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Custom made item, dog harness, not what I asked for & company has refused a return

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Posted (edited)

Hello Everyone,

I am new to this forum so feel free to keep me right. I feel a little bent out of shape after my dealings with an online UK company that offers harnesses for dogs:

You can find them at the web address fleece dog harnesses uk

 

 

Here is the initial email I sent the woman:

Message Body:

Hello,

I have had a challenging time trying to track down a harness for our 1 year old irish water spaniel. I have tried maybe 8/9 different models! She is still a puppy at 1- being a large breed. Irish water spaniels are slow to mature. She weighs 27kg of pure muscle and has pulled me off my feet on occasion ( running after a cat). Not only is she extremely strong and impulsive, but her skin is like lambskin- incredibly soft, particularly around the stomach, neck and chest. Conventional harnesses have caused abrasions. She has sores on her neck from her last collar. We took it off as soon as we realised. She often lies between size brackets which has made fitting more tricky. Often I order the medium, that fits her measurements according to the manufacturer’s chart but it turns out she needs the next size up. A lot of the harnesses have jutted into the back or front of her front legs. I am hoping you might be able to help. She currently uses a Hunter Norwegian Racing Harness which has been the best so far, but it is not terribly secure. She can be flighty for instance meeting a large dog or seeing a cat. She is almost able to wriggle her way out of the harness backwards. The other thing is that we really need a strong handle to keep her in check along busy roads. I will try and give you a ring tomorrow. I thought it might be helpful to send you a worded message as well since there is a lot of info!

Kind regards,

XXXXXX

 

 

I subsequently followed up with a phonecall & placed an order for a custom made harness (as advised by the lady since she said the breed is too deep-chested for highstreet harnesses) I mentioned the handle again and i was told to look at a particular page showing a flyball harness. I confirmed i needed a handle. She asked if i needed a waterproof harness. I thought about it & agreed. So i paid an exorbitant sum (£58) thinking she had taken care of all my requirements. She did not warn me that the harness was non-returnable. Furthermore, I trusted her after a lengthy conversation on the phone & all the email correspondence. I felt reassured by a note on the website saying they wanted their customers to be happy. My order note also warned me not to let the dog wear the harness before seeking a return:

( Of course, the website mentioned that custom orders were non-returnable, but I ordered by phone & paid using paypal afterwards)

 

 

Returns/Exchanges Please try your harness on but please do not wear, as worn items cannot be returned.Thanks.

I would not have paid such a huge sum for a non-returnable harness that did not meet the requirements carefully laid out in my initial email. The harness arrived, awkward to adjust, with quite scratchy fabric and exposed seams on the internal facing of the garment. I have not been able to fasten the garment around the dog’s chest yet as it is so difficult to adjust. I will have to try again to check it actually fits her. My family agrees the exposed seams will rub on the dog’s chest. There is no handle. I sent a polite email on 23rd december. The lady has finally replied today, saying she followed my requirements to the letter and that I did not request a handle, therefore a return is out of the question. I feel very let down as I was so very specific in my written brief. It is as if she paid no attention to the dog’s particular requirements. The fabric is not soft either. Any advice gratefully received.

Edited by Andyorch
Name removed

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Hi and Welcome to CAG

 

Online, mail and phone order sales

 

Online, mail and telephone order customers have the right to cancel their order for a limited time even if the goods aren’t faulty. Sales of this kind are known as ‘distance selling’.

 

Retailers must offer a refund to customers if they’ve told you within 14 days of receiving their goods that they want to cancel. They have another 14 days to return the goods once they’ve told you.

 

Retailers must refund the customer within 14 days of receiving the goods back. They don’t have to provide a reason.

 

https://www.gov.uk/accepting-returns-and-giving-refunds

 

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/made

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Hello Andy,

Many thanks for your help!

Do you know if this still applies to custom-made goods? I will have a read of the link now.

