Amazon: Know your rights

4 May 2010

amazon-logoHave you had any bother when dealing with Amazon.co.uk when buying electrical goods? It seems that its a common complaint and that their customer service can be a bit shoddy.

Well, there's a little bit of good news.

Basically, thanks to Amazon basing themselves in Luxembourg, they've got to tow the line with the EU, meaning that they can't act like complete arses with you when you want something out of them.

Even though Amazon may imply otherwise, you've got the right to demand a refund or repair if the goods you buy fail within two years, according to Guardian Money.

Even though Amazon are acting like stubborn mules over this, Luxembourg's authorities are starting to lay the smackdown on the retailer after receiving a load of complaints from the UK and now, Amazon has to make consumer rights more transparent on their website.

Lux's ministry of economic affairs and foreign trade hauled Amazon in for a nice chat and told them that they needed to start playing nice.

What has been happening is that, should you buy something and it breaks (and obviously, it wasn't your fault), then Amazon aren't offering a refund or replacement, but rather, the shoddy deal of giving you vouchers that don't equal what you spent or being offered between 10% and 20% of the price they had paid.

Amazon replied: "At Amazon, we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible shopping experience. Should a product become defective in the first 12 months from date of purchase, the item can be returned to us for a full refund or replacement, irrespective of the length of the manufacturer warranty. Thereafter we will work with customers on a case by case basis on any product queries."

Don't hold your breath. You might have to have a bit of a scrap with them over your purchases.

