/ Shopping

Are retailers refusing to honour the Sale of Goods Act?

Stop hand

If something you’ve bought turns our to be faulty, you should be able to return it to the retailer. That’s thanks to the Sale of Goods Act – but it seems some shops aren’t always allowing you to exercise those rights.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If they’re not and it’s within a reasonable time – usually three or four weeks – you can reject the item and get a full refund. If you’re out of time, you can ask for a repair or replacement.

Plus, within the first six months of purchase the onus is on the retailer to prove that the fault was not present at the time of purchase – after this time the onus switches to you, the consumer.

Does the Sale of Goods Act work for you?

But while these rights seem simple enough, putting them into practice can be tough. We’ve heard from you about retailers refusing to honour Sale of Goods Act rights – confusing their own store policies on returning goods with their statutory obligations. Wavechange told us:

‘I don’t often shop in Curry’s but I can give several examples of unsatisfactory treatment regarding recently purchased products. My personal favourite was when I was told that the Sale of Goods Act did not apply to them. On another occasion Curry’s would not accept the return of a Miele vacuum and insisted that I contacted the manufacturer. I did and received excellent treatment, knowing well that it was the responsibility of Curry’s to sort out the problem.

‘My only success with Curry’s has been to get a different manager to swap a mobile, after their repeated failure to fix a problem on a phone that I had first returned within a few weeks of purchase and had been kept for emergency use in the glove box of my car.’

When we went to Currys & PC World for comment, a spokesperson told us:

‘As a retailer we fully acknowledge our responsibilities under the Sale of Goods Act and all of our store colleagues receive training on this. We will always try to resolve issues directly first but on the occasions where we do refer customers to suppliers, it is because they are best placed to achieve the quickest resolution – as detailed in our receipt wallet.’

Another commenter, Pat, told us about the camera troubles she had at a camera shop:

‘I had to return a small camera that refused to focus when in video mode. The assistant manager refused even when I pointed out the provisions under the Act. She said it had to be saleable and in the original packaging. I pointed out that was their rules not according to the Sale of Goods Act. She only refunded the money when I requested her refusal in writing so I could take them to court. THEN I had my money in record time.’

I’ve personally been lucky on the few occasions that I’ve needed to return goods, but that’s clearly not the case for many of you.

Have you ever had a problem trying to return an item under the Sale of Goods Act? Or have you found it to be a useful piece of legislation to refer to when you return goods? We’re trying to build up a picture of what’s really happening on the ground, so your comments will be valuable evidence for our research.

Comments
Guest
eve lincoln says:
3 August 2015

I bought a macbook pro from pcworld in may 2013. The hard drive has gone on it. I took it to Apple and was told it was the hard drive was bad. The guy at the genius bar said the proof would be on me to prove that the Hard drive was faulty from the start. I call customer care of PC World and they told me to bring into the store. I went into the store and they were very rude and told me to go to Trading Standards, and didn’t want to hear that I contacted customer support and was doing what customer support told me to do. I had to speak outside and call customer support and then went inside and handed the phone over to the employee (who was very rude) now I am waiting to know whether they will repair it or not. I will never buy another apple product again. I have an hp laptop from 2007 that stills works. I have done nothing wrong with that laptop, and apples are known to have issues with HD because lack of vents. I spent 1200 on the computer and the HD fails in 2 years. The customer support with PC world was fine but horrible in the store. I will update on here when I hear back from PC world. I am sad, because I have been told 5 different stories on SOGA. I want to know what my rights are.

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Guest

Eve – When you buy a product, the responsibility for dealing with faults lies with the retailer rather than the manufacturer unless the manufacturer issues a safety recall. PC World should not have sent you to Apple unless they had first investigated the problem, but that’s what most retailers do. Which? has sent undercover reporters into well known retailers and recorded evidence of this.

Under the Sale of Goods Act the onus is on the purchaser to prove that a fault existed at the time of purchase after the item is six months old (it is the other way round up to six months), which would involve paying for an expert’s report. As I see it, the hard drive was probably OK but has failed – something which can happen with any hard drive, even though they are generally reliable.

Earlier this year I had a MacBook Pro repaired free of charge by an Apple Store, despite the fact that it was three and a half years old. One difference between is that I had bought my computer direct from Apple, so they were the retailer as well as the manufacturer.

The new Consumer Rights Act takes over from the Sale of Goods Act in October, but although there are benefits, the problem of getting support outside the manufacturer’s guarantee period remains and there is still no qualification of what ‘durability’ means. Many people don’t even try to exercise their rights.

If you get nowhere with PC World then a replacement hard drive should not be expensive and should not be to too expensive to fit. It’s a job some owners have done themselves, though not one I have needed to do. Best of luck.

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Guest

Eve, the Sale of Goods Act does require a product to be “durable”
– the durability requirement is that the item should work or last for a reasonable time and – reasonable time – this depends on the item and the circumstances. What is reasonable is determined by taking everything into account and considering what an impartial person would think is reasonable.
Very general because SoGA covers every product. In your case Apple products are expensive, well made, so it should not fail in 2 years unless it has been abused. With a hard drive this might be a sticking point – it could have been dropped for example. You would need an expert examination to help your case, I suspect, if you went to the small claims court and as wavechange points out it might well be cheaper and simpler to have the drive replaced.

However, if it was me I would contact Apple with the whole story. They might help. Nothing to be lost 🙂

Guest
MJ Rich says:
12 July 2017

Eve, why did you not buy the MacBook from Apple or John Lewis? I would not buy anything from PC World as it looks like they cannot spell Sale of Goods Act let alone abide by it. Due to a bad experience with PC World some years ago I joined Which? It looks like the manufactures send their fawlty goods to PC World knowing the customer will be fobbed of with a repair. Like I said, you should have gone to Apple or John Lewis or Argos – anywhere but PC World.

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Guest

MJ, your opinion of a retailer is irrelevant with regards to whether they have to honour the act or not, so you’re merely victim blaming.

Guest
eve lincoln says:
7 August 2015

I got a call from pc world this morning, saying they haven’t done anything with the computer. The manager on purpose left it for 3 days before contacting me. They said that I needed to pay the 50 quid. I think that is in violation of SOGA that I have to pay to have it look at. I don’t think that 2 years on a HD is reasonable. I can see with 3 and half years it could go, but not at 2 years. I know have to go back to the apple store for a copy of the report.

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Guest

eve, if you need a report I suggest you need an independent report that you arrange. PC World have a vested interest in the outcome so it does not seem appropriate they should control the report.

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Guest

Asking as much as £50 just for a “look-see” is a bit of a cheek, a good independent would probably just replace the hard disc for you for not much more than that…

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Guest

Eve – I am surprised that you not given a written report indicating what the problem is and stating the repair cost. That’s what I received when I visited an Apple Centre after spending 50 minutes carrying out a range of diagnostic tests over the phone.

If you go back to Apple and tell them about the hassle you might be lucky, but Apple don’t have any responsibility because they did not sell the computer.

