Sucessfully sued Comet today in the Small Claims Court for breach of Sales of Goods act. I was awarded £399 cost of goods plus costs
Below is my plaintiff statement to the court and it sums up the case, the judge found for me and that I had the right to reject the laptop involved despite Comet protesting that they be allowed to reinspect it following failure of a repair to a manufacturig fault that occured within 6 months of purchase.
Judge also told comet off for not responding to any of my letters, and for emailing their only response to me to the wrong email address, telling them that they should have corresponded in writing with me.
I purchased a Toshiba L350-70 Laptop from Comet PLC via their Weston-super-Mare store on November 15th 2008. On or around 22nd April 2009 the laptop developed a fault; that being that the power socket on the laptop became detached and non-functional.
Unfortunately, I was hospitalised due to illness almost immediately and was not able to present the laptop to Comet until 11th May 2009.
Comet took the Laptop for inspection, then returned the Laptop to the manufacturer for repair of a manufacturing defect that led to the failure. At this time we accepted repair under the Sales of Goods Act 1979 and EU Directive 199/44/EC, although under those auspices we had the right to request replacement as the manufacturing fault became apparent within 6 months of purchase.
On 31st August 2009 the same manufacturing fault recurred, in that the previously carried out repair failed.
On 1st September 2009 I returned the Laptop to the Comet store at Flowerdown Business Park, Weston-super-Mare. I informed the store manager that the repair of the manufacturing fault previously identified by Comet in May 2009 had failed.
I then asserted my right in law (of Goods Act 1979 and EU Directive 199/44/EC) to reject the Laptop due to a manufacturing fault that became apparent within 6 months of purchase and requested a full refund. Comet refused and verbally informed me that I had no rights to return the laptop. The manager offered to have the laptop inspected, however I refused this as they had already inspected and repaired this same fault in May 2009 and so I had already fulfilled my statutory requirement to allow them to inspect the Laptop.
I wrote to the manager stating my rejection of the Laptop and attempted to hand deliver the letter on 2nd September 2009. The Manager refused to touch, acknowledge or read the letter. I then sent the letter under covering letter to the manager by Royal Mail Recorded Delivery. To date no response has been made to either letter.
Having had no response from Comet I wrote to them again on September 9th 2009, this time addressing the letter to the Legal Department at their head office in Hull again by Recorded Delivery.
I asked them to respond by September 16th or I would begin Small Claims proceedings. No response was had so I entered the Small Claims papers.
no response to any correspondence, except the defence to the small claims case, has been received directly by me.
In Summary. The basis of my rejection of the laptop is that the same manufacturing fault occurred again within 15 weeks of the original repair, and we are not confident that further repair will resolve what is an obvious weakness of the laptop. Not being able to charge the laptop from the mains prevents the primary function of the unit being utilised, and nor do we wish to be subject to several weeks without the laptop every 3-4 months as the repair fails.
The Sale of Goods Act 1979 makes it an implied term of the contract that goods be as described of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. It is obvious that the Laptop is not fit for purpose since the fault has recurred once again rendering the Laptop unusable.
Therefore, due to this recurring fault I consider that the goods were not fit for purpose when sold, and therefore Comet are in breach of contract. I hereby exercise my legal rights in rejecting the Laptop
Case law on this matter is quite clear that the level of failure experience that makes an item rejectable due to not being fit for sale is commensurate with the expected quality of an item depending on its’ brand expectation. As this laptop is produced by a reputable company, Toshiba, I am reasonable to expect that the plugging in of the power cable to charge said laptop would not cause the power socket to detach and fall inside the unit so as to render the laptop unusable for it’s designed purpose of being a portable computer.
Directive 1999/44/EC requires that if a defect occurs within 6 months (as in this case) of purchase the consumer will not have to prove the product was defective at the moment of delivery. The onus will be on the seller to prove the item was without defect at purchase; having inspected and repaired the Laptop in May 2009 Comet have failed to prove the item was without defect at purchase..