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LTKY

Distance sales - seller pulls out

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This one is for a friend who purchased goods from the UK and had them delivered to an EU country.

 

The goods are two safes, purchased over the phone, so description and transaction were carried out by phone.

 

The safes arrived in good looking condition and have dial lock doors. When my friend tried to adjust the dial locks according to the instructions, they couldn't get them to work (on both). Another person in the company tried following the instructions to the letter and again they couldn't adjust the locks. One of the locks was also stuck. They got in touch with the retailer, over the phone at first and then by email.

 

They forwarded me the email communications which are super clear, the retailer tells them that due to dial locks having issues on transport they sometimes need to dispatch an engineer to re-calibrate. This could be done in the UK but since they are outside the UK (within EU), the seller provided the contacts of a representative. My friend tried all contacts to no avail and none of them was reachable.

 

They got in touch with the seller again to ask for a proposed solution and also expressed concerns over the reliability of the dial locks. The seller wrote on email that they "failed to inform them about this potential issue on transport prior to sale and therefore they would bear the costs of the return". Then my friend proposed to swap the dial lock doors with key lock doors which the seller accepted under no other condition.

 

The doors were shipped back to the UK (paid by my friend but invoice was sent to the seller for a refund as agreed). As soon as the seller received the doors they swapped to key locks and shipped the different doors back. BUT they also replied by email supporting that the doors had no problem at all and that according to them it was the buyer's fault, therefore it would be unfair for them to pay for the return costs back to the UK.

 

I am not familiar with distant sales but I understand that my friend can use both SOGA and EU directive for Distance Selling.

1.According to SOGA the description of the goods was not right, because two people could not operate the safe according to the instructions of the seller (intended to the average user), unless that falls under non-fit-for-purpose? (now the seller supports that two people are "stupid" and they couldn't operate perfectly working dial locks).

2. Then according to the distance sales directive from the EU, they failed to provide full information about the goods during/prior sale, which they admitted openly in writing, so they should bear the return costs.

But even if the above was hard to justify,my friend followed the instructions agreed with the seller in good faith, in order to resolve the problem, and the seller changed their mind on an agreement they proposed themselves?!

My friend put all the above points in a nice letter to the seller and received no response at all. I feel the seller has acted inappropriately.

Your advice is most welcome:)

Edited by LTKY
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It would appear that you have a dispute about the doors being faulty, your friend says they were, but seller says they were ok.

Have you got a report by an expert to back up the claim that they were faulty?

SOGA only applies to a UK purchaser? and only to individual consumers, not companies. Was the purchase for a consumer

Not sure about EU DSR, but expect it is similar to UK.

Only recourse would be court action, not sure how that would work to enforce!

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It would appear that you have a dispute about the doors being faulty, your friend says they were, but seller says they were ok.

Have you got a report by an expert to back up the claim that they were faulty?

SOGA only applies to a UK purchaser? and only to individual consumers, not companies. Was the purchase for a consumer

Not sure about EU DSR, but expect it is similar to UK.

Only recourse would be court action, not sure how that would work to enforce!

 

They are a company, correct, but I am not sure how it was invoiced and whether SOGA applies to their case. I thought SOGA would apply with purchases from the UK anyway, I could be wrong. The EU directive also allows for a distant purchaser to utilise their country's consumer law, although this is something they would have to investigate further.

 

I agree, they should have called a local expert to get a second opinion (they tried doing so by calling the approved specialist proposed by the seller but he was not reachable on the contacts provided). I told my friend this was their weak point because now the seller has the doors and could claim anything.

 

What else can they do in terms of at least reporting the seller for bad practice to local UK trading bodies?

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Ss said SOGA and DSR ONLY applies to UK consumers, individuals not companies!

It would appear you have a contractual dispute only addressable through the courts, and without an expert witness report would have difficulty proving it.

Not aware of any UK body that would deal this for a company, only individual consumers.

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Thanks for the feedback, I suppose you are right, I didn't think of it at company level. I dont know if its worth pursuing through court for the courier cost though:)

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