PC World can insist on an expert opinion that the fault was present at the time of manufacture. Like Malcolm, I would be very wary of accepting a report from PC World. It might be worth discussing this with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Some of these are hopeless but mine has produced some good advice in the past. They should be able to give advice on how to obtain an independent report. Another possibility would be to sign up for the Which? Legal service, for which there is an annual subscription.

Unless you know for sure that the hard drive is faulty, it’s worth trying various tests, for example whether it will start up in Safe Mode: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201262
There’s a lot of good advice on the Apple website and other Mac sites.

Guest
Eve Lincoln says:
9 August 2015

This is the letter that I wrote to PC world. They said they are going to arrange for the macbook to be pick up. The issues I have is that I have read that there are several issues with Apple and hard drives. If you google hard drive failures on IMAC, you will see there was a 90% failure rate. I have had a night to think about my options. I purchase a macbook laptop from PCWorld Witney 09/06/2013. I had made an attempt to have my laptop fixed by PC World. I now have to go to Reading which is an hour drive from my house, to obtain paperwork stating that the HD is not working on the mac. I feel that since I was told to bring in the Mac by customer care and it was not fixed, and there was a delay in contacting me that your company was refusing to fix the problem. The manager has acted in manner that indicated he had no intent of fixing my laptop.

I was intentionally told wrong information regarding my rights Sale of Goods act by the GM of the Witney store. I am giving PC World 14 days to fix my laptop. Which I feel is generous as the hard drive has been problematic for at least a month. I had made arrangements via customer care of PC world to take in the laptop. I was treated rudely and the store flat out refused the laptop. I had go outside the store, call customer care to be told to take the laptop in the store, hand the phone to the sales associate. After that point, the manager called me to confirm my post code. He never contacted me about having to pay to check over the computer. Having to pay for you to inspect the computer is not an option, that is not stated in the Sale of Goods Act. Actually I am giving PC World until the 24th of August to repair my laptop, without me having to pay 50 quid fee for looking at it. I have told you that Apple has determine the Hard Drive is bad. It is up to PC World to check and return my laptop with a good hard drive.

Thank you and please let me know how I can make arrangements to get my laptop fixed.

Sincerely,

There isn’t a need to have an engineer report unless you are going to court. CBA wasn’t helpful as they were giving me the wrong information. From what I have read, you only need that report if you intent to sue the retailer. It is wrong, to make that a requirement because it only discourages consumers from persuading their rights.

Guest
Eve Lincoln says:
9 August 2015

I ran several tests before taking it to the genius bar, and it was confirmed it was the hard drive.

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Guest

Eve – The hard disk in an iMac is different from those used in Apple laptop computers.

f Apple discovers a frequent fault they publish details: https://www.apple.com/uk/support/exchange_repair/ As you can see from this page, they will replace hard drives in the affected iMacs.

If there are a significant number of problems with MacBook or MacBook Pro laptops then hopefully free repairs will be offered.

When you do get your computer fixed it’s best to run Disk Utility periodically to help avoid problems developing. Apple provide this useful utility with every Mac but do little to promote its use.

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Guest

Eve / All,

Some earlier models of IMAC suffered from very poor thermal design and, over the few years of their short lives, gradually “cooked off” their motherboards until the display hardware failed.

I owned a s/h one that was so affected for a whole week, until I took it back to the shop and got my £60 back.

A proper fix would have needed both a new motherboard AND a design change, to remedy the poor thermal management by inmproving the cooling arrangements. Looking back, similar problems one affected Xboxes and, longer ago, ZX Spectrums and Acorn Atoms.

So if Eve’s MAC is from a generation that consumes hard drives, merely feeding it another one to gobble may not provide a complete fix for the problem.

Guest
eve lincoln says:
14 August 2015

I have read more and more class action lawsuits for several different products made by apple. I won’t be owning another one after this. PCworld did pick up the laptop to be fixed. I am currently looking for a job, which is harder to do without a laptop. The main thing is that you should know your rights, and not allow any business to tell you otherwise. No, you don’t need an expert’s opinion, to get the repair done. Unless you go to court, again information that has been distorted to give the upper hand to big businesses. I don’t blame PCWorld, this is the fault of Apple.

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Guest

DerekP, it seems to me that demonstrable poor design that causes short life – you quote poor thermal design – could be covered, if it was a proven widespread cause of failure, by our Sale of Goods Act under “Durability”. In my view, poor design or choice of poor quality components that directly lead to unreasonably early failure should be seen as a defect that requires remedy from the retailer and then hopefully support for them from the manufacturer. A bit analogous to a recall in a faulty product.

However it would probably need an investment of resources to demonstrate this as a genuine cause, only likely to be achieved from a group of sufferers funding a class action. Or perhaps supported by Which?! A good example might be Sony Xperia phones – if we could find out, for example, whether they break at a significantly greater rate than other similar devices. Surely one of Which?’s roles should be to help with class actions?

Guest
Meeee says:
24 November 2016

What part of “It’s the RETAILER’S problem, not between the consumer and the manufacturer” under the law (inalienable, statutory rights) do you not understand? It may be helpful to direct people to find a solution, but it is ALSO ignorant of the MINIMUM legal rights a consumer has, and ALSO contributing to the culture amongst retailers of acting unlawfully (and illegally if giving advice that countermands the statutory rights, doing so is a criminal offence, albeit one rarely and not frequently-enough prosecuted, hence shady retailers’ policies become criminal).

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Guest

In Which?’s latest “Weekly Scoop” they state “Of the five new tumble dryers we’ve just tested, it’s the cheapest that impressed us the most. The 65% scoring Hotpoint TVM570P is just £180 ” I note that Hotpoint offer a 10 year guarantee on all parts providing they are fitted by their own engineer; could still be expensive.
As Hotpoint comes below average (=9th) for reliability in the Jan 15 mags survey I would be interested to know how Which? can make this recommendation. It may simply result in more people having to approach retailers to fix defective driers,or use the Sale of Goods Act?

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Guest

It’s very important to look at the terms of the warranty. I recall Which? telling us of a gas boiler with a fifteen warranty, but also mentioning that it needs to be serviced annually by one of their agents.

With cars, it is no longer necessary to use dealers for servicing to preserve the warranty, providing approved spares are fitted. We have the EU to thank for this. Unfortunately the appliance industry does not seem to have to comply with similar legislation.

I’m not sure if it’s still true but tumble driers are fairly reliable, so reliability need not be the only factor to consider. Looking at the current Best Buy table you could spend over £1000 on a Miele tumble drier that scores 66%, one point better than the cheap Hotpoint. With a class of product that is generally reliable, I would be more concerned with a low score.

The scores that Which? awards and presumably the Best Buy selections do not take price into consideration. I used to think this strange, but have seen a justification of this policy on several occasions. Some recent Which? reports have referred to Value for Money. To be able to assess this you really have to have an idea of long-term reliability. That is such a difficult thing to measure that I will be surprised if Which? introduces Value for Money in routine assessment of products.

