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Laptop failure after 2 years 3 months, my rights under SoGA?

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Hi there,

 

New to this forum but it all looks helpful. Im sure this question has been posed here before but im just seeking clarity on my legal position.

 

Bought an £800 sony vaio laptop from Currys (for my sins) in Oct 2013. It was the most expensive windows laptop in the shop, sold to me after I explained I use it for work and it gets lots of use so needs to be a machine which will stand up to it rather than a cheap laptop that will struggle to keep pace...

 

It has been repaired once by Currys already in Summer 2014 (software failure, they reinstalled windows for me and thats about all).

 

Last week, after 2 years 3 months, it has died completely. I have returned it to Currys for them to asses, but I am expecting it could be a motherboard failure and as such pretty much a write off and time to buy a new one.

 

I have a friend who works for Currys repair centre, and he has advised me that Currys are obliged to repair or replace under the Sales of goods act regardless of warranty, something he described as retails best kept secret.

 

Having raised this point with Currys the lady was quite firm in her denial ("in thrity years of working here ive never heard of a free repair to a 2 year old machine" ...etc). She claimed that wear and tear on the key board and case showing it has been used a lot as opposed to someone using it once a week to check facebook has to be considered when assessing what is reasable to expect in terms of the life of a laptop.

 

While I take the point that number of hours use affects overall years of use, I feel that 2 years 3 months is not a reasonable time for a laptop to fail to the point of replacement, especially not for an £800 machine sold on the basis of its durability. I feel the amount of use is irrelevent given the short time frame, as to support that argument is to say that the laptop was not suitable for business use or capable of being used for anything other than light domestic home use, contrary to advice given at point of sale and contrary to the price tag.

 

Having read some other threads here I am under the impression I may be entitled to some compensation if not a full repair/replacement, on the basis that the sales of goods act states it must "reasonably not be expected to have failed" which I think is the case. The issue of "fault being present from manfacture" can only be prooved by virtue of the fact it has failed, and would only fail after time not necessarily when first purchased. If an indpendent report was needed I can arrange it, I certainly havent spilled anything or dropped it, or otherwise caused reason for it to be faulty and the nature of it being inside the laptop means its hard to really break a motherboard any other way.

 

I would appreicate advice on how to approach the issue given Currys known stubborn attitude to these problems and a better understanding of my legal rights. If needs be I will buy a new laptop (elsewhere), but I do feel I am being robbed of at least a couple of years use of a machine and therefore should be compensated towards the cost of a new one.

 

Many thanks in advance :)

 

Jon

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Currys are under an obligation to repair it, even after 2 years, however there is a but.

 

In order to exercise your rights, you'll need to get an independent report stating that the failure is down to a manufacturing fault rather than wear and tear, accidental damage, misuse, etc. You can usually get such a report from a local computer shop. The downside is that you will need to pay for this report up front yourself (Usually these cost around the £60 mark), however Currys will have to refund that if the report shows that it is indeed a manufacturing fault.

Once you have the report, you can contact Currys, preferably in writing, providing them with a copy of the report and asking that they fulfil their legal obligations. Now, the choice of what to do next is up to Currys, and they will go down one of the following routes,

1) Replace the laptop (Unlikely given the age and the fact that Sony no longer manufacture laptops)

2) Repair the laptop (This depends on the type of failure and how much it will cost to fix. Again, this may be difficult as parts may not be in easy supply due to the manufacturer withdrawing from the laptop business)

3) Full refund (Extremely unlikely given the age, but strange things have been known to happen. If you did get a full refund of the £800 I'd expect it to be in vouchers rather than cash)

4) The most likely option, a partial refund with a deduction for 'enjoyment'. This means that they can refund you minus an amount for the use you've already had from the laptop, based on a reasonable lifespan. If we assume a laptop should be reasonably expected to last 5 years, then your refund would be expected to be in the region of £450-500.

 

If Currys still refuse to play ball, then you'd send a LBA to Currys advising them that you expect them to either fulfil their legal obligations, or you'll be taking them to Small Claims court for the cost of the laptop. Don't make that threat unless you intended to follow through with it though, it's useless as an idle threat. Hopefully things wouldn't get that far though, but if they do we can give you more information when that happens :)

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Theyd likely just give like for like. So you wouldnt get a full replacement as theres no chance theyd carry tech that old now


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The very short answer here is – that you are broadly right. You can have some expectation of the repair although you may have to contribute to it.

