Len Dastard takes on BestBuy - an update

14 February 2011

Hola amigos! It is I, Len Dastard, back again to fight for you, my dedicados lectores. Whilst I write under the guise of a semi-retired Mexican wrestler, I am a full time litigation executive who gets his kicks from assisting consumers in their disputes with retailers.

I do like burritos, however, and have a fetish for the feel of spandex against my agujero marrón de olor.

You may remember that I took on Best Buy a couple of weeks ago. We have finally reached a conclusion.

You can find the previous article here, but if you are of limited attention span, this is the short version: Bitterwallet reader Damien ordered an Olympus E-PL1 Compact System Camera, for which the online description included an “Electronic ViewFinder VF-2”. This was not included when the delivery arrived.

After emailing customer services, Damien received a £38 “goodwill gesture” from BestBuy. We assisted Damien in replying, by stressing that BestBuy were very obviously in breach of contract. Their reply read:

To resolve your complaint we will offer a full refund on the return of the camera or alternatively, if you are willing to keep the item we will refund you 10% of the purchase price paid.

If you are unhappy with the product you have received, Best Buy UK (any retailer) can offer a full refund on the purchase price in order to cancel the transaction.

As such, Best Buy are not breaching any form of 'purchase contract'. You have the option to either return for refund, or accept our gesture of a 10% refund should you retain the product.

This is the final offer from Best Buy UK.

Getting the obvious out of the way, what they offer is probably reasonable in all the circumstances- refund or 10%. I do not agree with their claim not be in breach of contract. The contract was for the items as described ( S13(1) Sale of Goods Act 1979 implies a condition that, where there is a contract for the sale of goods by description the goods will correspond with their description) and should have included the ViewFinder. I am still unhappy that Best Buy consider their conduct in this transaction to be absolutely fine.

It's sensible for Damien to accept this as the only other alternative (apart from a full refund) would have been to issue court proceedings in an effort to get them to comply with their side of the contract.

Issuing proceedings should always be a last resort and only considered if you believe that your claim is worthy of spending your money on issuing it. Proportionality is a major factor in determining whether a claim is justified. Would you spend £25 suing someone for a £50 debt? Sometimes a point of principal to you can mean more than your money does.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with BestBuy or are you as disappointed as I am that they could not even acknowledge their “mistake”? Let me know your thoughts, laughing boy, and remember to contact me with your consumer legal concerns, at [email protected]

TOPICS:   Complaints

8 comments

  • Mike
    Len, If it went to court, do you think Damien would win?
  • Alexis
    The remedy for breach of contract is to put the injured party in the same position as if the breach had not occurred. The price of the missing viewfinder is the amount of loss caused by the breach, unless it was integral to the whole product. If the missing piece is worth 10% of the price, then they have remedied the breach. If there is no way to determine, and the two parties disagree, then court could go either way, In any case, Best Buy seem to be acting correctly, just poorly from a communication and service standpoint.
  • Len D.
    Mike - I would put prospects of success in Damiens favour but not high enough for me to advise him to take the matter to court due to litigation risk and it being entirely disproportionate to do so. I also took in to account other bits of information that Damien gave me. Nothing that would "weaken" his case but other important points that needed to be considered. Alexis - following my research the price of the viewfinder was more than 10%. You are right in what you say but I don't think that Best Buy have acted "correctly". I am pretty sure that they didn't admit to being in breach of contract in case we called their bluff and did decide to take the matter to court. Still, Damien was content with the £38.
  • Alexis
    Me inclino ante su mayor conocimiento Len!
  • Stephen
    I'd love to see this go to court. I haven't really heard of anybody pursuing an incident that far when it's clear that Best Buy were clearly in the wrong.
  • The B.
    Surely this would be worth taking to small claims court? Should BestBuy lose they'd have to refund the cost of the action and pay interest on all the time they've being peeing him about? Mind you, have taken companies to small claims court the old duffers they seem to wheel out from the crypt to pass judgement would be better off watching judge Judy back at their old peoples home.
  • Ten B.
    [...] Len Dastard takes on BestBuy – an update [...]
  • Ian
    As the viewfinder is considerably more than 10% I would tell them I did not think their offer was reasonable and see what happens. Is this not something the small claims court would handle? I cannot see litigation costing a huge amount, but the cost of Best Buy sending someone to his local courthouse for the hearing would probably be as much as giving him the view finder.

What do you think?

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