Best wishes, Anna

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The Retailer must refund the customer within 14 days of receiving the goods back. They don’t have to provide a reason.


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Hi Andy,

I checked with the citizens advice website & learnt this does not apply to custom-made goods?

I feel conned as I laid out my requirements so carefully in my initial email. The business owner disregarded this email after reading it, for some unfathomable reason. I also feel she could/should have steered me in the direction of a softer harness (already made) with a handle at half the price which would have been subject to the cooling off period/return. I guess my only recourse is to take this up with Paypal or send a solicitor’s letter. Regards, Anna

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Citizens advice are wrong.....anything bought over the internet (distance selling) you are entitled to return it with no reason providing you inform the retailer within 14 days...you then have a further 14 days to return the item...with no reason or whether its a custom item or not...(you cant return a custom item if you bought it from the actual shop.).....as that is not distance selling.

 

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013


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Well, I dare say it wouldn’t be the first time Citizen’s Advice were wrong!

Thanks very much Andy

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Citizens Advice is right. There is no right to a cancel "goods that are made to the consumer’s specifications or are clearly personalised" unless they are faulty:

 

"28.—(1) This Part does not apply as regards the following—

 

(b)the supply of goods that are made to the consumer’s specifications or are clearly personalised;"

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/regulation/28/made

 

It states that on the gov.uk website as well:

 

"You have to offer a refund for certain items only if they’re faulty, such as:

 

personalised items and custom-made items, eg curtains"

 

https://www.gov.uk/accepting-returns-and-giving-refunds

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Well it is faulty according to the OP...her specifications were not followed.

 

Re read post #1 ...slowly


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But that is not what you originally claimed @Andyorch. You stated that Citizens Advice was wrong and that an item could be returned within 14 days with no reason whatsoever. That is not the case with custom made items.

 

The fact that there is no handle doesn't mean it is faulty but it's not made to specifications as requested.

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If the harness is not suitable for the dog's skin (exposed seams) and does not have the requested handle then surely that's not as ordered and can be returned for a refund.

 

As an aside can I suggest you look at this https://www.dog-games-shop.co.uk/perfect-fit-harness-size-guide

Each part of the harness can be bought in the size needed so the overall fit is correct whatever the shape and size of your dog and you can exchange any part which isn't right until you have the perfect fit. Not cheap and not waterproof but soft and doesn't rub because of a good fit and I considered mine great value.

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The OP can argue that it is not fit for purpose but there is no automatic 14 day cooling off period as with usual distance selling. She argues that the "harness that did not meet the requirements carefully laid out in my initial email."

 

However, the requirements are not carefully laid out in the e-mail. Breaking it down all she states is "The other thing is that we really need a strong handle to keep her in check along busy roads", that is the only reference to any requirement at all.

 

Then there is a subsequent phone call which if not recorded is unsubstantiated. The retailer could easily argue that a handle was discussed in the call and for whatever reason (extra cost?), the handle was deemed unwanted. The OP is unhappy with the purchase overall but relying on the fact a requested handle was not present, it is not clear cut that a handle formed part of the contract in the first place.

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but her skin is like lambskin- incredibly soft, particularly around the stomach, neck and chest. Conventional harnesses have caused abrasions

That's in the email and is a known issue with some breeds. The brand I gave a link to lines the parts which could cause such a problem with fleece for this very reason. The seller accepted the commission knowing this and exposed seams are absolutely unsuitable.

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Which is a much better argument than the 'no handle' route.

Hopefully. The harness I gave a link to is roughly comparable in price and is a comparator showing the quality a buyer should get when they rely on the professional knowledge of someone who makes such a thing.

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Citizens advice are wrong.....anything bought over the internet (distance selling) you are entitled to return it with no reason providing you inform the retailer within 14 days...you then have a further 14 days to return the item...with no reason or whether its a custom item or not...(you cant return a custom item if you bought it from the actual shop.).....as that is not distance selling.

