If your mobile phone screen developed a crack, whose responsibility would it be? Yours, the retailer’s or the manufacturer’s? We think you shouldn’t be left out of pocket for something that’s not your fault…
Picture the scene. You’ve just bought a brand new mobile phone – a pretty snazzy smartphone, by all accounts. Then you notice a mysterious hairline crack on the screen. You haven’t dropped or manhandled it. Yet, your mobile phone company is refusing to offer you an exchange or refund. Seems a little rubbish doesn’t it?
Return to sender?
However, this was the reality for one Which? member who noticed hairline cracks on the screen of his brand new Samsung Galaxy S3. When he returned his faulty phone to his local Orange shop within 24 hours of buying it, exchange was refused on the basis that the phone must have left the store intact.
Finally, after lots of complaining in person and on the phone, Orange has now offered to refund the cost of the cracked Samsung Galaxy S3. Also, as a gesture of goodwill Orange is cancelling his 24-month contract. Orange conceded that he should have been given the opportunity to inspect the phone after it was handled by retail staff. It has also offered £20 compensation for the inconvenience caused.
So who is responsible for faulty products? The Sale of Goods Act stipulates that goods purchased must be of satisfactory quality. If they aren’t, the retailer will be in breach of contract.
Your rights for faulty goods
If you buy a product that turns out to be faulty, you can choose to reject it, as long as you do so within a reasonable time frame. That means you can give it back and get your money back. If you prefer, or if more than a reasonable amount of time has passed since your purchase, you can ask for either a repair or replacement.
It’s the seller’s responsibility to prove that a faulty product was damaged or misused by you if the problem arises within six months of buying the product.
If you’re in a similar situation, don’t forget your three Rs – rejection, refund and replacement. Make sure you’re not left out of pocket for a fault that is not your own.
Has your smartphone ever developed a hairline crack? What did your mobile phone provider tell you if you tried to return it?