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kp278

USC claim 4 month old bag does not have manufacturing defect

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Hi all

 

I bought my daughter a Firetrap school bag from USC for £23. It is 4 months old and the straps are failing. The store manager at USC claim this is fair wear and tear. I wrote to customer services and they are sticking by the store manager. I’ll attach some photos - is it fair wear and tear?

 

Thanks, Kristian

0B030814-316E-4A1F-9F4F-7D244A7F8C90.jpeg

9A713291-9393-4F16-B6A0-27565C7237B1.jpeg

Edited by dx100uk
merge

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Yes I agree, it looks rubbish but for £23, what else do you expect? However, you would expect the bank to last for a reasonable period of time and I would have expected at least a school year.

 

Are there any signs that may be has been knocked around, dragged around, swung by the straps and use for hitting people?? Et cetera et cetera? I suppose that they could say that it has been used for carrying loads which are too heavy for it.

 

Is it advertised as a school bag? Where did you get it?

 

Finally, for £23 – what are you prepared to do about it?


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Twitter, Facebook and similar work wonders when you have a good public moan

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I think for £23 I would expect it to last a school year. Here is the item on their site

 

https://www.usc.co.uk/firetrap-luxe-backpack-ladies-715318?colcode=71531803

 

It seems to have a standard price of £45 (I'd be surprised if it ever sold for that)

 

The rest of the bag is in A1 condition. I sent a picture of the front to customer services with the damage pictures to illustrate the fact the bag has been well looked after.

 

The manager did say maybe the items placed in it were too heavy, but too heavy is relative. My daughter is 11, I wager too heavy and she wouldn't be able to lift the bag.

 

No not advertised as a school bag.

 

I'm quite stubborn so happy to write a couple of letters, ask them to prove the item was not sold with a fault, that sort of thing.

 

I'm hoping to garner opinion on whether this could be classed as fair wear and tear before I pursue further.

 

Thanks

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

Twitter, Facebook and similar work wonders when you have a good public moan

 

keeping that in my back pocket... :)

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thinking maybe something straightforward back to customer service:

 

I am not happy with the response. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods should be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. My rights have been breached because the item you sold me is faulty. I would like a refund. As you may be aware, the onus is on the seller to prove the item was not faulty at the time of purchase. Please can you advise how you intend to demonstrate this. I look forward to hearing from you by....

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Well in that case you should point out that you are asserting your right to demand a repair or a refund as the defect has occur within the first six months. These rights are granted under the consumer rights act.

 

You may as well put them on notice – but unless you can give them a scare on Facebook or elsewhere, you will have to bring a legal action – which you stand a very high chance of winning – unless they can be bothered to start producing evidence that the bag has been abused. I can't imagine that they would think that the argument is worth it.


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thanks, email sent

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they responded, not quite sure what that first line means, but think they misunderstood what i was saying. anyway here it is:

 

 

This would determine a manufacturing fault if the item was sold to you as faulty, the item does not have a manufacturing fault.

 

You are welcome to obtain an independent inspection if you wish, however, we will not be over riding the stores decision and agree with their findings.

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I sent a basic, to-the-point reply:

 

As I said in my previous email the onus is on the retailer to prove the item was not faulty at the time of purchase, not for the consumer to prove the item was faulty. You can find this information from the citizens advice bureau or trading standards. You will need to prove that the fault was caused by my daughter. Please advise how you intend to demonstrate this.

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angle #2 - twitter

 

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Latest response from customer services, maybe I'm not speaking to the right people:

 

 

The store have advised you of why this is, the fault is due to wear and tear of the item and is not a manufacturing fault.

 

The item has been used by you for over 5 months and therefore the item was not sold to you faulty and after inspection, is confirmed to not be of manufacturing fault.

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angle #3 - email to ceo office

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I'm afraid that this is all entirely predictable. At the end of the day, they are banking on the fact that you will not be bothered to take court action for this kind of money. If you take a court action then you will effectively be banking on the fact that they won't think it's worthwhile defending. My money is on you. However you have to do be bothered to take the court action.


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if this is too long, basically i sent it in, they checked it over, they agreed with the store again, they sent it back, now i'm onto letter before action - as you suspected would happen

 

 

 

ok so i got hold of someone in customer services who asked for the bag to be sent in.

 

their response is, predictably:

 

I would like to confirm that I have now inspected your backpack and it is our belief that the issue is due to natural wear and tear and not an inherent manufacturing fault.

 

I will today return your backpack to you at our cost.

 

Please accept my sincere apologies for any disappointment caused.

 

to which i replied:

 

For a bag to suffer from natural wear and tear to the point of ripping in multiple places after only four months of use would surely suggest it was not of satisfactory quality nor fit for it's intended purpose?!?!
 
