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Letters from February 2015


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Whiteware and tear

We had a new fridge replaced due to defects with the door. During the swap over, the delivery person damaged our house’s new aluminium doors with the delivery trolley, but we only noticed once the delivery person had left. What are my rights here? The retailer organised the delivery – but the delivery company is a different company to the retailer. ANDY SOWDEN

A. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, service providers have to carry out their services with reasonable care and skill. It sounds like the delivery person was careless. You can claim compensation for the damage done to your aluminium doors. The retailer organised the delivery of the fridge, so it’s responsible for chasing up the delivery company and making sure the damage is repaired.

A hiss and a flaw

My mother bought a television from a department store in July 2012. There is a problem with a background hissing noise. She thought the problem was with her digital TV connection, but she has had a serviceman look at it and he has confirmed the problem is with the television. My mother is 70 and hearing impaired. She had noticed a problem, but hadn’t followed it up because she didn’t think it was that bad and she didn’t want to make a fuss. However, two weeks ago she got new hearing aids, and now realises just how severe the problem is. She has contacted the department store, but the salespeople advise the TV is out of warranty and there is nothing they can do for her because she didn’t purchase an extended warranty. They did offer to put her in touch with a repair person, but advised any repairs would be at her expense. A MEMBER

Your mother’s television is covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act, which states goods must be of “acceptable quality” (for instance, free from defects and durable). We think a television that develops a fault within the first two years doesn’t meet this requirement. The department store must repair the television, replace it or provide a refund. Your mother doesn’t have to rely on a warranty – nor does she have to organise and pay for the repairs herself. The department store is misleading its customers if it suggests otherwise – an offence under the Fair Trading Act.

Out of line

I purchased a petrol line trimmer/multi-tool from a DIY store. It has multiple minor failures. Each time it fails I have to return it and I’m not able to use it while it’s being repaired. I believe I should be eligible for a refund as the tool doesn’t perform as it should. However, I would like some “ammunition” (advice from Consumer) before going down this route with the retailer. The item is still within its 12-month warranty period. A MEMBER

A. When your line trimmer/multi-tool suffered its first minor fault, you gave the DIY store an opportunity to put it right. It had the choice of fixing the line trimmer, replacing it, or taking it back and giving you a refund. It chose to repair it. However, you’ve had ongoing problems with the line trimmer. A series of minor faults can amount to a substantial failure. This gives you grounds to reject the line trimmer and opt for a replacement or a refund.

UPDATE: Our member has received a refund from the store.