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Guest

The Hotpoint TVM570P tumble drier above was given “Best Buy” status by Which?. In Which?’s Test Lab Buyer’s Guide it says”Some models can’t be Best Buys as their brands have low scores in our reliability survey”. Hotpoint came 9th=.in that. So why a “Best Buy”?

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Guest

From at a recent (October 2015) report on tumble dryers:
“SCORE Ignores price. Based on:
Energy use …………………………… 20%
Drying time …………………………..20%
Ease of use………………………….17.5%
Evenness of drying ……………. 12.5%
Dryness of clothes …………………10%
Condenser efficiency …………….10%
Creases …………………………………..5%
Noise……………………………………….5%
Vented and condenser dryers must score at least 65% to be a Best Buy. Heat-pump dryers must score 70%.”

I don’t believe reliability is tested. As far as I am aware, reliability ratings come from Which? surveys for brands. Tumble dryers are generally fairly reliable, but with less reliable products, Which? will not give ‘Best Buy’ status unless the product has a 5 year guarantee.

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Guest

I have a plasma television from Curry’s and I took out a Whatever Happens / Knowhow warranty which cost me £6:99 a month which to date has cost me £587:16 since November 2008. The television went wrong on 20/09/2015 and part of the insurance is that if they can not repair the television within 21 days they will write it off and give me a new one. However I still can not use my television it is now 38 days and still Curry’s are promising this and that and doing nothing. I have many more Knowhow insurance / warranties with Knowhow and when this is finally sorted out to my satisfaction I will be stopping my insurances with Knowhow and taking my services elsewhere.

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Guest

i bought an Advent Tegra Note 7″ tablet from PC World May 2014 to use as emergency access toWifi for my partner whilst working abroad on odd occaisions. Within 2 weeks I had to take it back as the USB port was bkn, they repaired it. Just over a year later it broke again ..bearing in mind it was hardly used. I rang PC World who told me the warranty was for a year only and since I did not pay for extended warranty I would have to take elsewhere to repair !!! As it was PC Worlds own product nobody would touch it, I thought thats that , money down the drain until somebody pointed out the sales of goods act. I since rang PC World again and the say I have to pay £50 up front to send it away for assessment. I dont have that money and i told them, in so many words they said tough no pay no assessment and money paid for item goesd down drain. What can I do ??????

Guest

I bought a TV from curry sauce 8 weeks ago it has a fault they said they would send it away to be repaired I am not happy with that 8 weeks is not very long and I would be left without a TV,
We phoned Sony they have offered us a reconditioned TV agin I think this is unacceptable considering the age,
Where do I stand?

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Guest

Hi Dawn – Your legal rights are against the retailer and not the manufacturer. Which? has advice on what to do if you have a problem with faulty goods: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act The Consumer Rights Act did not come into force until 1 October, so the earlier Sale of Goods Act is probably the legislation to quote.

One of the benefits of the new legislation is that you have 30 days to reject a product, whereas this was not clearly defined under the Sale of Goods Act. Obviously it is tough to have to accept a repair on a product that is only a couple of months old but that is regarded as an acceptable remedy. If the company gave you a new TV, they would be left with a secondhand TV – probably worth repairing but worth very little money.

Guest
Meeee says:
24 November 2016

” If the company gave you a new TV, they would be left with a secondhand TV – probably worth repairing but worth very little money.”
But that is the POINT of the balance of power between consumer and retailer in law, wavechange! The law doesn’t work well, because idiots don’t enforce it and retailers are lazy, criminal and shady as part of their business model all too often, BUT the idea is:
IF the retailers are saddled with lots of returns due to poor manufacturing quality, THEN they refuse to do business with the manufacturer, and kick up a fuss about quality. THEN the manufacturer ups their game and the consumer, AND retailer benefit in the future. This only works, IF the retailer does their job and IF the consumer does theirs and knows their rights. Manufacturers put out some TERRIBLY-SHODDY products, right? Especially in electronics! So WHY do they manage to get away with this? Clue: the law is pretty well-worded in this case. The problem is lack of balls and will to enforce it. Thus EVERYONE suffers annoying faulty goods and time-wasting returns and testing processes. Selfish, lazy retailers’ business models are largely to blame, too. They ought to support customers who stand up against poor quality goods. They don’t, quite often, and it’s disgusting, because they don’t realise (or care about) the effect on the market. how many MILLIONS of hours are wasted out of people’s precious time, because of this, every year in the UK? This damages the economy HEAVILY. Only a fool would ignore it, and not use their (minimum!!!) rights under the law. The government is ALSO to blame for not throwing the book at shady retailers who commit criminal offences by lying about customers’ MINIMUM rights. If the government had a clue about this, retailers would be economically-forced to conform to the MINIMUM (that word again!) legal requirements. Everyone would benefit, because the staff in the retailer are consumers in the same market, for example. Instead, ignorance rules. This is just one example of why our country is low-down the list of “happy places to live and raise children”, whenever such lists are made. Research it yourself…

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Guest

I have researched this for myself. I stick up for my own rights and encourage others to do so, but most people just accept it when retailers fail to comply with their legal responsibilities. You might expect Trading Standards to intervene and read the riot act to the company, but that does not happen. I don’t expect the situation to change until major retailers are taken to task and there is a large campaign to raise awareness of our rights.

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Guest

My daughter bought two quads from.soccer city after three months of no delivery they arrived with no screws bolts and one was smashed my grandaughters got on them christmas morning and both were broke the manager is refusing to speak to my daughter its absolutly disgusting the treatment she has recieved what are her rights

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Guest

Hi Debbie – You have 30 days to reject the goods. See the link in my post above. Getting faulty goods is not a nice Christmas present. 🙁

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Guest

Last year I purchased a Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-CT555W from Currys – I’d only had the oven 10 weeks when the inside of the oven door began to melt (both on the door and oven surround). I could smell burning, so decided it was unsafe to use. I contacted Currys, who said it was not their responsibility (totally unhelpful) it was the manufacturer’s problem, they put me in touch with Panasonic who said it was not their responsibility either, the young woman sounded as though she was reading from a list of reasons to fob me off, so I hung up the ‘phone. I contacted Currys again, at first the young man who answered began to say it wasn’t their problem, so I quoted the 1979 Sale of Goods Act, whereupon he said he would arrange (by email) for me to return the oven to the store where I had purchased it. A few days later I took the oven back to Currys, the lady at reception said it isn’t policy to give refunds and began to examine the oven, I pointed out the oven surround and door damage, she still seemed extremely reluctant to give me a refund, also saying she hadn’t had an email about my complaint. I again quoted the Sale of Goods Act – eventually after some time I did receive a full refund of £169.99. This has completely put me off buying anything from Currys in the future.

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Guest

Well done for being persistent, Ann. I am surprised that Panasonic should be so unhelpful because your description suggests that there may be a safety issue, not just a simple fault.

