When ‘sorry we can’t help you’ is the wrong answer.

It’s interesting to have a look from time to time at statements you hear in shops that are obviously not right, but which are used to try to fob off customers so that they are forced to go away and take their problem elsewhere.‘You are only covered for the first year’ is one such statement that fits in the ranks of the ‘patently untrue but saves me dealing with this person any longer.’ It usually comes before ‘We can’t help you now because of the length of time you have had it or you’ll need to send it back to the manufacturer’. Again, simply not true.

Most goods that you buy will be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty that lasts for the first twelve months from the date of purchase. This manufacturer’s warranty is issued in addition to the protection you enjoy under Consumer Rights Act legislation. This protection allows you to bring an action against the retailer that sold you the faulty goods for up to five years (six in England) from the date of purchase. So if anything happens within the first twelve months you have a choice. You could choose to ask the retailer to deal with the problem or you could go directly to the manufacturer to deal with it. In fact if the goods cost more than one hundred pounds and less than thirty thousand pounds and you paid with your credit card then you may actually have a third option since you could take action against the credit card company instead using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Having said all of that, you shouldn’t expect a full refund if your kettle breaks down after five and a half years, but instead any claim after a prolonged period of usage and time would need to take into account the expected normal working life of the goods concerned. But if an item has a shelf life of more than 12 months what it does mean is that shop staff can’t brush you off a with a ‘you’ve had it more than a year we can’t help you’ line.

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