Long story short - may get longer later:
My wife bought a vaping kit from a shop in Chester on the 2nd July this year. £50.
Product is here: http://www.innokin.com/vaporizers/cool-fire-iv/
When I first got it, it seemed perfect, worked well, did what it was supposed to do.
At the end of August it basically stopped working. Put it on bedside table before going to bed (pressed button 3 times to put on standby), woke up the next day and found it completely dead, nothing seemed to spur it back to life (charging, pressing buttons, checking physical on/off switch on bottom).
Took it to the shop on Sunday 4th, was advised couldn't do anything as it was 'out of warranty', went on to advise them about Consumer Rights Act 2015 and how I was entitled to repair/replacement within 6 months of purchase if a fault occurred. The staff member (basically the owner's son) then advised that they could have a look at it and they'd be in touch.
Subsequently got a phone call on Monday advising that they could sell me a replacement for £15. My response is below (by this point I found the owner's email address through their FB page:
I am writing to you in relation to the Cool Fire IV kit that was purchased from your business, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, on 2nd July, 2016.
Subsequently I found that the device has developed a fault where it will not turn on or show any signs of functioning. This is despite normal operational and care taken when using the product.
I received a call today from a member of staff at your store who advised that the business would be willing to offer a replacement for the product, at a cost of £15. I advised the gentleman that I would need to give this some thought.
Though I appreciate the offer, I wish to decline the offer and exercise my statutory rights to a free replacement, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which makes it an implied term of the contract that goods be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.
As the item in question has developed a fault within 6 months of purchase, I am entitled to have the item replaced at no additional cost and I would request that you confirm that you will do this within the next seven days.
I am hopeful that we can reach a mutually beneficial outcome, one where I would gladly continue to make regular purchases from your business, and that other potential customers are aware of your business’ dedication and care towards its customers.
Feel free to contact me on this email address or on my mobile of XXXXXXXXXXX.
Later on that day I get this:
"Jimmy. I am sorry to hear you are not happy with our service , as i am sure if you speak to any of our other customers, you will find we go out of our way to give good service to our clientele. In this case , however, I am sorry but the cool fire has obviously been well used for the last two months. I strongly believe that this fault has arisen through wear and tear and as you yourself admitted , worked well when purchased.
The "sales of goods act" states that; if the seller does not replace or repair faulty goods, you are entitled to a reduction on purchase price (which we have offered) or your money back MINUS an amount for the usage you have had of the goods. Judging by the scratches on the battery the usage was quite a lot. It also states that ; " if your claim under the sales of goods act ends up in court, you may have to prove that the fault was present when you bought the item and not, for example, something which was the result of normal wear and tear.
We like to have happy customers and would urge you to reconsider our offer of a replacement battery for a heavily discounted retail price of £15. I am afraid this is the best we can do in this situation and if this is not satisfactory to you, we will be sorry to lose your custom. Regards, XXXXXXXXXXX."
My most recent response (Removed website addresses as don't want to be seen as advertising):
Let me be frank; I know my rights, and have exercised them where required before, and always successfully I may add.
I know many people who own and use a Cool Fire IV, and have seen theirs continue to function well for at least 6 months after purchase. My brother in law, for one, purchased his in January 2016, and still uses it to this day, and he uses his far more frequently than I did. That alone is evidence in itself that there is clearly an issue with the one I purchased, if it couldn’t last any longer than 2 months.
Regardless of whether a device appears to function normally at the point of purchase, it remains the case that as the product has developed an issue through no action of my own within 6 months from the purchase date, I am entitled to a replacement at no added cost under the Act as discussed.
Were the item to show age-related signs of degraded performance (ie. Battery capacity reduction), then I may be inclined to agree with your assertions.
However, a device working that appears to work perfectly fine at near-full capacity one moment, then stop dead a matter of hours later meets the description of an item that isn’t fit for purpose).
“Judging by the scratches on the battery the usage was quite a lot”
The battery isn’t scratched – you’re referring to the housing in which the battery is contained. That is merely cosmetic and if any item would stop working because of a superficial scratch that was only on the surface, I’d stay off the roads as there’d be a few thousand cars that would come screeching to a halt in that case. If you could prove that the (minor) scratches were to be the cause of the fault – I’d be more than interested to see this.
Furthermore, I should point out that you didn’t post the paragraph after the part regarding court action, I quote the paragraph in full:
“If your claim is about a problem that arose within six months of buying the product, it's assumed that the problem existed at the date of delivery and it's up to the retailer to prove that the goods were of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, or as described when it sold them.” – As I am claiming within 6 months of purchase, even if this were to go to court, the burden of proof will rest with the retailer, not the customer.
As the manufacturer themselves provide a 90 day warranty (US only, but that isn’t relevant), then it can be assumed that a product that fails in a lesser timeframe has developed a fault.
I would also like to point out that the “reduction on purchase price” actually applies to a situation where the money paid initially for the faulty item is refunded, less a deduction (however this only applies after the 6 months from purchase have elapsed)
I am aware of my rights under the act (I am an established and very active member of a number of vaping and consumer-related websites, including XXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXX to name but a few) , I have been completely honest about the situation, and am disappointed with the response given so far, which in the opinion of all I have discussed this with (including the aforementioned websites), is in total disregard of my statutory rights.
In view of this, I have no option but to reiterate my stance, which I will not deviate from:
Unless a replacement is provided under the terms of the Act within the next 7 days, then I will seek further action, up to and including issuing proceedings against you in the county court to recover the amount paid for the item at fault, with associated costs and statutory interest, with no further reference to you.
I have already submitted a complaint to Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards, and will make it quite clear via various local and national outlets (Vaping-related forums, Social Media, Press and TV), that your business does not take its customers’ rights seriously.
I ask as it seems that new Vape shops seem to pop up a lot and are run by people out for a fast buck and have no grasp of basic consumer law...