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30 May 2024

Letters of the month: broken dryer, crummy carpet, squeaky shoes & more

You've sent us your questions and shared your experiences on broken appliances, faulty products and more. Here's what our expert advisers had to say about your rights.

Wheel of misfortune

I purchased a set of used Work Crag wheels with refinishing for my vehicle from a car parts specialist around a year ago for $2,960. The vehicle is not used daily and is kept on-road. Two of the four wheels now have cracks which have caused leaks in the tyres. I’ve shown the wheels to two wheel repair specialists who suggested the cracks in the wheels are due to thin wheel material, possibly as a result of the refinishing, and have refused to repair them. I’m wanting a refund or replacement set of wheels from the company I purchased them from, under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). I have also offered to return the wheels to see if they can be repaired, although this is unlikely. The company says there’s no guarantee under its warranty. What are my rights if the wheels cannot be repaired?

- BRYCE WELLS

OUR EXPERTS SAY:

Traders can’t contract out of the CGA. For example, the company warranty may say it doesn’t apply to secondhand goods, but this is overridden by the CGA. You’d expect the wheels you purchased to be fit for purpose and durable, as required by the act. It’s also common sense – why would you buy wheels if you thought they were going to fail after a year of less-than-normal use? The wheels have failed prematurely, there’s no suggestion you’ve contributed to that, and the company should provide a remedy. The options are to repair (which seems unlikely), replace the wheels with another set, or refund the purchase price.

UPDATE:

Once made aware of its CGA obligations, the company gave Bryce a refund for the wheels.


Flawed flooring

At the end of 2022 I had a new carpet installed in three rooms for $5,728. After three months of regular use, there was noticeable premature wear, matting and discolouration of the carpet in all three rooms. What I ordered was a solution-dyed nylon carpet, which was advertised as “pet friendly”. What I got was something of far less quality. The carpet was not of acceptable quality. After inspection, the flooring retailer and supplier eventually agreed to a refund of $3,664, excluding underlay and parts of installation. I was advised by a replacement carpet retailer that using the existing underlay would likely void the warranty. I’d like a full refund. What’s your opinion?

- A MEMBER

OUR EXPERTS SAY:

We think you’re entitled to a full refund of the $5,728 originally paid. All parties agreed that the carpet was not of acceptable quality as required by the CGA. We’d suggest you point this out to the retailer and supplier.

UPDATE:

The supplier offered a full reimbursement for the carpet of $4,647. Renata’s considering taking a claim to the Disputes Tribunal for the remaining underlay and installation costs.


Squeaky shoes

Around January 2023, my wife bought a pair of shoes recommended by her physio. They developed a squeak, so she took them back within a month and complained, but the retailer reassured her the squeak would go away as she wore the shoes in. So, she continued wearing them, but the squeak had become embarrassing and intolerable. The store referred it to head office who said it found no problem with the shoes! On her insistence they were replaced mid-July, but the retailer said it would not replace again. Less than 2 weeks later, the new pair developed a squeak! What does she do now?

- A MEMBER

OUR EXPERTS SAY:

If this is the result of a faulty shoe manufacture or inappropriate material used for the sole or similar, then under the Consumer Guarantees Act your wife would be due a refund – regardless of what the shop says. Normal shoes don’t squeak. We’d suggest you let the store know in writing that the shoes don’t meet the guarantee of acceptable quality under the act and ask for a refund.


Five-month fix

In July 2022 I bought a LG Heat Pump dryer online from a kitchen appliance shop. The dryer worked well until May 2023 when it suddenly stopped working. I called the retailer for a repair. The problem couldn’t be fixed then, and the machine was taken away for repair in June. It’s now October and I still don’t have a dryer. I haven’t heard anything from the retailer but instead, after repeated calls, have been directed to the manufacturer who, again after repeated calls, has told me the machine needs to be replaced. There has been no replacement to date. Any advice is appreciated.

- FRANCES CAMPBELL

OUR EXPERTS SAY:

Your contract is with the retailer who sold you the dryer. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act if a product you purchase is not of acceptable quality, the retailer is responsible for putting the matter right. The problem has not been fixed within a reasonable time and you’re entitled to request a full refund of the cost of the item from the retailer, as well as delivery costs. You’re also entitled to compensation for the 5 months of laundromat and travel costs incurred. We’d advise you to go back to the retailer and point this out in writing, asking it to respond within 5 working days.

UPDATE:

Our member received a refund that month for the dryer. They’re still waiting for compensation for costs incurred.

Consumer advice line.

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