Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    I bought an HP Photo Smart combined printer scanner machine from Comet store on 27 October 2009 for £149.99.

    It performed well during the first week but developed an intermittent fault where the printer produced horizontal banding (occasional blank lines in a document). The fault progressively got worse and I followed the manufacturer’s instructions which said to run the print head "cleaning cycle" over and over again until the fault goes away. It often took repeated attempts to print a document to get a perfect finish and printing photographs was not possible without white horizontal lines across them. This consumed ink cartridges which needed replacing at £9.99 each which the printer takes four at a time. The cleaning cycle did not resolve the problem and the cost of ink cartridge replacement was now over £100.

    I returned the printer to the store on 21 January 2010 and asked for an exchange. My request was denied by the store assistant. I then asked for a refund and my request was again denied and the store assistant commented it was "company Policy" they do not give refunds or exchanges for faulty goods because they have to be returned to the manufacturer.

    I left the store without the goods or a refund and bought another printer of the same make and similar functionality elsewhere and it has worked perfectly ever since.

    Can I ask for a refund from Comet.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Sale of Goods Act 1979. Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.
    Key Facts:

    • Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract". This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale).
    • Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description.
    • Aspects of quality include fitness for purpose, freedom from minor defects, appearance and finish, durability and safety.
    • It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.
    • If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale, purchasers can request their money back "within a reasonable time". (This is not defined and will depend on circumstances)
    • For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement).
    • A purchaser who is a consumer, i.e. is not buying in the course of a business, can alternatively request a repair or replacement.
    • If repair and replacement are not possible or too costly, then the consumer can seek a partial refund, if they have had some benefit from the good, or a full refund if the fault/s have meant they have enjoyed no benefit
    • In general, the onus is on all purchasers to prove the goods did not conform to contract (e.g. was inherently faulty) and should have reasonably lasted until this point in time (i.e. perishable goods do not last for six years).
    • If a consumer chooses to request a repair or replacement, then for the first six months after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to contract (e.g. were not inherently faulty)
    • After six months and until the end of the six years, it is for the consumer to prove the lack of conformity.

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Thanks Martin, I think point 1 you raised fits the remit. I'll write to Comet Electricals Head Office and ask for a refund.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Yes good.Did they test the machine ?
    Keep us posted.

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    Default

    No they didnt test it, its an intermittent printing fault. Sometimes a page prints OK, other times it takes two or three attempts to get a good print. Printing multiplage docs on the first attempt is not possible.

    I have this horrible feeling they might comeback saying theres nothing wrong with it. Ive been reading other posts, and that appears to be Comet's MO.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    They can say no all they like, fact remains that if less than 6 months old, goods are deemed inherently faulty unless they can prove otherwise.

    I'd go back to the store and demand to speak to the manager. Invoke your statutory rights, they supersede "company policy", and tell him that you KNOW that you are entitled to a refund or a replacement, and that if they don't comply, your next port of call will be Trading Standards.

    Cheeky bstrds.

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    My thoughts are likewise, anyway this is my opening shot before I start reading the proverbial Riot Act citing consumer legislation and threatening trading standards etc.

    Comet Electricals might be willing to reach an amicable resolve and I needed to know the legal position before I write the letter.

    Customer Services/Refunds department
    Comet Group plc
    Comet House
    Three Rivers Court
    Rickmansworth,
    Hertfordshire,
    WD3 1FX

    29 January 2010

    Dear Sir,

    RE: HP Printer scanner – Faulty.

    I bought an HP Photo Smart combined printer scanner machine from your store on 27 October 2009 for £149.99. The goods performed well during the first week but developed an intermittent fault where the printer produced horizontal banding (occasional blank lines in a document). The fault progressively got worse and I followed the manufacturer’s instructions which said to run the print head "cleaning cycle" over and over again until the fault goes away. It often took repeated attempts to print a document to get a perfect finish and printing photographs was not possible without white horisontal lines across them. This consumed ink cartridges which needed replacing at £9.99 each which the printer takes four at a time. The cleaning cycle did not resolve the problem and the cost of ink cartridge replacement was now over £100. I returned the goods to the store on 21 January 2010 and asked for an exchange. My request was denied by the store assistant. I then asked for a refund and my request was again denied and the store assistant commented it was "company Policy" they do not give refunds or exchanges for faulty goods because they have to be returned to the manufacturer. I left the store without the goods or a refund and bought another printer of the same make and similar functionality elsewhere and it has worked perfectly ever since, e.g. this letter.

