/ Shopping

Too many shops are getting your rights wrong

Hand doing thumbs down

What do you do when you return a faulty item to a shop and they say it’s not their problem? Most of us accept it and leave with no resolution. But our investigation found that too many shops are misinforming customers.

A pathetic 16 out of 60 shops managed to clearly inform us that they could be responsible when our undercover shoppers asked for advice about a faulty fridge they’d bought.

We told each shop that a fridge we had bought from them – and which was just out of warranty – had broken. When you buy a product, it should be of satisfactory quality. And so if it develops a fault at a time in its life when this shouldn’t reasonably have happened, the shop could be responsible.

But did staff at these shops manage to tell us this? No. Loads of the shops we tested just didn’t have a clue. And many staff categorically denied we had any rights at all, when this isn’t the case.

We gave the recordings to a lawyer from our Which? Legal services and he only rated nine visits as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ – where we were given an unprompted explanation of when the shop was and wasn’t responsible.

Shoppers fobbed off with excuses

Sometimes, even when staff did say we might have rights we received some baffling explanations of what these were. The included: ‘it’s the European thing’, ‘it’s on a sliding scale’ or ‘you get five years under trading standards’. Hmm.

We tested this at Argos, Comet, Currys, John Lewis and independent shops. And while the shops did vary (Comet had seven visits rated as fair or above, independents just one) the overall picture wasn’t a great one for the shopper.

Is it really too much to ask to expect shops to tell you your rights? Personally, I think retailers should train their staff much better so they have the right knowledge of consumer rights – too many people are being easily fobbed off with these excuses. Have you tried to return something faulty recently?

sparky says:
10 November 2012

Y don’t consumer of goods act don’t work I am now on my 2 American style fridge- freezer its just that manufacture DO NOT want to know they just give you the run around and hope you will give up but not me When .the first one started to fall to pieces in the first few months shelves broke the the last
straw was when the so called engineer melted the inside of the freezer with a gas blow lamp
Now i am on number 2 ! shelve has broken the ice and water delivery is useless after 3 call outs the ice freezer is not working the last engineer brought the wrong parts Had cannibalise the new bit with the old this was the replacement model still does not work was told by Curry this was mains water not on your Nelly
these type of freezer ARE NOT CHEEP so so much for ( L G)

Dee Dee says:
25 November 2012

I bought my mum an indesit electric double oven cooker nearly 2 years ago (04/10/10) and the smaller oven element has stopped working. She is not a heavy user as there are only 2 people in the household. I am still paying for the cooker which was bought from the littlewoods catalogue. I reported the fault and they gave me the indesit helpline saying that it would be covered for parts and labour even though i did not take out an extended warranty. I called them on Friday 23/11/12 and they said that they would only supply the part for free but would charge £120.00 for callout/labour charges. Am I covered for the full repair costs too and should I go back to littlewoods to challenge and/or ask them for a replacement cooker. Any advice welcome!

Dee Dee says:
25 November 2012

Meant to say that the Indesit cooker was purchased on 04/12/10 not 04/10/10! – Typo!

Mfdoll says:
15 January 2013

Hi I bought a flat screen tv from TESCO in April 07 for the last few weeks it has made a buzzing sound and the flat screen is getting very hot , will I be able to have it repaired under the sale of goods act as I expect it to last more than this , I paid 499.99 for it , I dint have receipt but do have bank statement with transaction on there

Ulrich Crammond says:
13 February 2013

Argos failed to deliver a sofa to my upstairs flat, saying it was too big for the stairs. Within 30 minutes, Argos telephoned me to say it would refund my money by sending a cheque. When it did not arrive one week later, I again contacted them and was again assured it would be with me in another 5 working day slot, When that week passed, I contacted Argos again, they said sorry for the mix up and said I would have it in 5 days, they sent a voucher ! Today sixteen days later I’m still waiting after refusing the voucher. I mean, as if I would ever shop there again. Any help would be appreciated.

Argos are obviously acting unprofessionally in failing to do what they had promised to do, but you are not without blame either. If I had ordered furniture without checking that it would go upstairs, I would feel very grateful if a company offered me a credit note for the full amount.

Ulrich Crammond says:
13 February 2013

@wavechange I should have mentioned that the delivery guys could have removed the very bulky packaging, it would easily have fitted then, they chose not to. I am disabled so could not have managed, it was their call not mine.

Fair enough Ulrich. I hope you get your refund soon.

A company selling large items of furniture should ask if there could be any access problem. Most of us don’t buy these things very often.