 

Section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act requires that goods be of satisfactory quality and that they remain that way for a reasonable period of time. What is satisfactory and what is reasonable is based upon the view of a reasonable consumer's expectations.

 

In your case, you are talking about an £800 laptop and I think a reasonable way of expressing the question would be: – would a reasonable consumer expect to pay £400 per year for a laptop and then have to buy a new one.

 

Another question you might ask would be: – if Currys advertised the laptop saying "this laptop will cost you £800 and it will last you for a full two years, after which you will have to buy new one", would they sell any?

 

I think the answer to both questions is – No

 

However, the laptop has had over two years use and of course it is subject to wear and tear. I think that you have to do estimate the reasonable expected life of the machine and then calculate your contribution to the repair of the machine based on two years as a percentage of the expected life.

 

This means, for instance, that if it is reasonable to expect that the computer would last for six years, then you have had it for 30% of that time and so I would say that it would be reasonable to expect you to pay for 30% of the repair and for Currys to pay the balance

 

Currys will not accept this without a fight. I quite agree that the rights under the Sale of Goods Act are retails best kept secret. In fact the Sale of Goods Act is Currys best kept secret and as far as we can see on this forum, Currys have a rotten reputation for trying to deprive people of their statutory rights.

 

Even when computers break shortly after the expiry of the normal 12 month guarantee, people have a hard fight to assert their rights against Currys. Frankly I think there is a case for consumers to make complaints about Currys to Trading Standards because it needs an investigation into what they are doing.

 

I'm afraid that you are very likely to get to a point where you are going to have to threaten – and begin a legal action against them. Once that happens, then Currys may knuckle down but I don't expect that it will happen before then.

 

The first thing you're going to have to do is to get a diagnosis of the problem and an estimate for repair. I think you're going to have to get to estimates.

 

Have Currys given you an estimate? It would be helpful if they did. Even if they say that it is big beyond economic repair, at least you can then place a value on what you believe you are entitled to have.

 

For instance if they say that the computer is written off, then you will have to consider that Currys owe you about 66% of the purchase price.

 

Once you have done this, then you need to write a letter to Currys with the estimates and require them to pay for the repair or else you will sue them within 14 days. Don't bother to bluff this. Don't do it unless you really intend to go through it.

 

It is likely that Currys won't even bother to respond to you. Once you have issued the papers, then Currys will sit up and take notice but until that moment, they will simply disregard you and anything you have to say.


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Hi everyone,

 

Thank you for your responses, very helpful indeed, it certainly seems that more people should be made aware of the SoGA as I can think of several circumstances in my life when it would have to applied to goods which I have just accepted I need to replace at cost when in fact I could have sought partial compensation (including my last laptop! Hence my grumpyness over this one).

 

As I said, I am awaiting Currys diagnosis and its possible it could still be an easy fix but in the worst case this is all valuable information.

 

I also contacted the Citizens Advice consumer helpline who were very helpful in clarifying my rights as well. Interestingly they do agree that the "reasonable wear and tear" argument is the grey area in all of this, and that if all else fails it would fall to a judge in the claims court to decide if reasonable usage had been had from the laptop before the thing packed up.

 

However they also advised me that in the event Currys did not respond or offer suitable assistance with the repair, my next step would be to contact a 3rd party conflict resolution scheme - perhaps one that Currys is a member of, or else an independent one which Citizens Advice could recommend, who would then contact the retailer to try and find a resolution suitable to both parties without going to a court claim (which lets face it is preferable for the sake of a few hundred pounds). Just thought it was worth mentioning here for anyone else digging up research, they said the small claims court should be a last resort and there are other ways to pursue the claim before reaching that point. Well worth speaking to them on issues like this as they have some good advice.

 

Thanks again for your help, I shall certainly be paying more attention to this in future and advising everyone I know of their rights!

 

Cheers

 

Jon

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2 years 3 months even with daily use is not reasonable life span for an £800 laptop. If they find that it is just failed parts, if they tell you it is not an economic repair, offering you vouchers towards a new laptop, then ask them what parts have failed. Then try to find out elsewhere whether the repair is worthwhile and the cost. It is then working out what your best option is.

 

I find that Laptops last about 4 years, having has various different brands over the years.


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So the laptop doesn't turn on at all? No lights, no fans etc?

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So the laptop doesn't turn on at all? No lights, no fans etc?

