you paid with a credit card you might be able to recover some money to pay for an independent remedy but you will need to discuss that with your card issuer before committing to any work. If the defects are minor and the windows still function and don’t leak then it would be best to postpone any repair work until you know the full position of the company.

Some buildings insurance policies include cover for similar occurrences so it might be worth while checking your policy and asking your insurer whether they can help.

If the window company was a member of a trade body you might be able to find out some more about their trading position and whether or not there is any protection scheme for customers.

Hi Nicki – Which? has advice on making a claim against your credit card provider it the company has gone bust: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-can-i-get-my-money-back-if-a-company-goes-bust-aAmCs2Z30SLb

It’s worth confirming the status of the company as John has suggested.

Cavity wall insulation was installed by the Mark Group for the previous owners of my home. After they went bust in 2017 I discovered that I might still have protection since it was a member of a trade body. Fortunately I have not had any problems.

I hope you find a solution.

Hi Nicki,

Thank you for your message. I agree with John Ward above, it’s vitally important in your case to understand who you have contracted with and what their legal entity is. It may be the case they are a limited liability company as John mentioned and therefore registered at companies house (https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/) or in the alternative, they may be a sole trader. As a sole trader they would be personally liable, and you can pursue a claim directly against them. By way of example they could be listed as James Shelton trading as (or t/a) James’ Carpets.

In the absence of any credit card protection (please review the link provided by WaveChange) and/or applicable insurance policies it’s important to understand the financial viability of the trader themselves. I’ve provided a few questions below that you should consider answering:

• Where does the trader operate from?
• Do you have a full postal address for the trader?
• Is it a residential address?
• Is the property registered and therefore can we use the Land Registry’s website to purchase the title cover and understand who is the legal owner of the property? – https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/eservices/FindAProperty

This isn’t a perfect way to understand if the trader has any funds as the property could have a very high mortgage and therefore very little available equity, but it does indicate if it’s rented accommodation or not. This search costs £3.00.

• Is it worth conducting a TrustOnline check to establish whether the trader has any outstanding County Court Judgments – https://www.trustonline.org.uk/. I’ve recently advised a client to conduct a similar check and it came back with four outstanding judgments. This check costs £6.00.

These are just some preliminary steps to understand more about the trader and their ability to reimburse you.

I hope this helps.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

James Shelton
Which? Legal – Solicitor.

That is very useful information, James.
It would be interesting to know the actual fault(s) with Nicki’s timber windows as it might be possible to have someone remedy them. I wonder if it was the fitter who went broke, with the windows purchased by them from the manufacturer? They might be able to help.

Are kettles with plastic inside them safe?

I thought plastic gives off cancer causing chemicals when they become hot

Is it true?

I am not aware of any problem with the plastics used to make kettles. I wanted to buy a stainless steel kettle with no plastic parts but mine has a plastic lid. I had a similar kettle and the plastic lid failed.

I’ve used plastic kettles for years with no problems.

Why would anyone be allowed to sell kettles made from a plastic capable (or suspected) of causing cancer?

There is such a thing a product liability legislation….

The main concern has been about bisphenol-A which is found most often in polycarbonate. It has been phased out of plastics in contact because of concerns about cancer, though this is a matter of debate. Polycarbonate beer classes are still widely used outside pubs and on match days for safety reasons and because the beer is not in contact for long. I do not know if polycarbonate has ever been used in kettles in the UK.

Hopefully kettles made in far-flung places are compliant with all current safety standards. Some of the low molecular mass compounds used in (non-food grade) plastics are a bit toxic.

steve says:
27 May 2021

I am having a real problem with DFS. Sofa cushions are really uncomfortable. We had a manager visit and he put more stuffing in them. They are now even more uncomfortable. We ended up ordering new “premium” fibre cushions as we were misled. However the 3 failed deliveries. So we want to cancel the finance contract (with Barclays), get a full refund and also get our £300+ refund on undelivered cushions. Any advice and DFS not returning any of my calls.

Hi Steve,

I am sorry to hear of your issues with DFS.

When you purchase goods from a retailer you have certain statutory rights afforded to you by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (if the goods were purchased post 1 October 2015). Your sofa must be of satisfactory quality and be fit for purpose. I note your complaint is regarding the comfort level. This is a very subjective characteristic of a sofa and is not easily challenged.

As the manager agreed to perform a “repair” on the sofa, this means that DFS agreed there was a defect present. Technically, as one repair has been provided you can now move on to your final right to reject which means DFS arranging for the sofa to be collected and to refund your money (a refund may be subject to a reasonable deduction for usage). If the sofa is older than 6 months the burden of proof is on you as the consumer to prove that the sofa had an inherent defect at the time of purchase. This can be accomplished with an independent expert’s report.