    I formally write to you in a letter delivered by Royal Mail for a refund £149.00 back to my debit card within 14 days being 12 midday on February 12 2010.

    If no refund is made, I will automatically file a claim at a county courticon and I will ask this matter is decided according to the appropriate consumer legislation.

    Yours Sincerely

    [ME]
    Enc copy of receipt.



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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Far too nice.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I bought [insert the stuff] and it started failing within 1 week of purchase. I tried to follow the instruction of cleaning it as per manufacturer's instruction, which cost me over £100 in wasted ink cartridges and didn't solve the issue.

    I went to store of [wherever] on [date] and explained the issue to a sales assistant, and asked for a refund or exchange of the faulty goods, as per my statutory rights under SOGAicon 1979 (as amended), which state that goods must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose, which this item clearly isn't. The assistant refused, quoting "company policy" and wouldn't budge. I'm sure I don't need to explain to you the possible consequences for your company to have one of your staff denying a customer his statutory rights.

    Under the circumstances, I had no choice but to go and purchase another identical item elsewhere (copy of proof of purchase enclosed), which has worked absolutely fined ever since I got it.

    I am writing to you as a last attempt to settle the matter amicably.
    1 - I want a refund for the faulty scanner of [price], and please advise whether you want me to return it to the store or dispose of it.
    2 - I want a refund of the cost of the ink cartridges wasted on trying to sort out the problem on an item which is clearly faulty, to the sum of [enter sum, if you have receipts, enclose copies too).
    3 - An assurance that your staff at X branch will be reminded of what statutory rights mean and that store policy doesn't supersede those, in the hope that another future customer will not get the same appalling treatment.

    If you refuse to deal with this in a satisfactory manner, I will have no other recourse but to file a claim at county courticon, which will make you liable for additional court costs + interesticon at 8%. I sincerely hope it doesn 't have to come to that. I remind you that as the goods are less than 6 months, they are deemed inherently faulty and the onus would be on you to prove that they weren't.

    Yours etc...

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Thats quite a brutal approach and really made me chuckle, but I've already sent the letter now.

    I didnt want to come accross as dictating the law to them, an employee at Comet Electrical's head office reading it would probably toss it in the bin uttering the word g'won then, sue me ay-holl!

    I need to arrange the letter so it can be presented before a judge if I need to file a claim, and I must to appear to be the party that is being most reasonable. The court would advocate me under the CPR anyways because I would be attending as a Litigant in Person, so I dont really need to quote legislation. I'm sure Comet Electricals own legals are aware of consumer law, and know full well how a small claimicon would go.

    My concern now, is Comet Electricals could try and say there is no fault with the machine. They have possesion of the machine and I dont have its serial number. They could lie and would probably get away with it because I cannot prove its the same machine.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    OMG, I hadn't realised that when you said you left "without the goods", you meant you left the faulty one behind!!!

    You don't want to be seen dictating the law? Well then prepare to be steamrolled. These people specialise in saying "no" to those who don't stand firm.

    I'm sorry to say that your letter is rambling, narrative and packs no punch and is fairly likely to be filed under "yeah whatever". But hey, do what you have to do. And good luck, between the softly softly approach and you leaving the item behind, you're going to need it.

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    You say you left the goods behind.

    I think you have shot yourself in the foot. You will be extremely lucky to get anything now.

    Ash.

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    It could have just been a dodgy printer cartridge.

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Bookie is right. these chaps will tell you black is white. Be assertive, clear, concise. You don't quote the law to educate them, you quote it to show them you know what you are talking about and will know when they talk rubbish.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Quote Originally Posted by borisbeaver View Post
    It could have just been a dodgy printer cartridge.
    One dodgy cartridge would be bad luck £9.99.

