With Christmas just around the corner, you might be shopping for new tech, be it a TV or laptop. Most will come with a one- or two-year warranty, but do retailers know your rights if a fault develops after this?
Did you know that if your tech develops a fault later in life, you might still be able to get the retailer to repair or replace it, even if the warranty has expired?
Under the Sale of Goods Act, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If you find a fault with your product before it would be reasonably be expected to do so you can claim against the store rather than the manufacturer, even beyond the warranty. And you have six years to take a claim to court for faulty goods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; in Scotland you have five years.
However, we found some of the biggest UK retailers fobbing off customers by giving incorrect information on their rights.
Going undercover into stores
In our latest undercover investigation, we rigged up a team of mystery shoppers with recording devices to find out what customers are being told by shop staff about their rights.
Our mystery shoppers visited or called popular online and high street retailers on 12 occasions – including the likes of Amazon, Currys, Apple and John Lewis. Our shoppers ask what they should do with a faulty laptop or TV that was bought from that store, but was just out of warranty. You can see what happened in our undercover video:
Do retailers know your rights?
In 56 out of the 72 visits staff gave a clear impression that we didn’t have any rights against the retailer or referred us to the manufacturer. Of the 12 calls made to Amazon, nine were rated very poor by our consumer lawyer, while both John Lewis and Argos had seven visits rated as very poor.
Our investigation found that Amazon, Argos, Euronics and John Lewis could be breaching consumer protection regulations because information given by their staff was misleading. This could leave people out of pocket if they pay to get items repaired themselves when the retailer could be responsible, depending on the circumstances.
Currys and Apple were ranked the highest in our investigation, but both still only received satisfactory ratings for five of the 12 visits on the information we were given. None of the retailers scored an excellent rating.
Have you tried to return a faulty product?
Our latest survey found just one in five people correctly said that the retailer could be responsible for a faulty product after the warranty’s expired. So stores must ensure that their staff are giving the correct information.
We put our findings to the retailers and will be following up our research over the coming months to help ensure you’re consistently getting the correct information from staff.
In the meantime we want to know if you’ve been in a similar situation. Have you ever tried to get a faulty product repaired or replaced by a retailer after the warranty has expired?