I understand that you also have a finance agreement with Barclays Finance. Under law you can hold Barclays jointly liable for the goods. It is worth contacting Barclays and asking for assistance.

With regards to the cushions, if they were also purchased from DFS and there have been three missed deliveries by DFS, you can ask for a full refund.

As a next step it is advisable to put your concerns in writing to both DFS and Barclays Finance and request the remedy you are after.

I hope the information above is of assistance. If you do require any further tailored legal advice, then please do contact Which? Legal to explore your membership options.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Evgeni Hristov
Which? Legal – Legal Adviser

Charmaine Brooks says:
9 July 2021

Hi

I hope someone can help me as I have an issue with FOSSIL.

I recently took my watch into my local store for repair, they took my watch said it would take 4-6wks and that I’d receive an email when it was ready for collection.
After 6wks I called the store as I hadn’t heard anything only to be told that it had been lost.
The store offered me a replacement watch so I went into store but as I couldn’t find anything that I wanted and as my watch has been discontinued I asked if I could have a Gift Card with the balance of the price of a new watch.
They store refused and said they could only offer me a replacement as they do not do Gift Cards.
Because I felt that I had no other option and felt backed into a corner I choose a watch similar to my original and left the store.
After a few days of thinking things over I rang the store and spoke to the manager to ask if I could return the watch, the manager said I could and I explained that I would like a Gift Card.
He said he couldn’t authorise this but would speak to someone who could and come back to me.
After a week he came back to me to say I couldn’t have a Gift Card, the best he could do was store credit i.e He would put a note on screen and I would be able to come into store at a later date to choose a new watch.
Firstly getting to store is a pain, secondly how do I know that they won’t delete the note and what if the store closes down before I choose a new watch?
So I spoke to Customer Services who said that I should have been offered a replacement or a refund as my watch had been lost and that they had breached CRA 2015 as they had failed to provide me with adequate service. However they said they couldn’t help unless I could prove that my watch had been receive and then lost at the repair centre and have a tracking reference for my watch. Unless I have this I would have to resolve my issue with the store as they sent the watch for repair.
I went back to the store who said yes my watch had been received and lost at the repair centre and they could supply me with a tracking reference for my watch but then I received an email to say that they couldn’t supply a tracking reference as it had not been kept at the time of sending my watch.
So I am now at the stage where I don’t want a watch, can’t get help from the store but also can’t get help from customer services as I can’t prove that they lost my watch!

Help!?!?!

I assume you had an agreed value when you selected the (since rejected) replacement watch? That sets the bar.

If it were me I’d set out the above (but more concisely) to the manager/owner – find out his name – of the store in question, including the CRA breach, the value of the initial, offer, complete with key dates and any reference numbers you have, asking for a redress of cash at that value, and seek a reply within 14 days.

If that didn’t do the trick you are at a fork in the road, with the option of accepting the offer of an in-store credit note or pursuing redress via the courts. If you choose the latter, next step would be to send a letter before action advising it would be your intention to claim this redress via the court if not paid up within 7 days – and on the eighth day submit a claim via MCOL for the previously offered value plus costs and interest.

A am not a lawyer, just a personal opinion.

So I purchased a Pergola from Robert Dyas a few weeks ago and the feet have a fault. It can easily be rectified with a small replacement part. I contact RD who told me they don’t stock the item (drop shipped I assume?) and so would have to replace the whole item and that i need to let them know a day they can collect it that is at least 4 days in the future. They state that this will be a whole day appointment.

I have numerous problems with this that all relate to very significant inconvenience to me and my wife:
1. It took us over 2 hours to build. To dismantle it will surely take the same amount of time.
2. We no longer have the boxes so don’t have anything suitable to pack it it.
3. Having to stay in all day (again) to allow them to collect.

What are my rights on a flat-pack faulty item? Must i dismantle and how easy must collection/return be? A law that mentions “inconvenience” seem vague and open to interpretation. I’m particularly annoyed that this is a huge waste of time, effort and money for everyone that could be avoided with a small replacement part in a parcel.

For now I have told them that they must supply a fixed-time appointment to collect and dismantle it themselves along with a time estimate for their team – highlighting it took us 2 hours. Is this reasonable? I’m not expecting they actually have people to come and take apart rather large garden items like this so am proactively looking into my rights while I await their response.

I should add that the fault stops the Pergola being secured to the ground as per the instructions so arguably represents a safety issue.