 

I think you are in IT.

 

Why are Laptops more of a problem than the old workstation type boxed computers ?

 

Is it that they are cramming in so many heat affected parts into a small space and no amount of fans or ventilation will stop the parts failing early due to the gradual heat damage ?


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I think you are in IT.

 

Why are Laptops more of a problem than the old workstation type boxed computers ?

 

Is it that they are cramming in so many heat affected parts into a small space and no amount of fans or ventilation will stop the parts failing early due to the gradual heat damage ?

 

Pretty much, the components are getting smaller, but they aren't as efficient with the heat. The most common failures of the motherboard in laptops I have seen are either overheating of an external graphics chip causing the cost saving ball solder joints to crack resulting most of the time with a complete blank screen. The other tends to be power related where a small component near the power jack fails with extended use, it can be other components, but usually only takes a single tiny component to fail and render the whole thing useless.

 

I wanted to check if jboy81's laptop defiantly has a mainboard failure, or if the issue could be something else.

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I was pretty miffed when my iPad completely died just after the one year guarantee ran out... that was about a year ago. Wondering if there is anything I can do about it after all that time, though...

 

TB

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Unfortunately you may have left it a bit too late now if the failure happened a year ago. At the time you certainly could have pushed for Currys to do something, but after so long has passed since the failure I'm not so sure.

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Unfortunately you may have left it a bit too late now if the failure happened a year ago. At the time you certainly could have pushed for Currys to do something, but after so long has passed since the failure I'm not so sure.

 

It wasn't from Curry's but shouldn't the manufacturer be held responsible if their products fail after a few months…? :sad:

 

TB

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It wasn't from Curry's but shouldn't the manufacturer be held responsible if their products fail after a few months…? :sad:

 

TB

 

Legally speaking, no. The retailer is the one responsible, not the manufacturer. From a consumer point of view anyway. The exception would be if you purchased from the manufacturer directly.

 

But again, after so long has passed since the failure I'm not entirely sure there's anything that can be done.

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Legally speaking, no. The retailer is the one responsible, not the manufacturer. From a consumer point of view anyway. The exception would be if you purchased from the manufacturer directly.

 

But again, after so long has passed since the failure I'm not entirely sure there's anything that can be done.

 

I'm sure there is, It should last a "reasonable length of time" which should be around 5 years. You'd have to argue this with the retailer as they will try to get out of it. I had a laptop fail after a year and 5 days, I wish I had known about the SOGA back then!

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It would help if there was some independent guide on product lifespan to be expected by consumers. If there was such a guide (if it is possible) then it would help consumers know what they should expect.

 

Of course retailers and manufacturers would hate this, because it might affect the number of faulty products being returned for repair or replacement. I should imagine most people just throw away faulty items, rather than pursue retailers.


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I'm sure there is, It should last a "reasonable length of time" which should be around 5 years. You'd have to argue this with the retailer as they will try to get out of it. I had a laptop fail after a year and 5 days, I wish I had known about the SOGA back then!

Oh I agree that there is rules that products should last a reasonable length of time. The issue here though is that the failure occurred more than a year ago and it went unreported to the retailer. Can you go to the retailer, even if you're within that 5 years, and say "My laptop/tablet failed over a year ago and I'd like to have it fixed" ? I'd imagine that there is an expectation/requirement that failures are also reported inside of a reasonable timeframe, not more than a year after the fact.

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2 years 3 months even with daily use is not reasonable life span for an £800 laptop. If they find that it is just failed parts, if they tell you it is not an economic repair, offering you vouchers towards a new laptop, then ask them what parts have failed. Then try to find out elsewhere whether the repair is worthwhile and the cost. It is then working out what your best option is.

 

I find that Laptops last about 4 years, having has various different brands over the years.

 

My laptops last on average 8 years. They get a workout so I tend to have to find an excuse to buy a new model. I don't think 4 years is long enough when you've spent £800 on a laptop.

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I was pretty miffed when my iPad completely died just after the one year guarantee ran out... that was about a year ago. Wondering if there is anything I can do about it after all that time, though...

 

TB

 

Take it to the retailer and if they refuse to fix it, take it to Apple. I found them very helpful when my daughters hard drive failed on her iMac. The retailer gave me the runaround for months. In the end Apple replaced the hard drive free of charge because of all the stress I'd suffered trying to get the retailer to fix it.

