/ Shopping

Undercover investigation: faulty advice on faulty goods

Cartoon of shop floor

Black Friday saw millions head to high street and online retailers to top up their Christmas gifts. Shop floor staff certainly know how to sell, but do they know your rights when it comes to returning faulty goods?

When we investigated this issue last year, we found many examples of poor and misleading advice. Many retailers told us that once a product was out of warranty it was no longer their responsibility and that we should seek redress from the manufacturer. However, under the Sale of Goods Act this is not strictly true, as your rights are with the retailer.

We were also told that inadequate staff training was the reason for some failings. So, when we repeated the investigation this year, we spoke to managers as well to see if their responses were any better.

The good, the bad and the acceptable

Just like last year, most of the shop-floor staff failed to adequately explain our rights and we were frequently told that the retailer is not responsible for faulty goods once they’re out of the warranty period.

However, there is some hope as we saw some improvement on last year. For example, Amazon’s ratings increased from one out of 12 calls being rated fair or better than fair last year, to six this year. There was a similar jump in ratings for Apple too, increasing from five out of 12 visits being rated fair or better than fair, compared to this year’s nine.

Catch me if you can

On the whole, managers appear to be a bit more clued up on the Sale of Goods Act than shop-floor staff. The only problem we had was getting hold of them. All the Apple managers we spoke to rated fair or better and 10 of the 11 Currys managers achieved the same feat – two of which were rated as excellent.

It’s unacceptable that you could be left out of pocket due to incorrect advice, so we’re continuing our discussions with retailers in an attempt to keep these ratings moving in the right direction. In the meantime you can head over to our Consumer Rights website to find out more on your rights, so that you can explain them to shop staff when you’re returning faulty goods.

Have you found you know more about your rights to return faulty products than the shop staff you speak to? Or have you always had a good experience getting your faulty goods sorted?

David says:
20 April 2016

Can anyone advise me if a online retailer is obliged to pay for the return postage of a faulty item ? If so whats the time period? I brought a radio 10 months ago and the retailer said they will get it repaired but I need to pay the postage.