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Faulty mechanism on expensive glass table.


furndire
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I am hoping someone can advise what to do next. About 8 weeks ago, I purchased a table for my son as a gift it cost £760! - I have a business and an account with the company, so was able to get the trade price. We took the table to my sons, but found that when we extended it, it would not go back down again.

They did not have another table in stock, so said we would wait until they had another. However, today, they were supposed to be ringing before they arrrived at the house with the new table - they didn't. The company are saying that a transit screw hadn't been unscrewed before the table had been opened up, and this has broken the mechanism. The screw has apparently made a scratch on the table underneath. There was nothing in the instructions that came with the table about a transit screw. At the moment they are refusing to change the table top, can you tell me where I stand. I also paid for the table with a visa, if that makes any difference.

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First thing, you need to establish if this is a business or consumer transaction. If it's business to business, the seller can limit their liability under the Sale of Goods Act in certain ways. Also, the additional protection under the Consumer Credit Act may be affected.

 

Did the seller know that you were buying it as a personal item and not as a business sale?

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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OK, the first thing is to have a look at the seller's terms and conditions to see whether they include any terms designed to limit their liability under the Sale of Goods Act.

 

If they do, I'd need to see these terms to see whether they are reasonable or not.

 

In a business sale, it is actually possible for a business to include in the terms and conditions those which will affect their liability under the Sale of Goods Act, as long as it is not classed as unreasonable to do so.

 

If there's no mention of any terms such as this, I would continue to advise you that the table was not fit for its purpose as it did not come with any instructions on how to construct or use it. Therefore you can reject it under the Sale of Goods Act and claim a refund, or a replacement if you would prefer.

 

Do check the terms and conditions first though (either given at point of sale or perhaps when you joined as a member), and if there's anything suspicious then post it up for a look.

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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Okay.

 

Just to clarify the above a little bit, the ability of traders to use exclusion clauses and thus limit their liability under the Sale of Goods Act is governed by the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

 

Any such terms used must be subject to what's known as "the test of reasonableness". This looks at whether the exclusion clauses can be shown to be fair and reasonable and ultimately it's down to the trader to prove that it's reasonable.

 

A trader cannot exclude a consumer's statutory rights but when dealing with another business they may be permitted to use an exclusion clause provided it can be shown to be fair and reasonable.

 

To be honest I would be surprised if any term limiting their liability in this case would be classed as fair, but I wanted to check what was there so you know what you're dealing with and how to "attack" them!

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Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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Thats a great reply, my dil is a solicitor, so will be no problem so long as we know what to look for. She is in another branch of the law, but will no doubt have colleagues who will put her right. Lluckily she kept the "instructions" leaflet, such as it is, and there is no where on there explaining what to do when assembling table. I'll let you know how we get on.

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