TOPICS:   World News   UK News   Consumer Advice   Gadgets

25 comments

  • 3dtv
    "tow the line"???? Don't you mean "toe the line"??? ;-)
  • PaulH
    The worth of boast worlds...
  • Andrew R.
    My NAS from Amazon failed after 18 months, had no bother getting a refund on it as they didn't sell it anymore!
  • Steff
    Amazon have been great for me, best online retailer...
  • Steff
    ...and I had few refunds/replacements
  • myiphoneisbroken
    Never had any issues with Amazon and returning things, in fact - I'd never heard anyone complain (unlike play.com)!
  • (jah) w.
    Amazon were great 10 years ago. Now they are the same as any other large corporation (shit) and will try to do as much as they can to avoid their obligations. Good to see that the .lu government is doing something about it.
  • WARWICK H.
    Every single retailer in this country tries to avoid the E.U. 2 YEAR G/TEE for goods by claiming its only 1 year, I had this battle with Currys and ended up going to trading standards who were a complete waste of time, effort and full of shit so I went to my Euro M.P. and got some action amazingly enough.
  • Askgar
    Excellent article, might link this to support if they tell me again that the warrenty on my headphones is only a year and they won't do anything (warrenty is 2 years according to manufacturers website and they have told me to contact amazon).
  • me
    WTF IS DIS REAL?
  • cookie
    @ me Yawn. You're just dull now.
  • me
    @ cookie. WTF RU REAL?
  • buymorebod
    Just worth noting that the guarantee only applies IF the fault was present at the time of purchase. After 6 months, the responsibility to prove that point falls down to the consumer. This is where it gets complicated and/or expensive and possibly not worth the hassle. On a £10K conservatory, it might be worth it and it can be reasonably expected not to leak in the first 6 years or so. On a set of £15 headphones, the argument could go either way - they might have been faulty, but at the same time, it is entirely possible that due to use, wear and tear, and a few knocks, the failure is caused by the purchaser.
  • VG
    Quite surprised to read that. I've never had a problem with amazon (even when my camera died after 10 months). Their customer service I have always found to be second to none.
  • Klingelton
    unline play dot com. Amazon are not completely infallible, they are the lesser of all the evils. Same as Burger King is the lesser of the evils in the world of quicker food.
  • Simon B.
    They were shit when I had a problem with my 360 before MS extended the warranties. Had one just over a year old go tits up and they basically told me to fuck off and speak to MS. I explained the Sale of Goods Act to them, linked to proof that RROD was an inherent fault at time of purchase and they still weren't interested, all I got was this: "Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.co.uk. All electronic items purchased from Amazon.co.uk come with a one year warranty, unless otherwise stated. As you purchased this item more than 12 months previously, we are unable to offer you any reimbursement or repair. We recommend consulting the manual that came with the package for warranty and service information. Should you require to make a claim for any electronics item purchased from Amazon.co.uk outside of the 12 months warranty period, please contact the manufacturer, and inform them that you bought your item from us. We currently do not offer an extended warranty on the electronics items sold on our website. We recommend consulting the manual that came with the package for warranty and service information. Should you require to make a claim for any electronics item purchased from Amazon.co.uk please inform them that you bought your item from us. You should find that they only require the following information: * Serial number * Defect information * Place of purchase * Date of purchase * your contact details Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance, and thank you for shopping at Amazon.co.uk." Sale Of Goods is ignored by most big businesses unless you have the time to threaten them with Small Claims Court and start to follow it through.
  • jamie f.
    the law needs to protect buyers more; it feels like the sales of good act doesnt do enough. my LG 50inch tv broke after 16months (700 quid purchase). according to amazon they have no requirements to assist me even though the goods were made from poor quality parts and failed on the durablity aspects of the sales of good act. it looks like if you want something refunded you may have to take amazon to the small court claims, oh well look like i got some paperwork to fill in.
  • David H.
    My experience is that after 1 year, but less than 2 years, Amazon refuses to accept responsibility under either the Sale of Goods Act 1979, as amended in 1994, or the DIRECTIVE 1999/44/EC of the European Commision. I wrote a letter to their customer service, and also to Trading Standards and the EU commission in Luxembourg. Amazon were not interested in arguments about the durabiliuty of goods. Their view is, after 12 months, you get nothing from them. The fact is. that until the EU uses the legal teeth at its disposal and imposes fines with punitive damages, it is in Amazon's interest to flout the law. By doing so, it forces customers to pay for an independent expert report showing the goods were faulty at the time of purchase. This is because the burden of proof lies with the purchaser. This is not worth it for items less than, say, £300. I have now boycotted Amazon and have voted with my fingers by shopping online elsewhere. I wish the media would pick up on Amazon'ds shoddy practices so that they came under public scrutiny with the risk of losing the confidence of customers. It is only by fines or public pressure that Amazon will have any incentive to change their policies.
  • Chris N.
    I've just found as per David Honey that they are still flouting these laws. They refused to assist after my graphics card ceased working even though ASUS give it a 3 year warranty.
  • Tracy B.
    Now this is bad news.. I still haven't encountered any issues with Amazon though but reading all this makes me worry.
  • Mike
    I purchase a I LUV docking station from them in 2 Oct 2011 as a christmas present, It was faulty and replace in 6th of June with a new one. so far good, Now the new one is failing less than 5 months and they are telling me that the Warrenty ran out as it is a replacement. If the product has a known problem why can I get it replaced or a refund? Amazon says it is their Policy and the Manaufacture sasy the contract is with Amazonm and the product is faultuy and should be replaced as it is less than 6 months old.
  • Mike
    They just call me back and are giving me a full refund, they said it is a one off.
  • Michael
    Same problem here. Amazon insists that by 'policy' they don't take responsibility for the 2 year guarantee explicitly offered with the product when I purchased it 14 months ago. They say I should contact the manufacturer. The manufacturer correctly say my contract is with the retailer. This is ridiculous and I am surprised it is not widely reported in the media and on the net. I am pursuing it with Amazon but it won't be easy with them being based in Luxembourg. In the future I will consider other retailers. In the meanwhile, I will write to newspapers as well. Never had problems with Amazon in the past, but then again this is the first time I had guarantee issues.
  • John M.
    Like the comments here I have had mixed issues with Amazon regarding faults and replacement. If the items are sold "through" Amazon, they are very happy to make the seller resolve the issue. Now I have a problem with their OWN Kindle Fire HD [3rd gen 7"] which they finally agreed as faulty device, and they would replace. Well they did replace, but before I opened the package [broke the sealing label] I read the label. OH dear! Amazon think it is fair to replace a faulty device with a "refurbished" one! I always believed that under the Sale OF Goods [inc distance selling] that sellers had to replace with NEW not used, 2ndhand or refurbished! Well I have email [email protected] as [email protected] is now blocked/censored, asking why I am receiving a refurbished device. Best not hold my breath too long. If as I suspect they will refuse or cannot replace with new, I shall request a newer model less the original price I paid, also covered under Sale Of Goods act!
  • DWAR
    The Sale of goods Act requires good to be durable, and that they should last a reasonable time. Send them one letter, and if they don't come up trumps, then issue a summons in the Small Claims court. Then if necessary, go to court. Judges are, in my experience, generally sympathetic - after all, their stuff goes wrong just like yours does.

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