    Having five or six dodgy cartridges would suggest something else is wrong.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookworm View Post
    OMG, I hadn't realised that when you said you left "without the goods", you meant you left the faulty one behind!!!
    Unfortunately yes. A malfunctioning printer is not much use to me, and when I realised I am going to be left without a working printer I knew I had to buy another from elsewhere.

    I know Comet electricals could lie and switch the faulty printer for a working one then say nothings wrong with it, but I have a feeling if I need to take the matter to litigation, a court will take a dim view of any retailer trying to exclude himself of liablity under consumer legislation.

    A judge presiding over a small claimsicon hearing will ask what do I have to gain by returning a printer only to immediately buy another near indential printer from another retailer, Currys, less than a hundred yards away on the same retail park.

    Comet electricals could have just exchanged it whan I asked and they would have retained a sale and a happy customer. It beats me why they have chosen to be awkward.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    although, they could argue that it was not a manufacturing fault, but customer misuse and you were just trying to pull a fast one. Then they produce one than that has had the ink cartridges forced in the wrong way...


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Or even more simply say: "Printer? What printer? You never left a printer here, Sir, we have asked everyone at the store and no-one knows anything about any printer, do you have a receipt?*" and game over for you.



    *receipt for leaving it there, not receipt of purchase, there is no doubt you bought it, it's what you did with it afterwards... For all anyone knows, you could have your printer sitting at home working fine and trying it on with the store. See what I mean?

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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    You have a good point and I was aware of this, but I took photos using a mobile and asked them to point out the CCTV camera covering the customer service desk. They did ask to keep the goods because they wanted to send it back to the manufacturer.

    If comet lies and then says they have lost the footage then they have a bigger problem. I cant see comet exposing themselves to fraud.


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartok View Post
    I bought an HP Photo Smart combined printer scanner machine from Comet store on 27 October 2009 for £149.99.

    It performed well during the first week but developed an intermittent fault where the printer produced horizontal banding (occasional blank lines in a document). The fault progressively got worse and I followed the manufacturer’s instructions which said to run the print head "cleaning cycle" over and over again until the fault goes away. It often took repeated attempts to print a document to get a perfect finish and printing photographs was not possible without white horizontal lines across them. This consumed ink cartridges which needed replacing at £9.99 each which the printer takes four at a time. The cleaning cycle did not resolve the problem and the cost of ink cartridge replacement was now over £100.

    I returned the printer to the store on 21 January 2010 and asked for an exchange. My request was denied by the store assistant. I then asked for a refund and my request was again denied and the store assistant commented it was "company Policy" they do not give refunds or exchanges for faulty goods because they have to be returned to the manufacturer.

    I left the store without the goods or a refund and bought another printer of the same make and similar functionality elsewhere and it has worked perfectly ever since.

    Can I ask for a refund from Comet.
    Hi Bartok

    My name's Phil and I'm from Comet.

    I was sorry to note the problems that you are having with your printer.

    If a customer reports a fault with their Hewlett Packard printer, we would register the fault with their technical support line. If a fault is confirmed, they will arrange for a replacement printer to be sent out.

    We would not normally issue a refund as a replacement model would be supplied under guarantee.

    However, if you would like to send me an e-mail via the link below with your purchase information and the store where you left the printer, I will look into this for you.

    https://comet.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/c...nduser/ask.php

    You will need to register a few details with us to be able to send your e-mail in.

    Thanks
    Phil


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    Default Re: Comet Electricals and faulty goods, what are my rights here?

    Hi, comet-Response and welcome.

    It's nice to see that you are taking the initiative on poor customer service and hope that this works positively.

    Have you contacted adminicon and asked them to set you up a sub-forum? As you may see, we have one for Aviva with a rep to address issues directly, you may want to be able to do the same so that people with Comet issues can go directly there instead of you having to look for issues?

    e-mail: admin@consumeractiongroup .co.uk if you want to contact them directly. ;-)

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