 

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

 

I am sorry but you may be incorrect. The item was custom made therefore cannot be returned unless proof can be shown that the harness is faulty and that is where the problem lies. The item is not faulty or not fit for purpose, but is not suitable for the dog in question.

I don't think any one will have much luck pursuing this using CRA 2015. Contract law may be better, but how do you prove what was said in a telephone conversation unless a written email of what was said was sent by either the OP or the supplier.

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The item is not faulty or not fit for purpose, but is not suitable for the dog in question.

Surely the whole point of a custom made item is that it should be suitable for the dog in question when the special requirements were clearly set out in the email.

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Surely the whole point of a custom made item is that it should be suitable for the dog in question when the special requirements were clearly set out in the email.

 

This is clearly absolutely correct.

 

Fitness of purpose means that an item must be fit for its usual purpose or where a particular or specific purpose has been drawn to the attention of the retailer and the item has been sold on that basis that it must be fit for that specified purpose.


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This is clearly absolutely correct.

 

Fitness of purpose means that an item must be fit for its usual purpose or where a particular or specific purpose has been drawn to the attention of the retailer and the item has been sold on that basis that it must be fit for that specified purpose.

 

Without anything in writing I don't think the OP stands any chance of a refund plus the fact proving it is not fit for purpose would be extremely difficult. The harness may be perfect on another dog of the same breed that has had training.

IMHO no matter what harness is bought, custom or standard, it may never be fit for purpose. The OP would be better off spending money on taking the dog for training so that it does not strain against the harness or decide to chase cats.

This type of dog should be trained to walk alongside the owner and not on a lead. The dog is let off the lead to retrieve game therefore needs training big time and as soon as possible! Once trained there should be no more issues with any harness. I would have thought the OP knew this before they purchased the puppy?

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Yes but now you are changing the subject completely. In terms of the absence of writing or other proof, you are shifting away from discussing the law in relation to "fitness for purpose" to the question of evidence.

 

Nobody would dispute that you need some kind of evidence to prove your point – but up until now you have been disputing what is the law on this matter.

 

In terms of advising the OP on what they should do with their money, that is also sidestepping away from the issue which was originally raised in the opening post to this thread.


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Yes but now you are changing the subject completely. In terms of the absence of writing or other proof, you are shifting away from discussing the law in relation to "fitness for purpose" to the question of evidence.

 

Nobody would dispute that you need some kind of evidence to prove your point – but up until now you have been disputing what is the law on this matter.

 

In terms of advising the OP on what they should do with their money, that is also sidestepping away from the issue which was originally raised in the opening post to this thread.

 

I think that if you check you will find that I am correct due to the article being custom made, proving it is not fit for purpose etc as the item may be perfectly okay on another Irish water dog of the same size. The OP will have a hard time proving their case to get any sort of a refund. It all seems that there is no paper trail either so we need the OP to confirm if there is a paper trail detailing the specifications of the harness.

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Without anything in writing I don't think the OP stands any chance of a refund plus the fact proving it is not fit for purpose would be extremely difficult. The harness may be perfect on another dog of the same breed that has had training.

That argument suggests that any harness, however badly designed/made, would be fit for purpose as long as the dog only ever walked perfectly on a loose lead. What about when they're off lead and running? Is it OK for exposed seams to rub the dog's skin then? This was clearly addressed in the OP's original email so it isn't true there's nothing in writing.

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That argument suggests that any harness, however badly designed/made, would be fit for purpose as long as the dog only ever walked perfectly on a loose lead. What about when they're off lead and running? Is it OK for exposed seams to rub the dog's skin then? This was clearly addressed in the OP's original email so it isn't true there's nothing in writing.

 

The initial inquiry was made by email and then followed up by a phone call. At that point the order was placed however the OP has not confirm whether there was anything in writing from that point forward. Until there is a picture of the "exposed" seams I cannot comment.

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