I would like to know which law Currys, the retailer, is breaking by denying responsibility for a product during the guarantee period. I did ask Which? about this in another Convo, but my question is unanswered.

I very rarely use Currys because of their poor treatment of customers. Last time I made a purchase they were still giving out a leaflet instructing customers to contact the manufacturer if goods were faulty. I would be interested to know if they are still doing this.

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Guest

Ann, well done. I believe it is a criminal offence for retailers to deny customers their rights under the Sale of Goods Act (“It is also against the law to mislead consumers about their legal rights – this could lead to a criminal prosecution under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.) Perhaps when the law is properly used against retailers like this they will wake up to their obligations and be more helpful in future?

Guest
Meeee says:
24 November 2016

Next time you see that, take evidence and pass it to the Trading Standards department at your local council. Tell the Trading Standards department if they refuse to prosecute this blatant criminal activity, you will complain about them at the highest level. Tell them you will also privately-prosecute Currys, and send them the legal bill, as a publicity stunt of how they are a waste of space. They must be a waste of space, as they could make money off Currys by fining them and evidence-collection and proving the case cannot be expensive to do as it’s so widepread. Willpower to scare people and use power-games against those whose business model is just that -abusive power-games. Why are we all too scared to stand-up for ourselves? WHY? Modern British (anti-) Culture. Disgusting.

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Guest

It’s easy to talk about involving the Trading Standards service and carrying out a private prosecution, Meeee, but in practice it is very difficult for a single citizen to do so for a number of reasons.

I admire your adamant posture on these issues in your recent posts but you sometimes overdo it with your vehemence and apparent contempt for consumers who accept bad deals. What we need in the UK is a competent enforcing authority for breaches of consumer law, as Trading Standards used to be. They have been starved of resources in recent years and are not in a position to act unless there are many complaints against a company; when they do act their endeavour is to settle the dispute rather than enforce the law.

Calling out bad traders through Which? and other media remains the main protection unfortunately. Which? itself is not a statutory prosecuting authority but it does have the citizens’ right to prosecute which it has shown no inclination to exercise, possibly because of the expense and uncertain outcomes; the Crown Prosecution Service also has the right to take over and close down private prosecutions subject to certain conditions and this inhibits adventurous actions.

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Guest

My own experience with Trading Standards has been very disappointing. I am not aware that any action has been taken regarding the issues I have raised. In one case where it was agreed that I had a strong case I was told that action would be taken only if similar cases were reported. Informing the company that I had contacted TS did result in a refund of my money, but no thanks to TS.

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Guest

If a Consumers’ Association (what Which? used to be better known as) has a key role it surely is to ensure consumers have enforceable legal protection. my view is Which? should start campaigning, lobbying, petitioned – whatever term it chooses – to get this recognised by Government and, I hope, to restore Trading Standards “services” to one where they deal directly with consumer problems and have the will to take action. Farming this role out to Citizens Advice seems, from my experience, a waste of time.

Will Which? take any action or is it already? Perhaps it would tell us what it is doing.

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Guest

On various occasions I have explained that Citizens Advice screen enquiries so that they can be handled by the appropriate organisation. I recently discovered that a relation of mine works part-time for Citizens Advice, and she confirmed this. Companies often screen calls in the same way. There are many consumer problems that are not within the remit of Trading Standards, so screening enquiries makes good sense.

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Guest

I have read this comment before. CA do not follow up on any Trading Standards enquiries the receive, they tell me, they just pass them on and do not keep an accessible data base of such complaints. They seem to be more or less a post box. So my query/complaint went into a void. Trading Standards, if properly set up, were quite capable of “screening” data, collating it, taking action and communicating. I don’t see how a charitable third party that lacks expertise can fill this role. they have too many other things to do Just let us do this job properly.

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Guest

If Trading Standards or similar organisation has to deal with enquiries that are not relevant, that is a drain on resources. With the failure of this and previous governments to fund TS adequately, having to deal with irrelevant enquiries would make matters worse.

I have used my local Citizens Advice service on numerous occasions and have been impressed, though others might not be so good. Citizens Advice is staffed by trained volunteers and perhaps they would be grateful of your help. If I was not already involved with charity work I would volunteer myself.

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Guest

My dealing with CA was advice to contact – Trading Standards! Many, if not most, people will know when they have a trading issue. TS, or their local authority, would be quite capable of redirecting people if their enquiry was not appropriate. It takes people to handle enquiries whether at TS or CA and I’d rather deal with professionals and deal directly with the problem so I can see progress and follow up if necessary; why introduce a third layer? Consumer protection is a serious business and requires serious, trained professionals to ensure it is done properly. Many issues are national rather than local, and I’d hope to see National Trading Standards playing the overall role, rather than delegating to a local office as they did with Whirlpool. It needs properly resourcing.

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Guest

I agree Wavechange, TS has little effect on consumer complaints with government funding now reduced to £1.99 per citizen. Read more on this at: http://www.theguardian.com – Trading Standards Institute – Consumers are no longer protected. Juliette Garside – 7th August 2016

My retired company financial director nephew has been working with Citizens Advice for some time now which keeps him pretty well occupied I believe. May prove rather too taxing I would imagine to combine both W?C and CA?

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Guest

Malcolm, many of the volunteers working with CA are in fact professionals, but they still have to undergo between a 6-12 months training period to qualify and are then singled out according to their particular skills. My nephew is indeed very professional with degrees in both finance and engineering and has at least 40 years experience at executive level in both these professions.

Read more @ citizensadvice.co.uk – Questions asked – Do you provide training?

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Guest

Perhaps we could get someone from Citizens Advice to lead a Conversation and hopefully contribute to the discussion. I will suggest this, but wonder if any of our contributors already do work for CA.

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Guest

I am sure many are, but consumer protection as meant to be provided by local and national trading standards is a serious business. We need to stop importers bringing in unsafe products, non-compliant products, counterfeit products and selling them, we need to deal with local businesses that break rules, we need to ensure shops are inspected to prevent dishonest and unfair trading. This is a job that needs dealing with properly, not through intermediaries. When I make a legitimate complaint I want to know it is being taken seriously, dealt with and not just lost in a secondary system. That is surely what we should be pressing for, and I hope Which? might be doing this on our behalf.

When I asked CA whether they kept any track of my problem so I could see progress – or indeed whether anyone was even looking at it – I was told “no”. When I asked whether they kept a database of complaints so they could be analysed to decide where action was needed, I was told “no”. If this is true then it all seems a bit ineffective. If all they do is decide whether a complaint is in Trading Standards court – and CA seem to do this centrally – then simply set up a central office to do this operated by Trading Standards directly.

There is much that CA should do to help people, and much it does well. We should not overload it. I want the public to have direct dealings as we used to have with TS so they know their problems are taken seriously – a role CA seems unable to fulfil.

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Guest

Every time I have gone to Citizens Advice with a problem that I have considered relevant to Trading Standards, it has been promptly referred to Trading Standards. I have also been invited to comment on the service I have received from CA.

