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


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The trouble is, I have already been back to the store twice now, its baffling me why they are not complying with Section 48a.

I was about to accept defeat, cut my losses and put it down to a bad experience, but you have given me renewed enthusiasm to see this through.

My son recently bought this http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=222045 and I am going to ask if I can borrow it. I'll hide it in a document wallet and place it on the customer service counter when I return to the store and capture the manager declining a 95% refund. I can show him a copy of Section 48a on camera. I’ll try again and agree a refund while the camera is running and have him decline a request to pay my consequential losses. I'll need to be suited & booted so I hope the manager doesn’t notice my change of attire and hand-deliver to the manager a LBA before picking up the document wallet and leaving the store.

I don’t trust this guy, he lied to me saying it was the manufacturer’s policy to require consumers to return to the store later to collect exchange goods and I understood the retailer is responsible for putting things right when there is a breach of contract.

I just have a feeling Comet will lie again at court if the Judge asks if I explored accepting a partial refund. I need something concrete to present in evidence, or some YouTube entertainment material if I lose.

 

I'll prepare a draft Form N1 Particulars and post here for comment.

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Heres the proposed Form N1 particulars:

 

Draft Particulars

 

I bought a HP Photo Smart combined printer scanner machine from the defendant 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 horizontal lines across them. This consumed ink cartridges which needed replacing at £9.99 each which the printer takes four at a time. This did not resolve the problem and the cost of ink cartridge replacement is now £119.98. I returned the goods to the retailer and asked for an exchange on 21 January 2010. 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 and they have to be returned to the manufacturer. The store assistant confirmed the customer services desk where we are standing is monitored and recorded by in-store CCTV and I left the store without the goods or a refund. The store assistant gave a receipt for the goods. I bought another printer of the same make and similar functionality elsewhere and it has performed perfectly ever since. I asked the store for a refund again in writing but my request received no reply. I returned to the store on 21 February and asked for a refund of £149.99 but my request was declined and the store manager said it was the manufacturer’s policy and not the defendant’s policy they do not exchange goods at the point of sale and they require consumer to return at a later date to collect exchange goods. I returned to the defendant store the next day on 22 February and asked for a 95% refund under the Sale of Goods Act to take into account I had the goods for three months although is was faulty but my request was declined by the service manager.

 

The claimant claims a) the sum of £149.99, b) per Hadley Vs. Baxendale, £119.98 printer ink (21 cartridges in all, 12 at £9.99 each used for attempted fault clearing) c) Mileage, 30.4 miles in each direction x 6 return to store at the statutory rate of 40ppm £74.44 d) ream of Conqueror White paper £19.99 e) court fees, f) interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year, from 21 January 2010 to [DATE OF JUDGMENT] of £[AMOUNT] and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgment or earlier payment at a daily rate of 0.00022%, g) the prescribed costs for me to attend court.

 

Can anyone suggest a letter before action for me to deliver to the store in person?

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I was going to complete a Form N1 and send it to my local county court. http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n1_0102.pdf

 

Im not an expert on drafting claims, i've just written it as I see it. Im open for suggestions.

 

You mentioned S40a of SOGA, can to point me to a link to the text of the legislation.

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Write to the legal team at head office.

 

 

I have been in some dialogue with head office via email - their email system is rather automatous, only simple replies refusing my request - no reasons given, but many of my emails do not get a reply at all, or are bounced back undeliverable.

 

Both my letters to their Rickmansworth Head Office address asking for a refund have received no reply.

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Just because they are standing firm does not mean that you have lost. They rely on stubborness to get their way. Sods.
That and the fact most people probably just wouldn't bother.

 

Anyway, I think being entitled to a full refund is going to be a stretch, but I see no reason you should not be entitled to a partial refund, making an allowance for the fact you have had the thing for three months. I think that should be at least 90%.

100 probably is fairer. Three months - some of which it not working - isn't really use.

 

 

48A Introductory

(1)This section applies if—

(a)the buyer deals as consumer or, in Scotland, there is a consumer contract in which the buyer is a consumer, and

(b)the goods do not conform to the contract of sale at the time of delivery.

 

(2)If this section applies, the buyer has the right—

(a)under and in accordance with section 48B below, to require the seller to repair or replace the goods, or

(b)under and in accordance with section 48C below

(i)to require the seller to reduce the purchase price of the goods to the buyer by an appropriate amount, or

(ii)to rescind the contract with regard to the goods in question.