Sharon says:
8 March 2013

We brought an LG fisher washer as a treat for the household on the 26/12/2013, to cut a long story short it broke on the 27/01/2013, I contacted the currys/pcworld to arrange repair, repair man came out today and adviced all components need replacing, at which point I got on the phone to currys explaining I was not happy with the dishwasher and wanted to exchange the damaged and dangerous dishwasher for either a different dishwasher or a credit note, as I thought this was my right? I was told I needed to contact the manufacturer LG, when reading on martin Lewis site about the six month warranty we then travelled to our local currys/pcworld explaining what we had read, but the manager told us all they can do is repair the item, but after reading and listening to advice, we had already decided that we no longer satisfied with the dishwasher, we do not want the dishwasher constantly braking down, or months in repair as the repair man had shown us the water in the electric components and feel it is unsafe, and untrustworthy with a lot of maintance needed to correct the problem! What are our rights, I paid a hefty £598 for this dishwasher hoping it would last, or at least use it more than ten times max! Please can anyone advice on what we are entitled to.
Many thanks

Have a look at this information provided by Which?

By accepting a repair you may have made it more difficult to return the faulty goods.

Provided that you have paid for the washing machine and not bought it on HP, your rights are against the retailer. Maybe you should print the information from the Which? website to show to them that it is their responsibility to deal with the problem. I have had the same problem with Currys, and one of their staff even told me that the Sale of Goods Act did not apply to them!

Best of luck, Sharon. You might find it helps to go back when a different manager is on duty. I did this with a faulty phone, which a manager replaced after another manager had refused twice to do this. If you have paid by credit card your card company is jointly liable and Which? has advice on that too:

It is great that Which? provides helpful information your rights but what we really need is a Which? campaign for extended warranties free with all major purchases. If a washing machine manufacturer was responsible for paying for repairs for a period of ten years (or a certain number of hours use), this would encourage them to make their machines much more reliable.

linda says:
3 October 2013

im having same problem with currys bought a cooker on 27/06/13 on the 1/10/13 the top oven has stopped working, after numerous attempts to find a number for my local store to ask for refund or replacement found i have to go all the way to the store to speak to them !!! the phone no on my reciept is only for repairs. they offered an engineer to come out this week but i dont want it ifs its going to break again so soon. cant be to careful with gas. am i entitled to a refund ?

Chris says:
23 March 2013

I brought a Kodak printer in October 2012 and recently it stopped working properly. I returned it to PC World a few days ago who told me they didn’t send printers off for repair but I could exchange for another printer. I said that was fine and I would like another Kodak printer as the ink cartridges were cheap and I’d also brought some new ones that I’d just put in the printer before it broke. They told me that they didn’t have any Kodak printers and the next printer with similar priced cartridges was the Epson. I was happy about this as it was a Kodak I wanted. I asked for a full refund but this was refused as they only exchange or repair a faulty item. I was shown an Epson printer that was £20 cheaper than the originally printer I brought, I asked if I would be given the difference back and the answer was no, I would have to spend the difference on something else such as ink cartridges. I finally exchanged the printer for an Epson of an equal price. My question is should they have given me a full refund as they wouldn’t offer to repair the printer and they didn’t have another Kodak printer that I could exchange the faulty one for giving me a like for like exchange. Also are they right to refuse in giving me the difference in money back and telling me I have to use the difference on another product such as ink cartridges.

Duha says:
10 April 2013

Hi i bought a coffee grinder from currys online less than three month ago
I used it to grind spices abd coffee
Last week when i turned it on alot of smoke came out if it
I contact currys to help they replied saying that i am not going to get anything
As i misused the item its for coffee only and not spices
Therefore its item misuse and they cant help
I tried many times now they are ignornig my emails
Please help
The item i bought was

De’Longhi KG40 Coffee Bean Grinder – Black.

Currys may be right and you may have invalidated your guarantee by misusing the product. Retailers and manufacturers have rights to protect them against unfair claims. Damage could be caused by:

– grinding something that jammed the blades or overloaded the motor
– grinding something that contains liquid or has a high moisture content, which could corrode the bearings or get into electrical components
– grinding salt or something with a high salt content, which could corrode bearings and other components

If the instructions say that the grinder can be used for purposes other than grinding coffee, you can take that to the shop.

If you had wanted to use the grinder for other purposes, you should have made that clear when you purchased it, and ideally got that in writing or in the presence of a witness.

