Retailers still giving the wrong advice about faulty goods

December 19th, 2013 13 Comments By Lucy Sweet

People are getting ripped off right left and centre over faulty goods – by Britain’s most trusted stores. Advice about their legal rights is often incorrect, and the information given to customers can be misleading or just plain made up on the spot.

john lewis which 300x129 Retailers still giving the wrong advice about faulty goods

Which! have amassed their mystery shoppers again, a group of shadowy individuals who are probably also behind the infamous Cicada encryption, and apparently, they were ‘appalled.’

The shoppers called Amazon, Currys, Argos, John Lewis, Euronics and Apple 12 times to enquire about an imaginary faulty laptop or TV with an expired warranty. A consumer rights lawyer monitored the call. What THEY knew was, under the Sales of Goods Act, you can claim against the shop if it becomes faulty before you would expect it to, regardless of whether the warranty is still in effect.

But most of the shops didn’t seem to know that. Most of them were adamant that the consumer had no rights and told them to contact the manufacturer. Amazon was the worst, while John Lewis and Argos also came up with a load of baloney, saying the retailer no longer had any responsibility.

As you can imagine, this is the kind of thing that makes Richard Lloyd’s BLOOD BOIL.

‘It is unacceptable that customers could be left out of pocket by following incorrect information from major retailers about their shopping rights. Stores must ensure that the information their staff are giving is correct.’

Giving misleading information to the consumer is also a breach of the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act. But John Lewis got all bolshy, saying:

‘After six months, the consumer needs to show the origin of the fault. Had the test shoppers presented their complaint within this context, then we are confident our staff would have responded appropriately.’

Oh, sort it out, shops. It’s not that difficult to understand, is it?

Comments (13) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Dick December 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    You don’t have an consumer rights if you have an imaginary faulty laptop. Although in that case, the store should probably just tell you that they will send you another imaginary one by the imaginary Royal Mail.

  2. Posted by ugly joe December 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I really miss the old BitterWallet crowd. The faux doctor seuss poems were a particular favourite. And do you remember when that bear from the theatre posted, wasn’t it something about gardening? Happy days.

  3. Posted by jokester4 December 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    My £800+ 46″ Sony TV completely failed at just 2 years old. Sony want about £250 to fix their fault and even after that, it is likely to fail again (since Sony have seriously lowered their quality standards over the last few years and there are several other serious common faults with their TVs).

    Can I essentially force the retailer to fix/replace it under the Sales of Goods act ???

  4. Posted by Tony December 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    WTF – IS DIS REAL?

  5. Posted by James December 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Jokester4 – It all depends on what the fault is, most major retails will have an out of warranty team, however it is down to you to prove to the retailer that the fault was there from the day of purchase, this can often be done through an independent company usually found in any yellow pages. Where did you buy the tv from? Let me know if you need any further info…. :)

  6. i have had a motorola xoom tablet since march its not keeping its charge and wont charge at all now but cant find reciept but i have bank statement, they are saying that its not proof of purchase even though its for the exact amount and its on their system so they wont repair it they will just refund me. I bought it in half price sale. Is this right?

  7. Posted by Alexis December 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    My Apple iMac failed after 2 years 10 months.

    Apple replaced the PSU and motherboard for nothing, no questions asked. The engineer over the phone even mentioned the Sales of Good Act before I did!

  8. Posted by Grandma December 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I used to work for one of the companies mentioned, there was no system in place to deal with out if warranty problems (not at store level anyway). We were instructed to tell customer to contact manufacturer. I would give customers our complaints No. And urge them to call and make a fuss. As soon as I could I left.

  9. Posted by Serenepd December 20, 2013 at 12:52 am

    At suzanne> thats not right and for electrical goods the conditions are different. Additionally if your within the natural warrantly which it sounds like you are then you need to knock this back.
    Contact OFT office of fair trading and they will instruct exactly how to approach this eg letter / complaint or othewise….

  10. Posted by Jamie December 20, 2013 at 7:15 am

    @suzanne/serenepd it’s not OFT any more. From April last year consumer affairs are now handled by Citizens Advice. See advice guide website for details.

  11. Posted by randy giles December 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Thing is, what john lewis said is right. After 6 months the onus is on the customer to prove the fault is inherent and present evidence to the retailer. The onus on the retailer, is to then do something about it. That could be repair, replace or partial refund. It could also be to dispute the evidence presented by the customer if they can prove the fault was not inherent and caused by something else, like abuse, neglect or accidental damage.
    The sale of goods act also protects retailers from customers trying to pull a fast one as well as customers protected from retailers shying away from their responsibility.

    If you’re claiming a product shouldn’t have failed, be prepared to get independent reports and maybe go to small claims court.

  12. Posted by Samantha December 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    If you were offered an extended warranty at the time of sale, shouldn’t that in itself constitute a reasonable expectation of how long it would last? In order for it to be financially viable, indeed profitable for a company to offer a 5 year warranty they themselves must have a reasonable expectation that you won’t need to make a claim.

  13. Posted by Big Mozzer December 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    ^ what randy giles said.

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