 

[...]

 

48B Repair or replacement of the goods

(1)If section 48A above applies, the buyer may require the seller—

(a)to repair the goods, or

(b)to replace the goods.

(2)If the buyer requires the seller to repair or replace the goods, the seller must—

(a)repair or, as the case may be, replace the goods within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience to the buyer;

(b)bear any necessary costs incurred in doing so (including in particular the cost of any labour, materials or postage).

(3)The buyer must not require the seller to repair or, as the case may be, replace the goods if that remedy is—

(a)impossible, or

(b)disproportionate in comparison to the other of those remedies, or

©disproportionate in comparison to an appropriate reduction in the purchase price under paragraph (a), or rescission under paragraph (b), of section 48C(1) below.

 

(4)One remedy is disproportionate in comparison to the other if the one imposes costs on the seller which, in comparison to those imposed on him by the other, are unreasonable, taking into account—

(a)the value which the goods would have if they conformed to the contract of sale,

(b)the significance of the lack of conformity, and

©whether the other remedy could be effected without significant inconvenience to the buyer.

 

(5)Any question as to what is a reasonable time or significant inconvenience is to be determined by reference to—

(a)the nature of the goods, and

(b)the purpose for which the goods were acquired.

 

48C Reduction of purchase price or rescission of contract

(1)If section 48A above applies, the buyer may

(a)require the seller to reduce the purchase price of the goods in question to the buyer by an appropriate amount, or

(b)rescind the contract with regard to those goods, if the condition in subsection (2) below is satisfied.

 

(2)The condition is that—

(a)by virtue of section 48B(3) above the buyer may require neither repair nor replacement of the goods; or

(b)the buyer has required the seller to repair or replace the goods, but the seller is in breach of the requirement of section 48B(2)(a) above to do so within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the buyer.

 

(3)For the purposes of this Part, if the buyer rescinds the contract, any reimbursement to the buyer may be reduced to take account of the use he has had of the goods since they were delivered to him.

 

48D Relation to other remedies etc

(1)If the buyer requires the seller to repair or replace the goods the buyer must not act under subsection (2) until he has given the seller a reasonable time in which to repair or replace (as the case may be) the goods.

 

(2)The buyer acts under this subsection if—

(a)in England and Wales or Northern Ireland he rejects the goods and terminates the contract for breach of condition;

(b)in Scotland he rejects any goods delivered under the contract and treats it as repudiated;

©he requires the goods to be replaced or repaired (as the case may be).

The bold/underline is probably more relevant than the bold. There are certain circumstances (on a per-case basis often) which determine whether you're entitled to a refund or not. Not requiring a replacement is fine and if they have denied this in the past it is probably unreasonable to expect repeated visits and not to purchase a replacement yourself. If you take them to court, it will depend on what they think... Case law isn't particularly relevant as each set of circumstances can be different, though you shouldn't be out of pocket as a result of the breach of contract (so you can probably claim the cartridges (especially if you were following the instructions, and they are stupidly expensive) and trips to the store as costs. (if you win).

I was looking at new cooker and fridge in comet yesterday and they said they would beat whatever currys offered, dont think they can beat on customer services it seems so know to avoid them now.

To be honest, they're probably as bad as each other. That's the thing (and when I worked for DSG for a while, the amount of people who said on the phone "i'm not getting a PC from PC World again, I'll go to Currys next time"), you don't really have much choice. Comet and Currys at least are competitors but as far as after-sales goes there probably is little between them.

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The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

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You mentioned S40a of SOGA, can to point me to a link to the text of the legislation.

The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 SOGA 2002

I have been in some dialogue with head office via email - their email system is rather automatous, only simple replies refusing my request - no reasons given, but many of my emails do not get a reply at all, or are bounced back undeliverable.

 

Both my letters to their Rickmansworth Head Office address asking for a refund have received no reply.

Write special delivery and give them 14 days to respond or something (and with SD you know they have received it). :) The call centre probably answer the emails or something. But they would be less likely to answer a letter, because they can't be redirected electronically or whatever.

The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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Letters sent, and delivered to the store by placing the documents in front of a member of staff. Everything has been captured on video.

 

This morning, I stood in a line of unhappy customers with faulty goods, many of them bought extended warranties and it was interesting to see them all being systematically passed off from pillar to post to resolve their issues.