Andrew – At the moment the pergola is presumably not fit for purpose. Robert Dyas are accepting that they must replace it. Their inability to supply a particular component is their risk but I nevertheless feel that you should dismantle the item yourself and do your best to make it available for replacement. I can understand if you feel disinclined to do so but that would be my advice for a satisfactory outcome.

When things go wrong with purchases it does cause inconvenience and consumers have to accept that up to a point. To some extent, it’s in the price. I don’t think you are in a strong position to lay down too many conditions on how and when you get a replacement; if Robert Dyas make their best endeavours to satisfy your rights that will count in their favour in the event of this becoming a legal dispute. The company has a good reputation and I feel that if you work with them they will ensure you get satisfaction.

The sensible solution would be for Robert Dyas to supply the missing components or to instruct their supplier to do this. That’s the sort of service that I associate with buying from shops. They might want to see photos illustrating the problem.

I fear that Dyas is unlikely to cooperate with Andrew’s request but they could offer a worthwhile discount for wasting Andrew’s time. It may only take one incident to create a former customer.

It seems that the feet of the pergola are not missing but faulty. Whether they are separate or part of the structure is not clear.

As you say, I would have expected Robert Dyas to offer to supply replacements but for whatever reason that is not within their capability. The maker or supplier could be a long way away and it might take forever for new parts to arrive. Cannibalising another product to obtain satisfactory feet might have been considered but not a practical solution if another example is similarly defective or not available.

If, as Andrew surmises, Robert Dyas do not actually stock this product and it is ordered direct from the manufacturer in flat-pack form it is understandable that they cannot come up with a simple solution for replacing or rectifying the feet.

We don’t know the full situation nor whether Andrew bought the pergola on-line or in a shop where he had an opportunity to view it. The consumer rights will differ.

I must admit I might have sought a discount and sorted out my own engineering solution to the feet problem, but without knowing the product it is impossible to say whether or not that is practical for the average homeowner faced with this problem.

If the pergola is worth keeping I, like John, would find a way to secure it, using my ingenuity or the internet. There are fixing kits to secure pergolas to the ground available online. I would be surprised if one could not be found to solve the problem, and get RD to pay.

Otherwise I think dismantling and leaving the faulty product accessible to be collected is the alternative. It is unreasonable to expect someone to stay at home all day for the convenience of RD, if the product is not as described.

What are my rights with Internet Service Providers ISPs if I migrate an existing broadband connection from one provider to another with a 12 month contract, and I find the performance or technical support isn’t acceptable?

Are there any good ISPs that offer a monthly contract?

Dear A,

Thank you for your message.

With regards to your rights towards ISP your usual statutory rights apply. I would draw your attention to s.49 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 the requirement that any service provided should be performed with reasonable care and skill. If you believe the performance or technical support isn’t acceptable, I encourage you to submit a written complaint setting out your concerns.

By triggering the formal complaints process you will have means of escalation to an appropriate Ombudsman scheme to hear the complaint independently. This can be a useful mechanism to resolve the dispute.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the Ofcom compensation scheme that may be of use if your ISP is registered. Please find some helpful links below:

Which? – Consumer Rights Act 2015 – Services:
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl#supply-of-a-service

Ofcom – Compensation Scheme:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/automatic-compensation-need-know

Which? – How to complain about slow broadband speeds:
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-complain-about-slow-broadband-speed-ab8Fy7A6spua

I hope this helps,

James Shelton
Which? Legal – Solicitor.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Caren says:
9 August 2021

I bought a shoe cabinet from made.com. It was damaged when it arrived. The 2nd & 3rd replacement units were also damaged. They clearly don’t quality check their items before sending as all the units were damaged before being sent rather than damaged in transit. They offered me a £25 made.com voucher every time to keep the damaged item…even when the damage is major or means the unit can’t be used!! I told them I wouldn’t keep the units for that. They have offered me little in the way of compensation when I’ve had to be home on 5 different days to get the new items delivered & damaged ones collected. And it takes my husband & I about an hour to repackage up the damaged units for collection due to the items size & weight. Their customer service is pathetic to say the least. They are now telling me that if I want to return the 3rd damaged unit, they will post me packaging to wrap up the damaged unit in (for which I’ll have to be at home to take delivery) then they’ll have to come & collect it on another day…so 2 more days at home, another hour of packaging a unit for 2 of us. What are my consumer rights? can I refuse to package up the item & tell them they need to send someone around to package it up & take it away? I’ve also just read that they should have refunded me the delivery I paid for the initial delivery – is this correct?