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don't agree with some of the generalisation that's being ported here

sadly by known industry workers or those that were in the game for the major retailers.

I might add.

 

 

it matters not if/if not the user reports a fault within any timeframe of it happening.

the user could just as simply lie and say it happened yesterday it makes no odds

the item failed

 

 

be it 1yrs , or 5 days out side of any manu guarantee [which is totally useless anyway]

and does not replace your statutory rights under soga or the consumer rights act.

 

 

the item has failed within what could be deemed as a reasonable time

the goods should have been expected to have lasted for...

 

 

whatever was paid for the goods ..is immaterial under the guidelines.

just because something by rolls Royce costs 200 times the price of a fiat 500

does not mean the fiat is allowed to be produced without the same care toward the end user.

 

 

reasonable time is the key word here

and say to say that a product of just over +2yrs has reached its life is rather poor....

 

 

it might well be correct that 'the use of the product' plays a part in what can be reasonably claimed

in return for a working item...or any other solution.

 

 

but there are, quite correctly, no hard and fast rules upon how long any one product might last.

 

 

it certainly does not allow retailers to brush off any claim as its outside of any warranty or guarantee


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

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Take it to the retailer and if they refuse to fix it, take it to Apple. I found them very helpful when my daughters hard drive failed on her iMac. The retailer gave me the runaround for months. In the end Apple replaced the hard drive free of charge because of all the stress I'd suffered trying to get the retailer to fix it.

 

It was purchased from an Apple store in Hong Kong… TB

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don't agree with some of the generalisation that's being ported here

sadly by known industry workers or those that were in the game for the major retailers.

I might add.

 

 

it matters not if/if not the user reports a fault within any timeframe of it happening.

the user could just as simply lie and say it happened yesterday it makes no odds

the item failed

 

 

be it 1yrs , or 5 days out side of any manu guarantee [which is totally useless anyway]

and does not replace your statutory rights under soga or the consumer rights act.

 

 

the item has failed within what could be deemed as a reasonable time

the goods should have been expected to have lasted for...

 

 

whatever was paid for the goods ..is immaterial under the guidelines.

just because something by rolls Royce costs 200 times the price of a fiat 500

does not mean the fiat is allowed to be produced without the same care toward the end user.

 

 

reasonable time is the key word here

and say to say that a product of just over +2yrs has reached its life is rather poor....

 

 

it might well be correct that 'the use of the product' plays a part in what can be reasonably claimed

in return for a working item...or any other solution.

 

 

but there are, quite correctly, no hard and fast rules upon how long any one product might last.

 

 

it certainly does not allow retailers to brush off any claim as its outside of any warranty or guarantee

 

Yep… we bought two iPads… one for me and one for my son… mine packed up just after 12 months, my son's is still working perfectly after 2 years… there's no rhyme or reason for it… the manufacturer should replace it…TB

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It was purchased from an Apple store in Hong Kong… TB

 

When you buy abroad, you should ask for the international warranty and not the local version. This was the case the last time i heard about the topic of buying electronic products abroad. I believe in Airports Duty Free, they tend to offer the international warranty automatically, because a local warranty is not going to be much good to a foreign traveller just passing through.

 

Check the warranty to see if it is international. Ideally you should have registered the product against your UK address, but it does not matter if you did not.

 

The warranty is not the limit of your rights. Where a product fails within reasonable expected lifespan, you can claim against the manufacturers. But you should get it inspected to see what has failed and to get confirmation that the item has been looked after properly, not taken apart and messed around with.

 

It might not be too late to pursue this with Apple.


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When you buy abroad, you should ask for the international warranty and not the local version. This was the case the last time i heard about the topic of buying electronic products abroad. I believe in Airports Duty Free, they tend to offer the international warranty automatically, because a local warranty is not going to be much good to a foreign traveller just passing through.

 

Check the warranty to see if it is international. Ideally you should have registered the product against your UK address, but it does not matter if you did not.

 

The warranty is not the limit of your rights. Where a product fails within reasonable expected lifespan, you can claim against the manufacturers. But you should get it inspected to see what has failed and to get confirmation that the item has been looked after properly, not taken apart and messed around with.

 

It might not be too late to pursue this with Apple.

 

No… it's been looked after properly and has not been taken apart. We think it's a motherboard failure. I think it was a local warranty, but we phoned Apple UK and they said they could replace it at a cost of £300 as it was out of warranty… Pfft!! TB

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