 

It seems the Sale of Good Act doesn't apply to Comet who thinks the manufacturer or insurance company is liable for breach of contract, and they can delegate liability away from the retailer.

 

I don’t expect Comet to make a reply to my letter, I have a feeling this will proceed uninterrupted all the way to trial. The claim now stands at £364.40 rising to £409.40 + costs and Section 69 in seven days when the N1 is filed at court.

 

I am concerned Comet my try to falsify the facts in any defense they give, Before speaking to trading standards, I had accepted Comets advice as genuine, and it was the manufacturer, and not the retailer to prove the goods were not faulty.

 

They also mentioned the Fraud Act, something about making false representations, do they really take this seriously?

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This morning, I stood in a line of unhappy customers with faulty goods, many of them bought extended warranties and it was interesting to see them all being systematically passed off from pillar to post to resolve their issues.

 

Most of whom will then accept they can do nothing to get it fixed and buy a new item...

It seems the Sale of Good Act doesn't apply to Comet who thinks the manufacturer or insurance company is liable for breach of contract, and they can delegate liability away from the retailer.

Which is mainly because most people will believe that, especially since contacting the manufacturer will get the item fixed, which is what they want. And since Comet then have to do nothing at all to the item, then it saves them time and money for you to do it directly. Of course, you can then access the manufacturer's product knowledge as well...

 

But I can't think Comet staff don't at least know it, at least at head office, it's just they can fob most people off with bs so it works for their needs, even if it's wrong, it would be solved at minimal effort to them.

 

I don’t expect Comet to make a reply to my letter, I have a feeling this will proceed uninterrupted all the way to trial. The claim now stands at £364.40 rising to £409.40 + costs and Section 69 in seven days when the N1 is filed at court.

 

Which will mainly hinge on if they think that your action of replacing the printer yourself rather than trying to hassle comet into action to replace/exchange would be reasonable grounds to favour a refund over a replacement, IMO.

 

Though you could easily say that you were willing to accept an exch and the fact they did not wish to do this coupled with your need for a working printer...

 

I am concerned Comet my try to falsify the facts in any defense they give, Before speaking to trading standards, I had accepted Comets advice as genuine, and it was the manufacturer, and not the retailer to prove the goods were not faulty.

 

They also mentioned the Fraud Act, something about making false representations, do they really take this seriously?

I think sometimes they work on the basis that if they say something and make it sound plausible most people will just accept it, tbh.

The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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Update.

 

Trading standards have telephoned me and gave their interpretation of the law. Their view is Comet is entitled to delay exchanging the printer and have the manufacturer see whether the goods can be repaired. They telephoned Comet and I have agreed to accept the exchange printer. This closes and settles the SOGA 1979 aspect of the dispute.

 

I will most probably eBay the printer unopened BNIB and cut my losses. I am thinking I should chalk this down to a bad experience.

 

Referring to Hadley vs. Baxendale, I am unsure what to do about consequential damages arising from a breach of contract. It currently stands at £214.40 plus the cost of returning to the store to collect the exchange printer and filing the proceedings £45. I have all receipts but not all ink was bought from Comet. Its all HP branded but from numerous other suppliers.

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It might be difficult to make a subsequent claim if you accept the printer in settlement. If you do so, make it expressly clear, before they send the printer, that you are reserving your right to seek recovery of your consequential losses.

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I bought a camera from Comet in October 2009 and it developed a fault 3 weeks ago. After trying everything shown in the manual I eventually telephoned the Comet number on my receipt and a chap named Marco immediately said, after I had explained the fault, 'oh that is a known problem with this camera'.

He suggested that I took the camera back to my local Comet I have done this today and they have said that they are going to send it away to be inspected and if necessary repaired. However I made the point that if this camera has a known fault it is likely to reoccur even if repaired and this may happen out of guarantee. I am therefore not happy to have this camera back even if repaired and would prefer to swap it for an alternative model even if this requires me to pay additional money.

However, Coment have absolutely refused to accept this and are going to send the camera away for a report. What are my rights when a Comet employee has stated that there is a known fault and therefore in my opinion this model camera is not of merchantable quality.

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It might be a known fault they can fix with a repair (e.g. xbox 360 and RROD) in which case it doesnt matter. However, if they have repaired it and it hasn't fixed it, it strengthens your case for a replacement or refund.

The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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