Nowadays, with our lives more reliant on the everyday devices we use, when something goes wrong, it can be frustrating. So, what should you do?
Every product you purchase will have some form of warranty. Also, the ways in which you make purchases dictate the level of support and service you can expect to receive. However, when something goes wrong, it can be a minefield to work out your best course of action.
My first piece of advice is always to go and visit the shop or website that you purchased from. In the majority of occasions, the staff will be able to resolve your issue without any problems and ultimately get things rectified. However, on some occasions it can be helpful to be aware of what your rights are. I would never be able to fully explain your rights and regulations here, but a few key points you should consider……
Your contract is with the shop you purchased from. Sometimes, the manufacturer may need to be involved in a repair for example, but ultimately your conversation should start with the retailer themselves. It doesn’t mean they have to be the ones that actually complete the repair, but they have a responsibility to ensure that the work required takes place.
If a product is not faulty, then your rights can change. You will often see “your statutory rights are not affected”. This is especially noticeable on products with a hygiene related issue, like clothing. In short, if there is a fault then your rights are still the same. The item is not fit for the purpose in which it was intended, so you should be entitled to a repair, exchange, or refund. If, however, you simply don’t want the item, it doesn’t fit, or is the wrong colour, then your normal rights for returning goods do not count. Stores may have their own policy on this, so it is best to visit to discuss. Most businesses will want to keep a customer happy and will try to resolve the issue in the interest of both parties.
A common misconception is that if a product becomes faulty, there is an automatic right to have a replacement. The first port of call, assuming more than 30 days have elapsed during which you will be entitled to a refund, will always be to get the product repaired. If this cannot happen, or it is deemed un-suitable to attempt to complete a repair, then a replacement should be offered. If neither can take place then you should be offered a full refund. Sadly, consumer rights can be open to interpretation via the phrase ‘expected life or reasonable’. The simplest way to explain this is that it would be reasonable to expect a £30 microwave used by a family of 5, to last less time than a £200 microwave used by a family of 3. This would again be a discussion with your retailer, but as previously mentioned, most retailers would want to help you resolve the issue in as simple a way as possible. Sadly, nothing has a definitive life span, so whilst we have ‘averages’ of what you may expect, there are so many factors that can affect this, so “reasonable” is the term used.
Another common query is that because we are part of the EU, everything has a 2 year warranty. Sadly again, this is not the case. Manufacturers in this country have their own warranty period, ranging from 1-10 years. However, in the UK your rights actually extend to 6 years in some cases, so depending on what the problem is, you may have the right to support and help for up to 6 years on a faulty product.
If you have tried to be perfectly reasonable in resolving an issue with a faulty product and have not got anywhere, then all companies should have some form of complaints procedure designed to look at examples of faults/returns on an individual, impartial basis.
Speaking from Hughes’ perspective, we always prefer customers to come direct to our stores, to speak to the manager and discuss issues first hand.