Saturday 28 January 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I keep the packaging?

Hello Richard

I need your advice. I bought a chain saw in December 2022, it started at shop but when I got home and tried to start it failed. I went back to the shop and after a number of attempts it started. Unfortunately it couldn't start the following day and I decided to return it and demanded a refund.

The manager has a condition that I should bring the packaging to qualify for a refund. Unfortunately my dogs destroyed the packaging. The saw is currently at the shop. Please advise.

There are several issues here. Firstly, can you demand a refund? The answer is No, a customer doesn't normally have the right to demand a refund. What he have a right to demand is a solution. But often there are several possible solutions to a problem like this and they all begin with 'R'.

When a product is faulty, a consumer has a right to one of the three 'R's: a repair, a replacement or a refund. However, it's up to the store to decide which they offer. The store can decide to repair the faulty item instead of immediately offering you a replacement or a refund. But they can't take too long about it. Also, if a supplier decides to repair the faulty item and the same problem happens again within the next 3 months, they lose the right to repair it again. At that stage they can only offer us a replacement or a refund.

Then there's the issue of the packaging. I'm sure we've all heard this before, a store demanding that we keep the box that the item comes in. But why? Is that reasonable? I don't think so.

This excuse is about the store wanting a simple life, it's not about customer service or our consumer rights. It's probably about the manufacturer making silly demands on the stores and them passing this on to us. I don't think it's reasonable for a store to demand we keep the packaging for the things we buy. I also think it's a way for the store to evade their obligations and to force us to waive our rights, both of which are forbidden by Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act.

If you like I'll contact them for you.

Is it 5 years or 3 months?

I need to know something about guarantees.

My question is if I buy machine for Bosch and on the package is written 5 years guaranteed and I buy it and the shop say they only give 3 months at their shop? so can you help so that I can know? Knowledge is power.

I agree. Knowledge is one of the greatest powers. And you are about to be more powerful than this shop ever will be.

They're lying. Or perhaps they're ignorant. Probably both.

If you do a web search about Bosch guarantees and warranties you'll see that they offer guarantees that range from 1 year up to 5, depending on the item you buy. That's no surprise, Bosch is a hugely reputable German brand that has been operating for 137 years and I imagine has a great commitment to quality.

Unlike this store, who have a very different approach to quality. If they're offering only a 3-month guarantee they're trying to hide something and I'm sure we can guess what. This product is either second-hand, illegally acquired or a fake. Or, this is just the laziest, least respectful store in the country.

They're also ignorant about the Consumer Protection Act which says in Section 5 (j) that a supplier "shall not, in relation to the marketing of goods or services, by way of words or conduct falsely represent … the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy". By placing a box on a shelf that says the item has a 5-year manufacturer's guarantee and then saying something else when you buy it, they're breaking the law.

Shall I tell them or will you?

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