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Guest

It does seem to me that Which? could quite easily black-list currys/argos for abusing the law.

No reviews, no assistance for anyone buying after the blacklisting, but keep a running total of lame excuses.

I have just heard the CEO of Argos on Radio 4 and it is obvious they have designed a lean selling machine that does not deal with a returns side.

Blacklist them will of course probably hit the news quite well and then the reasons why should be fun. Perhaps garner some filmed evidence. There is an Argos near Which? HQ so that will be easy.

If the rest of the country continues to shop with them fair enough so be it.

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Guest

Trading Standards are very competent at weights and measures and dealing with counterfeit imported goods and unhygienic food outlets but I would not rate them too highly at ordinary consumer level. There are horses for courses and CA have confidentiality issues to be considered which would prevent them from disclosing too much, if any, in the way of database or listings.

I would hazard a guess that it would be very uncharacteristic of you in particular just to accept a “no” for an answer without any creditable follow up
Malcolm 🙂 Did you question the “no’s” at the time?

It would be interesting to hear from someone working with Citizens Advice as Wavechange has suggested to confirm their extensive website claims are all they are cooked up to be. Could Which?Convo send an invitation?

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Guest

We could also do with a Convo led by someone working from Trading Standards or even recently retired from this role.

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Guest

Beryl – I feel you under-estimate the potential competence and capability of local authority trading standards services. I daresay that in their new stripped-back role they have lost a lot of expertise and senior personnel, but in previous times they were very effective in dealing with a very wide range of consumer protection cases because they also had the support of their councils’ environmental health services and legal teams which have also been decimated. When I lived in London the local council actually had a high street ‘one stop shop’ run by the trading standards service with help, advice, literature, information sessions, guest speakers, and surgeries on different topics. They would take up cases like dodgy builders, rip-off traders, SoGA problems, and they would even stand up to big retailers and manufacturers if people had bought a faulty product. This was in addition to their routine weights & measures and enforcement functions which were more frequent and more effective in those days.They would also cooperate with other trading standards services in neighbouring councils to mount campaigns and have a marquee at the annual borough show. It was real; it was live; and it was relevant. And it was before the internet. We sometimes have to remind ourselves just how much we have lost. I am very much in favour of having a major campaign to restore Trading Standards and establish real consumer champions in every area. Government suffers dreadfully from the notion that independent and voluntary organisations are the right way and the only way to meet these requirements. It’s not an austerity issue, it’s philosophical. And it suits commerce more than it suits the consumer.

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Guest

I understand what you are saying about the historic contribution made by Trading Standsrds John, but I feel we need to examine the whole current economic aspect and the rationale behind paying large government subsidies to more than one entity when one is perfectly able to provide an adequate and appropriate service.

In my post I specifically paid tribute to TS endeavours with regard to weights and measures, counterfeit imports and unhygienic food outlets and I believe this should now be the main focus of their endeavours, given the amount of cut backs in government funding.

CA, on the other hand, also have a specific role to play inasmuchas their focus should continue in a consumer advisory capacity, helping and guiding people towards a satisfactory solution to unfair and unjustified dealings with roguish suppliers and traders in the world of commerce.

Analysis of their comprehensive website demonstrates to me the proficiency and skill of the volunteers who give up their time and free services to such charitable causes and I am truly thankful there are still a few altruistic people in this country who are willing to dedicate themselves to the cause of others in their time of need.

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Guest

I agree with both of you. It does concern me that government relies on volunteers and charities to do work that should be done by government.

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Guest

I understand what you are saying, Beryl, but I do not see the Citizens Advice organisation ever having the capability and resources to undertake a professional trading standards and consumer protection function. Does it employ scientists and technical experts? Does it have forensic investigatory skills? Will it mount prosecutions? I am afraid I see CA as just a gatekeeper that has actually drained resources away from Trading Standards and diminished it. I accept that it can function well as a bureau that hears people’s concerns, filters them, and transfers some of the calls to specific parts of the remaining TS operation and deflects others to different agencies or rejects them altogether. The ‘reception’ role has not been a problem for trading standards and did not need an artificial – and superficial – remedy. I bet there has been a dramatic drop in the number of active cases being dealt with by trading standards services throughout the country at the request of or following reports by members of the public since CA was inserted into the referral process. That might have been the political intention but it is not good for the resolution of consumers’ problems and the deterrence of unfair trading practices by the commercial sector. It is entirely possible that many of the problems that are being tackled currently by Which? and being discussed in Which? Conversation would not have reached the proportions they have if there had been active intervention by a full-strength professional trading standards service.

I don’t want to see a situation where we have to have an unrelated intermediary – which I should have thought had enough on its plate already – helping out with part-time volunteers because an important and vital part of the national consumer protection infrastructure has been deliberately enfeebled. Trading Standards has never been a high-spending arm of local government [and, so far as I am aware, was not and is not subsidised by the government], but its work added value to the local community. If all it is going to do is stamping beer glasses, testing petrol pumps, checking the scales, and catching counterfeit goods [it doesn’t do food outlets – that is a public health function] it will lose all its expertise and competence as career opportunities are increasingly restricted. In the world of Whirlpool and the internet we need a professional body to take action against companies who fail in their legal obligations, sell dangerous goods, default on purchases, and deny consumer rights. The catalogue of complaints made via Which? Conversation is indicative of the massive gap left by the run down of trading standards – the travel trade, solar panels, opticians, boiler servicing, doorstep selling, false markets, two-pin plugs: just a handful off the top of my head – all these and more would have benefitted from active TS engagement and enforcement action.

Unfortunately a lot of the laws that underpinned consumer protection were also put to the stake in the “bonfire of the regulations” – things covering price display, trade descriptions, and unfair trading. The new Consumer Rights Act and regulations made thereunder appear to embrace many of these matters but without the clarity and direction of some of the old rules, especially in terms of enforcement.

I recognise that I might be relieving myself against the force of a gale and that there is no turning back now, but I don’t think we should let this issue just disappear off the government’s agenda for the want of an ounce of effort.

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Guest

John, I sincerely hope now your apparent frustration has found an outlet and relief has now been established, without further ado, may I take this opportunity of quoting from Trading Standards own website which exemplifies their own stance in matters concerning consumer issues.

“If you need advice or wish to report problems with goods and services bought from a trader based in the UK, the appropriate advice agency is the Citizens Advice Consumer Service which can be contacted on 03454 04 05 06. Please note that if you need advice on a problem outside the UK, you need to contact the UK European Consumer Centre on 01268 88 66 90”

“Trading Standards services are delivered by your local authority and consumer concerns should be reported to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06”

“Most local authority trading standards services do not have consumer helplines and can only be contacted by telephone through the consumer helpline above.”

“The Chartered Trading Standards Institute supplies support services for government, local authorities, businesses and individual trading standards professionals.”

To clarify all of the above, log onto: trading standards.uk – Support and Advice – Got a problem with a trader in the UK?

