Letters from December 2014

December 2014's letters involve a faulty watch and e-reader plus a recipe for vanilla icecream.

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Is the end nigh?

I purchased a watch in December 2012, which has just been replaced under the two-year warranty as it was faulty. The supplier says the warranty on the replacement watch carries over from the original purchase (that is, the warranty will expire in December 2014). Can the supplier do this? Surely it has to provide the manufacturer’s full two-year warranty on the replacement watch? A MEMBER

The supplier is right. If a product is replaced under warranty, the warranty isn’t “reset”. It continues to tick away, based on the original purchase date. Thankfully you don’t have to count on the warranty. Your replacement watch is covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If it also develops a fault, you can take it back to the supplier and ask for the fault to be fixed.

Drawing a blank

My e-reader stopped working 13 months after purchase (it just wouldn’t turn on). The store advised me it was outside the one-year guarantee, so it would have to be sent away to be assessed and there would likely be a charge. I asked about the Consumer Guarantees Act as I would expect an e-reader not to have issues after a year. The store assistant checked on a computer and told me the manufacturer says the Act only applies to this product for one year. I asked who decides how long a product should last. The assistant said the manufacturer decides. In the end, the store manager swapped my defective e-reader for a new one, but I’m concerned they don’t think the Act applies to an e-reader after one year. STEVE MCAULEY

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, goods must be durable. An e-reader that fails after 13 months doesn’t meet this requirement. It seems the store assistant is confusing the Act with the manufacturer’s warranty. Manufacturers and importers can offer a warranty with their products (and stipulate its conditions). But no warranty overrides or replaces the manufacturer’s – and the retailer’s – obligations under the Act.

Taken to the cleaners

I’ve picked up a pair of trousers (value $300) from the drycleaner. The trousers have shrunk and the fabric has been damaged. Before I go talk to the drycleaner, what can I reasonably expect them to do? KATE MCCALLUM

Drycleaners – like all service providers – must carry out their work with reasonable care and skill. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, you can get compensation for the damage caused to your trousers. “Compensation” doesn’t mean the full cost for a new pair of trousers. Instead, it should be based on the value of your old trousers at the time of the loss (that is, taking into account any wear and tear).

Sweet as!

Not your usual request, I know, but please bear with me! I have been asked to bring my grand-daughter’s favourite ice cream to her birthday party. Many moons ago, a recipe for ice-cream appeared in your magazine, which I faithfully cut out and (of course!) can no longer find in my hour of need. Could you possibly resurrect the recipe for me? BARBARA BLOMFIELD

The recipe you’re after appeared in Consumer 499 (“Summer ice cream treat” page 4). Please note the recipe contains raw egg.

Ingredients 4 eggs, separated ½ cup caster sugar 300ml cream lightly whipped 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Beat the egg whites into soft peaks then gradually beat in the caster sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy.
  • Gently fold beaten egg whites and yolks into the whipped cream.
  • Add vanilla extract to taste.
  • Freeze for 2-3 hours or until frozen.


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