If the instructions do not mention other uses of the grinder, you could send an email to De’Longhi, enquiring about this. Don’t say your grinder has broken. If they say that the grinder can be used for the purpose, take the email to Currys. Best of luck!

fed up with fiat. says:
16 April 2013

hi there, I see this conv is mostly about electrical items but I’m hoping that someone might be able to point me in the right direction regarding my FIAT van.

bought it brand new in march 2010 and withing 6 months had developed a faulty clutch, fiat repaired under warranty.

approx 6 months later it was in again for a faulty clutch, again repaired under warranty.

it continues, all in all, for the last 3 years it has been in 5 times for faulty clutch or so I’m told by the

All repaired under warranty so not too bad apart from no replacement vehicle during repairs so I had to swallow the costs of a hire van every time as they would only offer me a car to keep me mobile, obviously not going to help me continue to work.

Anyway, warranty ran out in march but problem is still there, in fact it is worse now as the gearbox has completely given up as well now. am now being told that as warranty ended I am now liable for repair costs. Is this the case?

If the Fiat main dealer will not help, I suggest that you contact their head office and explain the problems you have encountered. I am not sure if the Sale of Goods Act is relevant since your van is used for business purposes, but the motor industry often helps people with repeated or serious problems. Best of luck.

Are you aware that Fiat stands for something like ‘Failure in Automotive Technology’? I don’t know about Fiat vans but their cars always seem come out poorly in Which? reliability surveys.

jan gosling says:
13 May 2013

I bought a logic fan assisted oven from curry,s/pc world in august 2011 before the warranty ran out the element broke , the hop sent a repair man out and he replaced the element he cooker was fine after this, then today 9 months after that element broke the new element has broke too,i telephoned the shop and was told i was out of warranty now and they could do nothing about it,i explained that i feel the oven may be faulty as this oven is only 18 months old an the element should not have gone twice in such a short time, the shop said they were sorry i have had all these problems but there is nothing they can really do, , they went on to explain that i could pay 119 pounds to have the oven looked at to see if it is faulty and parts replaced then another 40 pound for extended warranty, i am so upset about this, why should i pay more money which i cannot afford anyway to have an oven that is obviously faulty looked at , what are my rights regarding this, surely an oven should last more than 18 months.

Mrs b says:
11 June 2013

Hi, I bought a cooker from my local currys store within a few months the knobs started breaking ,I contacted the store who said they couldn’t help and that I should phone customer services ,this I did and they sent a engineer who replaced all six knobs plus left a further three as he said they were a bad design and would probably break again. Less than six months later I’m down to two knobs I contacted customer services again to be told they.would call back to repair or replace as it was a ongoing problem . They called whilst I was at work and as it wasn’t convenient promised to call back after five, I never heard a thing so I contacted them again this evening only to be told i have to pay for a independent report and send it to them in explained there engineer had said it was a design fault but they told me that’s only my word what are my rights and will I have to get a independent report ? Also I feel the cooker is dangerous as the knobs only appear to break when I try to turn it off

Mrs b says:
11 June 2013

I just noticed the comments by Jan above , my cooker is also only 18 months old and they also said I to could pay for extended cover at £119 no thanks currys I think you’ve had enough of my money and I just got a load of hassle

linda says:
3 October 2013

my gas cooker has broke after 3 months and its hardly been used . currys really are rubbish i want my money back not a repair am i entitled to a refund ?

g whitaker says:
3 October 2013

I paid £239 for a Bosch steam generator iron about two years ago. It came with a two year manufacturers warranty. I bought it from Argos. When it was about fourteen months old it gave up the ghost. Cue a visit to Argos who did not wish to know. Sent me after a right royal blazing exchange back to Bosch as the second year was “their warranty, their problem”. I Bosch were very nice and after downloading a pre paid label it was returned and exchanged for a new one. Excellent I thought! New one has lasted about twenty uses. I phoned back to Bosch who this time dont want to know either!!
The time limit is within two years since the original purchase which I can prove via a bank statement but what do I do? I might have well bought a £9.99 piece of tat and pocketed the change!! It would have lasted longer probably!!

susan lofthouse says:
26 November 2013

I find all this very interesting as I, too, was under the impression that faulty goods still under guarantee were the responsibility of the retailer. A recent trip to John Lewis soon disabused me of that one. I was told that a part for a Miele vacuum cleaner, after only four months after purchase and therefore still under guarantee, should be returned by me after contacting Miele. Apparently JL only replace after 1 month or less. I was told that Bosch is not the only company involved. Luckily the fault was rectified in store.

Maybe we should all be made aware of these terms when considering whether to buy or not. In future I will certainly investigate before buying anything from JL.