Caren — I think you are entitled to have personal attention from a senior company representative to put you in the position you should be in or a full refund so you can shop elsewhere. It seems that the shoe cabinet is imported and dispatched without any physical inspection — that is virtually inevitable these days — but once it has been brought to Argos’s attention they should make sure it doesn’t happen again, and again.

Hi Caren,

Thank you for your message. I’m sorry to hear of the problems you’ve had with Made.com.

Broadly speaking in this instance when there is a breach of contract you as the consumer should not be significantly inconvenienced. I think it is a reasonable request, given multiple failures, for Made.com to take more responsibility in this instance and either package the item ready for return (or instruct a courier to do so) or alternatively discuss with you another means of resolution

In turning to the delivery cost, if you are rejecting the product on the basis, it’s not of satisfactory quality, then you should also seek the original cost of delivery to you. In my view, you shouldn’t be in anyway out of pocket due to a faulty product.

I hope this helps,

James Shelton

Charlotte says:
18 August 2021

Hi,

Any advice would be appreciated.

I have an HP laptop that was in warranty when it suffered from issues with the hinges – this happened at about the 10-month mark. Like all laptop providers, hinges are not covered by HP’s limited warranty, which I did not know. I also purchased an HP care pack, which I seemingly cannot use to claim.

According to HP, anything that happens to laptop hinges is due to external conditions – basically accidental damage. They state unless it has been recognised by the design team, then it cannot be a fault with their product. I have been back and forth with them and the only thing they can offer is a paid repair. They do not have an ADR scheme and complaints are handled in-house.

I have had an independent report done and it claims my laptop has not suffered physical damage but the screws around the hinges have lost their thread due to wear and tear from opening and closing the laptop – as you do. In an article on HP’s website, they write that a midrange HP laptop should last 2-3 years. I have seen two accounts of hinge issues with my laptop model from other users too. HP has closed my case and will not go any further.

Do I have a case to challenge their decision or is it a lost cause?

Colin says:
18 August 2021

My wife bought my son headphones to use on his PlayStation from Sainsbury’s in March 2021. The headphones have become faulty and he can only hear from one side. My wife took them back to Sainsbury’s with the receipt but the manager refused to refund her or replace them as she doesn’t have the guarantee receipt. He also told her to contact the manufacturer to see if they could do something. Is this correct? I’ve tried speaking to Sainsbury’s customer service but they too tell me to go back to the store. Any advice will be most appreciated.

Hi Colin, that’s a real shame your son’s headphones have stopped working properly already.

If you’ve owned an item for less than six months and it develops a fault, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says the retailer should be given one opportunity to repair or replace the goods.

If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund instead.

These are your consumer rights regardless of additional guarantees, so your original receipt with the date of purchase should be enough for you to ask for a repair or replacement.

You can use our faulty goods tool to start a complaint with Sainsburys: https://www.which.co.uk/tools/faulty-goods-complaint-tool/

I bought a Kalkhoff electric bicycle on 20/10/2017 from 50Cycles. In June 2020 the bike developed two faults: firstly I could not change the gears and then the Power Assist system stopped working.

I found that the local 50Cycles shop had closed down, so I contacted 50Cycles online and was advised that they did not now deal with Kalkhoff, they said I should get in touch with a Kalkhoff dealer.

I contacted the nearest dealer, who said they were only dealing with bikes that they had sold, due to being busy during the Covid lockdown and that they would not look at my bike.

Eventually I found a dealer who arranged to get a new controller for me in the hope it would solve the problems. It was obtained on 12/07/20 and I fitted it myself (it just plugged in). With the new controller fitted the bike the Power Assist did work, but the gears still did not work. The bike was taken to this dealer on 10/08/20 to deal with the gear problem.

The dealer has been in contact with Kalkhoff in Germany many times and several parts have been sent from Germany and fitted to my bicycle but the gears still will not work. The bike is still in pieces at the bike shop, now over a year later.

I recently learnt that 50Cycles (from whom I bought the bicycle) ceased trading on 31/03/21.

This has left me over £3,000 out of pocket (including the cost of the new controller). Also, the dealer who has the bike will probably want re-imbursement for the many hours they have spent trying to fix it.

I have been without the bike for over one year now and there is no prospect of me getting it back anytime soon. I don’t know how to proceed; can you please help?

Hi Susan,

I’m sorry to hear you’ve had so many problems with getting your bicycle fixed, it sounds extremely frustrating.

I’d recommend reaching out to our legal services team who might be able to offer some tailored advice on your situation and where to go next.

There’s more information on Which? Legal and how to get in touch on this page: https://legalservice.which.co.uk/contact-us/

I really hope you manage to get this resolved soon.