The Consumer Rights Act states:
 

(3)The quality of goods includes their state and condition; and the following aspects (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

 

(a)fitness for all the purposes for which goods of that kind are usually supplied;

 

(b)appearance and finish;

 

(c)freedom from minor defects;

 

(d)safety;

 

(e)durability.

 

 

I would suggest the bag has been used in line with part 3a but that it has failed under part 3e and arguably part 3c.

 

Please reconsider your position on this. I would much prefer to avoid drawing this issue out any longer and do not relish the pursuit for costs should we be unable to reach an agreement without further action.

 

fast forward three days later i received the bag back and no reply.

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how did you pay for it?

 

dx


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Posted (edited)

Visa debit

Edited by kp278

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can i put anything in the LBA about seeking any costs at this stage, for the amount of effort in trying to resolve?

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go do a chargeback then.

to your bank.

costs in small claims are very limited.

dx


PLEASE DONT HIT QUOTE IF THE LAST POST IS THE ONE YOU ARE REPLYING TOO.

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On the phone to Lloyds now, they are saying because it wasn't faulty when I received it they cant open a case. They've cottoned onto the 'wear & tear' aspect of it.

I'm trying to push the "failed within six months the retailer has to prove it wasn't faulty" and "it wasn't visibly faulty, but it failed prematurely so it must have been faulty" angle

 

ok we got past that i think, but now stuck at the 120 day limit thing. Lloyds are saying its been over 120 days since the transaction, I'm saying the clock starts from when the fault was discovered. Struggling to find anything concrete on the interweb

 

No go on the chargeback. Lloyds asked how could it be proven my daughter hadn't damaged the ruck sack, by swinging it around for example. I pushed the 6 month upto retailer to prove angle, but no.

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as usual LLoyds needs educating on WHAT the chargeback rules actually ARE:

you have a total of 540 days to initiate the chargeback

the 120 days days starts when you realise you have a chargeback situation.

 

go educate them properly.

 

 


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WE CAN'T GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU SEND ME A LINK TO YOUR THREAD - I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER HELP THERE

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I think they were educated sufficiently on the 120 day rule, but the sticking point in the end was how it could be proven my daughter didn't damage the ruck sack herself. I got a reference number from them in case I can take it further.

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one problem is what is "fair" when it come to wear and tear. It is a school bag after all So what does the manufacturer say about how it tests the bags to determine a normal life cycle for normal waer and tear?

They arent going to answer that becasue in all liklihood they dont know.

 

If you knew exactly what materails the bag is made of and what the stitching material is I could work out a rough fatigue failure cycle is but you have the problem of what load was the bag subjected to  on average, as a peak load and what dynamics the bag went through ( ie being swung around to chuck it on ones back).

However, once you have badgered the manufacturer/retailer for the details of the materials and ask about the testing done they may well decide that you are a member of the awkward squad and do something as a GOGW.

get back onto them and demand to know about the testing and whether it conforms to ISO 9000 quality control standards (amongst others) and can you have a copy of the paperwork

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Isn't whether it was fair wear and tear pretty irrelevant, and a bit of red herring?  Surely it matters whether purchasing a backpack for £23 could be reasonably expected to last longer than four months before fear wear and tear kicked in.  I think they're sending you off on a tangent by arguing that point because the real question is what is reasonable.  Whether it had a manufacturing fault or not is pretty irrelevant as well because it's still their responsibility to repair or replace.

 

Also, with the bank (from my experience), leave out any details.  Unfortunately debit card chargeback is set up to work against honesty because it's not as easy as doing it with a credit card.  I would speak to them again and just state you want a VISA chargeback carried out for £23 against xyz because you bought an item, it was not fit for purpose, and the retailer are refusing a refund.  The details are pretty irrelevant to the bank as they are a third party and don't hold any interest - Unfortunately you get a lot of bank employees that 1. don't know the rules and assume they know more than your average caller, and 2. will try to act as adjudicator/mediator in these scenarios.

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If you buy something and overload it then you cant say it has a manufacturing fault. knowing what the material is and what stresses and strains it has been subjected to will determine whether it wasnt up to scratch. Now as I said, the retailer wont ahve a clue about this and the manufacturer probably hasnt tested their bags to destruction or used a suitable quality control systemt to get out of this argument whenh it is presented.

 

you cant claim that a new car had a manufacturing defect because it didnt work after you drove it into a wall so if the bag has been used in a way that wasnt identified by the maker as " normal" then you have to do the running. Once you start to show that you have some numbers and they dont then they have nothing to argue in court so will want to avoid going there at almost all costs. It is basicaly telling them you have a big stick without actually having to beat them with it.

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Oddly enough I took a look at my daughters bag

IMG-20190518-170157.jpg

 

I don't think theyre made to last anymore 

 


Please note:

 

  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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