Claire Davies says:
19 February 2014

I was very disappointing today when I tried to return my faulty 2 month old Ipod 5 Generation back to Argos. I was informed that as it was out of its 30 day returns policy it had to be returned back to Apple for repair which will take approx 28 days. When I asked why they could not replace it I was rudely informed that you could have dropped the item and thats why its not working.

Do I have any rights?

Claire – Which? has useful information about the Sale of Goods Act on their website.

Unless goods fail soon after purchase, the retailer is entitled to offer a repair rather than replacement. Argos will have to return your iPod to Apple, but hopefully the time taken will be well within the 28 days they have estimated. With cheaper goods, Argos and other retailers will often offer replacement during the guarantee period.

Many people do break portable items such as phones by dropping them, although they should be capable of surviving minor abuse. Perhaps Argos was trying to inform that you would not be entitled to a repair if Apple discover that your iPod had been physically broken. They should certainly not have been rude about this.

It is likely that Apple will give you a new iPod. You will be able to recover music etc. purchased from iTunes using information on the Apple website. Best of luck.

lyndsey says:
5 March 2014

bought a tablet from currys for christmas, the tablet has stopped charging, took it back to the shop and they told me to contact HP the make of the tablet, they pick up next morning ,and got back to me saying it is not coverd by them as it has been missused, i tuck it to a repair shop they said they could repair it,but said we should go back to currys as there’s no sign of missuse, when i took it back to currys, they said its not there problem as it not coverd by the warranty, j

Michelle says:
18 April 2014

Hi what would be classed as a ‘short time after purchase’ under the Sale of Goods Act? Mu mum has purchased a Fridge Freezer from Currys. After 3 weeks switched on, it is now not working. When she contacted Currys yesterday, she was told that the Manufacturer would have to be contacted. She initially tried this, but after failing to get any answer, went back to Currys. they are now telling her that they will have to send out an Engineer. I believe that she should be entitled to a full refund as the item as stopped working just 3 weeks after purchase. Would this be correct?
Thank you

alim1129 says:
21 July 2014


Faulty TV screen when i opened the box

I recently brought a Samsung 55″ tv from Currys (Perry Barr, Birmingham UK), I did not open the box as i wanted to purchase all the other components such as stand, speakers etc.
I opened the new TV after 30 days later to my utter surprise to find the screened was damaged/faulty.
I took the TV back to the store and was first told by the manager there was nothing Currys could do about it since the 21 days has elapsed. I was not happy about it after 2nd visit , now they say they need to speak to the legal team before they can give me answer as to what can be done. I am still waiting!…. what is my legal position here, and what can currys do to resolve this, all your suggestions and answers is much appreciated.

Kelly johnson says:
25 August 2014

I purchased a hp chrome book 11 for my daughters birthday 7 weeks ago from a major catalogue she only had it 4 weeks ago for her birthday so has been in use for 4 weeks and broke after 2 weeks of use it doesn’t charge now no longer turns on, catalogue won’t replace of fix they told me I must go under warranty!! So I now have to wait 6 weeks for a replacement and have £230 stopped off my bank card for 13 weeks 6 weeks to receive new laptop 4 weeks for them to receive broken laptop plus 3 weeks to stop the hold on my bank card I’ve sent an email to catalogue stating under the law they have sold faulty goods and that I haven’t yet paid for it asked for new item or repair but they still won’t have any of it I used template letter off ‘one show’ consumer rights, still fobbed off numerous phone calls to them and got told I must pay for the repair myself as the charger port isn’t covered under warranty!! so now I’m dealing with America and a gift has now turned into only 2 weeks of use and a 6 week wait for a replacement I’m absolutely disgusted at isme that I now have to pay £230 for 13 weeks, lesson learned next time I’ll buy from a shop not catalogue

Kim Griffiths says:
30 August 2014


I brought a Beko fridge on line in Dec 2012. There was a cracked in the inside of the fridge and so they came and exchanged it with no fuss because it was still within the 1 year manufacture guarantee (April 2013). Now the 2nd fridge door is falling apart (I’m having to hold the door together with a bungee rope) and its outside the 1 year guarantee. Beko is not accepting responsibility and neither is the company I brought it from. Please advice me if there’s anything else I can do.

Kim Griffiths

erndy says:
30 August 2014

I have a cooker that’s only 18months old and the fan I playing up. I have contacted citrus where I bought it from and they are taking nothing to do with it. They are wanting to send an engineer at my cost over £100. Where do I stand legally with this? Any advice would be greatly received. Many thanks.