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Guest

I was going to post similar material, Beryl. Perhaps we can all agree that more investment is needed to allow Trading Standards to do its work.

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Guest

Thank you Beryl. I appreciate your attempts to pacify my anger but I am afraid you can’t put me down that easily!

I was well aware that what you have quoted is the current policy but I believe I am entitled to feel that it is not good enough, and to suggest that consumers should campaign for improvements. I would hope Which? would see this as a priority and in my opinion it has more merit than some of its other campaigns.

The statement “Most local authority trading standards services do not have consumer helplines and can only be contacted by telephone through the consumer helpline above” is somewhat disingenuous to say the least. Because I have found my way around the system I have been able to telephone people in our county trading standards service and they have never tried to pass me back round the loop. I have also written letters on several occasions and always had sensible replies and action when justified. This is the service everyone should have, not just ‘those in the know’.

There has been a deliberate down-grading of consumer protection, the terms of reference of the local authority services have been circumscribed, an intermediary has been inserted into the process with the effect of undermining the service, and local authorities have been compelled to reduce the budgets of the remaining operations since it’s that or welfare.

I am not an outraged ex-TSO trying to go back to an ideal world in a comfortable public service. I read just about every comment that comes into this website and it is quite apparent that people are poorly served by the present set-up. I have not yet read a single one that has said “I have spoken to Citizens Advice and am very happy with the way they resolved my problem“, but perhaps that is just the normal lack of gratitude. I also keep abreast of enforcement action and there are fewer and fewer reports of traders being prosecuted, it’s all about reaching a settlement these days – which is good for the consumer affected but does little to improve trading conditions for the rest of us.

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Guest

John, quite right. In the absence of adequate funding, trading standards has had no option but to pass work on to someone else – CA in this case. But they are not the right people to do such an important job. If all CA do is filter information to Trading Standards and give out generalised consumer advice then why not attach those people to Trading Standards and do the job TS was meant to do in the first place?

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Guest

When I have spoken to Citizens Advice about matters that come under the remit of Trading Standards my case has been passed to Trading Standards. Citizens Advice handles all sorts of enquiries including, for example, from people who are having difficulty paying their energy bills, parking charges, etc, etc.

I wonder why companies screen calls before passing us on to the appropriate department or individual to deal with us. Maybe it is because it is a more efficient way of doing the job because many don’t know who they need to speak to.

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Guest

John, it was never my intention to put you or anyone else down! My opening comment was a light hearted response to the last paragraph of yours in which you stated “I recognise that I might be relieving myself from the forces of a gale and that there is no turning back now.” My post was merely an attempt to bring into public awareness the content of TS”s website and their appointed role with regard to sharp practices in UK business and trade. All paragraphs quoted in adverted commas were that of Trading Standards – they were not mine!

For the record, if anyone is interested to learn more from people who have been helped by contacting Citizens Advice, may I suggest logging onto: citizensadvice.org.uk – ‘What we can do and how we can help.’ The website includes some of the people they have helped in the past, and they are looking for feedback, so this may provide a golden opportunity to question the efficacy of their worth – that is if anyone feels the need to!

Please be aware that I have played no part in any of the content of the above websites other than to bring into public awareness the roles of both TS and CA. Surely this is precisely one of the main objectives of W?/C, so that consumers are able to witness for themselves both sides of a topic before expressing their own thoughts and views in what should amount to a healthy and constructive debate.

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Guest

Thank you, Beryl – I took your comment in isolation without looking back to my own contribution.

Just for the record, I have nothing against Citizen’s Advice – I think they do an excellent job and the dedication of their volunteers is impressive. I just don’t think they should be expected to take on the role of trading standards. I think it stems from the shallow understanding by the government of what consumer protection is all about. They think that all that is needed is an organisation that can make a few phone calls on someone’s behalf, send a letter, the company will cave in, and the problem will be solved; the customer will get their product fixed or their money back – as seen on TV.

How can CA do anything about burning dryers, exploding washers, two-pin plugs, useless alarms, flaming kettles? All they can do is refer the complaint to the remnants of trading standards services so we end up with the fiasco that is Whirlpool being dealt with by the no doubt dedicated but under-resourced efforts of the cash-strapped Peterborough City Council Trading Standards service. It’s like a Sunday amateur side trying to stop Liverpool scoring goals.

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Guest

I would hazard a guess that those who used to contact Trading Standards with complaints knew what TS’s role was, and did not need directing to it. Those that did not know who to go to would have asked another organisation to direct them to the right people. So I have no problem with CA helping those by telling them to take their problem to Trading Standards. But get the public to make contact direct, not leave that to CA to do for them; CA seem to have no role in either collating complaints nor following them up to make sure they were dealt with.
The problem is CA are trying to do the TS role because many local Trading Standards, and the National Trading Standards, refuse to deal direct. That is what needs reversing

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Guest

At last some light is beginning to emerge Malcolm! Local councils trading standards are all suffering large governmental cut backs which, in a nutshell, is forcing them to deal with consumer complaints through Citizens Advice “only where appropriate.”

How to report a trader to Trading Standards.
Call the Citizens Advice helpline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards, if it is appropriate; appropriate being:-

* They misled you into buying their products or services
* They sold you unsafe or dangerous items
* They didn’t carry out the work properly, for example,
their work left your home in a dangerous state
* They sold you fake or counterfeit items
* They pressured you into buying something you didn’t
want to buy
* They sold you a car that wasn’t ‘roadworthy’ (it would
cause danger if it was on the road)

Any other queries presumably, should be dealt with by Citizens Advice; a shrewd way of saving money by using charities to carry out governmental responsibilities for them.

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Guest

Yes, Beryl – that sums it up. My fear is that it will be environmental health services next. Already the frequency of food premises inspections is slipping and full enforcement action is rarely taken against unhygienic establishments and places selling illegal foodstuffs.

Both these public services need to operate at a certain level in order to sustain the basic enforcement function and to provide continuity of expertise, intelligence and training.

I am sure a lot of the calls for help that come into Which? Conversation – especially in the consumer rights-themed topics – are because people either do not have confidence in Citizen’s Advice or have never tried it. Perhaps we should ask.

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Citizens Advice has a very valuable role to play against limited resources. It seems bureaux are threatened with closure – in Newcastle, Darlington, Wishaw, Herefordshire, Liverpool, Manchester….so taking on even more work will be to everyone’s detriment. We should be campaigning (in my view) for consumers to be properly represented and protected by a Consumers minister and by National and Local bodies – Trading Standards, rather than, with the best of motives, allowing the cracks to be papered over by a third party that seems to act as an intermediary. I’d like to be able to follow up complaints, look at a database to see whether there are significant justified complaints registered against particular businesses and products, and see that traders are properly being held to account and prosecuted where necessary, including those who repeatedly deny our rights under SoGA and CRA. I can’t do that at CA.

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Guest

Well said, Malcolm.

