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Faulty appliance fire: keep evidence or give to store?

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My auntie bought an electrical kitchen appliance from a leading high street retail chain. It caught fire, scalded her and caused not insignificant damage in the kitchen. The appliance was charred completely. The plug and wall socket were fine, but the body/casing proved unreasonably flamable. She immediately reported the accident to the store, which sent a report to head office, and after lengthy correspondence and some lengthy delays on their part, after several months the store is asking for the appliance back. Aunti fears she will never see it again, and that she will lose this charred evidence, and that it will only indefinately prolong a settlement. She has already sent very clear and detailed photos. Some websites discussing product liability say to keep the evidence. Can she refuse to hand it over to them? Should she keep it or give it back?

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She could commission her own report and hang on to that, but they will ultimately require the goods back, not just to check on your claim, but to assertain if the product has a fault that could mean a recall of them all in case it should happen to someone else.

It might not be a one off so could be potentially very dangerous.

A call to trading standards wouldn't go amiss.


Photos are not of any real use in determining if there is a fault and what caused it.

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