It’s worth having another look at a Conversation authored passionately by Peter Vicary-Smith [“Minister, don’t waste money vandalising consumer protection“] [11/04/2012] http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/04/government-consumer-changes—chaotic-and-costly-283352/ and reading the linked attachment [proposed changes to the consumer landscape]. It seems we have the Coalition government [2010-15] to thank for all this.

There was a Consumer Minister until 2015 [Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs] with responsibilities [along with lots of other miscellaneous subjects] (a) for consumer policy and consumer affairs, and (b) for competition policy, but this position was not re-established when the Conservative government took over in May 2015.

Perhaps it’s time for Which? to revive their passion in this subject and get at the government’s throat for once.

Guest
MJ Rich says:
12 July 2017

I agree Patrick, PC World should indeed be blacklisted for misleading the consumer. And prosecuted.

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Guest

Read before buying.

So went to your Craigavon store with a faulty laptop. Bought one on 26th Dec and had to have it replaced the following day as it was faulty. Went to use it on Wednesday night and It won’t turn on.

The store today refused to refund me yet my consumer law states that you have 30 days to return a faulty item for a repair, exchange or refund and if a second fault arises within 6 months of the original item being repaired or replaced then the consumer can legal refuse a repair and request a full refund.

Even when showing the manager this on the citizens advice website she refused to refund it and said if I don’t like it and don’t want a repair contact customer services. I spoke with them at 9.40am it is now 10.41pm and they have not been back in touch. I have no laptop to complete my work and am now being hit financially.

So beware if you are buying from currys. They will take your money but as soon as there is a problem they will ignore your legal rights happily break the law and screw you over. I suggest Argos!

My next step is watchdog and trading standards!!!

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Guest

Two months ago I bought a Toshiba tv from my local Co-op store. A few weeks ago the on/off switch started playing up and it was getting worse by the day, so this morning I phoned the store explaining the problem, expecting them to offer me a refund or replacement. The guy I spoke to said that the store can only offer a 28 day guarantee and after that it is between me and the manufacturer. He gave me a phone number for Toshiba which, when I rang, kept saying “the other person has hung up”. Luckily I found this site and decided to pack up the faulty tv and return it to Co-op this evening prepared to make a fuss if need be. The acting manager quoted the same speil about them only being able to offer a 28 day guarantee and that I would need to contact the manufacturer. I asked him if he was familiar with the sale of goods act and the new consumer act that came into force last October which clearly means my contract is with the retailer I purchased the tv from. After a few mins of speaking with his manager he returned to me and offered me the choice of a refund or exchange. I took the refund as I had read that this problem is common on Toshiba tvs. They were very polite and I was a happy customer in the end. I feel sorry for the consumers who got badly treated by Curry’s, and I think that all customers should make sure that before completing a purchase, the retailer is willing to offer them a written guarantee that is with themselves rather than fob them off with having to contact the manufacturer. I know I certainly shall.

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Guest

Dianne, well done. You used your legal rights and at least the Coop didn’t then argue. However they should know their obligations under the Consumer rights Act and there is no need to get anything from them about the guarantee – they are responsible as your contract is with the retailer, not the manufacturer if there is a problem. It is a criminal offence to deny the consumer’s rights.

Guest
Gaynor says:
5 September 2016

I bought a TV from Currys in Nov 15 and it developed a fault. They repaired the fault only for the problem to happen again. It was sent back again and again they said that they had repaired the fault. Guess what….yes it has happened again. They are refusing a replacement on the grounds that they have a policy of having an item back 3 times for repair before giving a replacement or refund. The TV is due back today but Im not happy with this as I am worried the problem will recur once the 1 year guarantee is up. It cost £1900 so wasnt cheap either. I wont be shopping at Currys again. Can Which help with this?

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Guest

Hey @gaynor as you purchased the TV after the 1 October 2015 you are now covered by the Consumer Rights Act and not the Sale of Goods Act.

The new act means that retailers – such as Currys in this instance – only have one opportunity to repair or replace a faulty item before you’re entitled to claim a full or partial refund.

You can find out more about your rights and the Consumer Rights Act here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

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Guest

Gaynor, it seems to me that if the initial repairs took place in the first 6 months, and that was when Currys said their policy of 3 attempts applied, then they have misled you. Their “policy” is illegal. The Consumer Rights Act allows:
– if failure of product occurs within 30 days of delivery, you can choose to reject for a refund or choose a repair or a replacement.
– if the failure occurs within 6 months of delivery you can choose a repair or replacement. If a repair is chosen, and rails to resolve the problem, then you can choose for a full refund or keep the product at a reduced price.

As far as I can see the retailer does not dictate these choices, you do. If so you could take legal action against Currys for denying your rights under CRA and requiring proper redress.

If the problems occurs within 6 years from delivery and the problem can be shown to have been present at delivery then you can still pursue the refund but a reduction can be applied if you have had proper use of the product in the meantime.

@afrench may want to correct or add to this. But it seems to me in essence Currys may have broken the law and you should have redress.

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Guest

Thanks @malcolm-r, indeed something doesn’t seem quite right here, as @afrench explained. It would be helpful know where Curry’s gave you this advice @gaynor?

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Guest

@ldeitz, it does, doesn’t it Lauren!

Over a number of Convos people have reported problems with some retailers – Curry’s seems a particular one – being misleading as to, or denying consumers their rights under SoGA and CRA. As someone else mentioned elsewhere it would be very useful if offenders were identified and highlighted in Which? research. Consumer protection law is crucial, I believe, in empowering consumers and must be properly respected – by retailers and consumers alike. Surely a key objective for Which?

I do not think mystery visits is a good way. I think a better way is to pursue real cases that real consumers have come across. A survey of Which? connect, of all Which? subscribers, and even a “campign” could identify people with real disputes that could be followed through as case studies. I see no reason why legal action should not be taken against offending stores. “Ignorance of the law is no defence” surely applies. It might wake these people up to the need to take their responsibilities seriously, both in training their staff properly and in treating customers correctly.

Guest
Meeee says:
24 November 2016

” I see no reason why legal action should not be taken against offending stores” – probably the CPS isn’t interested, and Trading Standards’ budget is too low (politicians set it, lobbying by big unethical business lines the politicians’ pockets, is my guess). IF conning customers is DSG’s (Currys parent company) business model, the massive extra profits reaped can be put into a legal fund, that then out-guns the budget of the legal team at Trading Standards, is my guess. Otherwise what are Trading Standards smoking all day instead of getting plenty of revenue in fines and protecting consumers from one of the most prominent and known-criminal retailers in the UK?

Guest
Vik Parmar says:
29 December 2016

Hi I am having some issues with Currys PCWorld.
Can someone advise me. I will go through this briefly.
Bought a 65″ curved 4K 3D TV from curry pc world 30.11.2015.
TV developed a faulty on 01.12.2016, rang knowhow and their collection men collected the TV. They did not pack the TV adequately, they put one side in a empty tv box and covering the other half up with whatever they could find on the van. Anyway 5 days later they turned up with it. one setting up the TV again I noticed the fault on it again ( volume going up by itself and the TV would switch itself on) but thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.
I had noticed the serial number was not stick on like it was wen they took the TV and thought Have they given me someone else repaired TV.
I rang knowhow and discussed this and they said the TV had been damaged in transit, and had to order a new back panel hence the loose serial number sticker. They also had a order a new main board.
on 16.12.16 I was woken by my TV as it had switched itself on and the volume was all the way up. The same fault as before. The Tv switched itself on 4 times in the space of 20 minutes.
I rang knowhow again and expressed my disappointment. I wanted another TV when they take mine but they could not do that as I was 115 in line. It was Xmas what was I meant to do. She advised me to take it to store and under the consumer rights Act that they would refund me.
I took it into the store and explained all that had happened and eventually they agreed to it after the TV had been assessed by knowhow. After many phone calls they have now gone against there word and say the TV has now been fixed with a software update. I explained that this is not what was agreed but they wont budge. They have just lied and blamed each other. I have written to their CEO regarding this. Not sure if I will hear back from him.
Do I have to accept this TV back after they damaged my £1800 TV.
Can I take them to small claims court and win?
Please if anyone can offer any help I would appreciate it.

Thank You

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Guest

As the TV was faulty, your choice was a repair or replacement. If the first repair failed then you have the choice of a further repair, a replacement or a partial refund. So your advice to take it back for a replacement was in line with the Consumer Rights Act. Phone calls are often recorded “for training purposes”, and if you have the date and time of the offer phone call and, preferably, a name then I’d suggest you press your case, citing the instruction you were given.

There should be no need to go to court but you can use this option to press your case.

Out of interest, what was the length of the guarantee and what terms does this offer? It is, of course, over ridden by CRA.

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Guest

Hi Vik, backing up @malcolm-r ‘s advice here – you could give the new Which? faulty goods complaint tool a go here and let us know if that helps at all. The tool will ask for some simple questions about the product and the fault and will then generate a bespoke letter citing your consumer rights for you to send on to the retailer. Have a go here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-do-i-do-if-i-have-a-faulty-product#use-our-faulty-goods-compaint-tool

Guest
Gilbert Q says:
3 January 2017

My issue with Currys is that I bought a laptop Dell Inspiron 15 7000 at the store. By the time I purchased, which is December 27th, what is shown both online and in-store is that the price of this item was discounted reduced from 1095 to 795, but the next day I found out online that they sneakily lowered the original price at 845. I felt being cheated because I bought it just for the discount. I could have bought an ideal laptop at the original price. When I bought the laptop I was expected to enjoy a laptop valued at 1000 pounds but now only to find my discount got depreciated as well as the value of the laptop. I went to the store and unsurprisingly, they refused to give me the refund because the package had been “opened”. It was actually the tape ripped off from the box. Everything inside was intact. That was a strange judgement of openness. I used to return items at other stores, but they all agreed even my package is in worse condition than that. I am sure that the staff had opened the box before for installing the antivirus software, and sealed it in the package again. So it is not the case as the shop assistant claimed they could not resell the product like this. By the way, when I asked the refund the woman at the teller acted rudely. When I explained my issue to another guy, she rolled her eyes saying impatiently “here he comes again”, waving her hands and left.

I sent an email to Currys customer service as followed based on a citizen letter template. Is there anything I can do to modify my language?

Dear Currys,

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

On 27/12/2016 I entered into the following contract with your representative in the street:I bought a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 at Currys PC World Oxford Street branch, London at a discounted price at £795.00 pounds claimed to be a reduction from £1095.00. So I expected to enjoy a laptop valued over 1000 pounds but at a lower price, and that was why I bought it in the beginning, because of the discount. But on the next day of my purchase, I found, both online and in-store, the price of this item had been secretly lowered to £840.00. This led to my dissatisfaction because now the value of laptop had shrunk 200 pounds’ lower and if I were informed with this devaluation, I would have purchased a laptop with better features in the £800-£900 price range. Therefore, I suspect Currys of misleading consumers by its pricing plan, which creates an exaggerated and more-than-reality price gap for its offer on Dell Inspiron 15 7000 fabricating a greater attraction for the customers.

Moreover, when I went to the store with my proof of purchase and laptop in original package, the shop assistant refused my return and refund request by giving inconsistent explanations. First, she rejected by claiming the item was not faulty, but then I pointed out according to the return policy I had right to return products within 21 days of purchase with proof of purchase and original package. Then she claimed the box was opened. Indeed, Currys blurs the classification of the “openness” of the package, and my item was misclassified as an open and used item because the tape was ripped off. In fact, the laptop and inside content are left intact. Followed by her rejection, the shop assistant repetitively insisted that “we cannot resell the product like this”, which turned out to be unfounded, because by the time the item was handed to me it had been displaced from its original package because the staff took it out to install the antivirus software for me. Clearly, the packing was opened by Currys’ staff and re-sealed. So the store has the ability to seal and resell the product. Thus, the assertion from the shop assistant was untrue. From the evaluation of the staff’s responses and the return policy, I have right to believe the Currys is breaching its return policy through the act of rejection for my return and refund. Throughout the process, the woman at the till was unacceptably rude and rolled her eyes on me. I was disappointed at the misconduct of Currys’ employee and the poor service provided by Currys. Moreover, there were dishonest remarks in the selling process by the salesperson. During her selling process of care plan, she informed me that my laptop was able to be repaired in the US which turned out to be false because there is no branch of KnowHow, the care plans as well as Currys PC World store in the US. So there were certain misconducts of the employees which add to my dissatisfaction with services of Currys.

Here is the summary of my statement:

1. The pricing plan of Dell Inspiron 15 7000 conducted by Currys is misleading;
2. By refusing to refund, Currys breaches its return policy through equivocation;
3. Poor service is provided by Currys, characterised by rudeness and dishonesty;
4. I am unsatisfied by finding out the original value of my purchase is significantly lower, along with the luring pricing and services

Therefore, I urge for full refund of my purchase of Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (£795) and data stick (£55, since it cannot be used alone without laptop), summing up to £850.

I have now decided that I do not wish to proceed with the contract.

Under the above Regulations, I have 14 days from receiving the cancellation notice to cancel the contract.

I am therefore giving notice that I want to exercise this right to cancel my contract with you.

Please confirm within seven days of receiving this letter that the contract has been cancelled.

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This act is fairly pointless because it’s utterly unenforceable if the retailer doesn’t want to honour it. How many people are going to waste time/money going to small claims court over a small purchase. Even with regards to cars, which the act covers, the same is still true. If you buy a car with a pre-existing fault, and a couple of days later the car brakes down, and the garage won’t repair it for free, are you really going to get the lawyers involved over something which costs £80 (for example)? Until there is a dedicated regulator or enforcer for consumer rights they will be largely useless unless a retailer voluntarily agrees to honour it.