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Hi Everyone, I’m looking for some guidance as to what I should do next.

 

I ordered two sofas online from DFS using their Hitachi finance 4 year offer and after 15 weeks they arrived on the 26 th September but one is damaged internally as it creaks and cracks when sat on. I called them the next day  and they said it will have to be repaired and I would have to wait a month for their engineer to come as they’re busy!  

 

At this point I decided to reject the sofas under the 14 day Consumer Rights Act 2015. I’ve also reported this to Hitachi Finance quoting section 75 and pointed out that they are equally responsible in sorting the matter out.

 

After sending emails and receiving 5 calls from DFS insisting on an engineers repair visit they’re now ignoring me. I also sent an email to their CEO but have had no reply.

 

it just seems like they do not acknowledge the consumer acts at all. I’ve not paid anything yet as Hitachi have put a two month hold on the agreement while they investigate but they say they cannot confirm the outcome of my rejection?

 

We are using one of the sofas as we have nothing else to sit on but I’m unsure if this is ok. I thought that this should be straight forward !


Thank you in advance of any advice given.

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I'm a bit amazed that they are ignoring you completely. You've done everything right – certainly in terms of the defects in respect of which you have 30 days to reject the item and insist on a refund.

You have said that you have given them 14 days – but that is a completely different set of regulations and applies to online sales regardless of defects but only if the items have not been customised for you in some way. You haven't told us whether these sofas are standard or they have been altered or made-to-measure.

However that is irrelevant because if a material defect manifest itself within the first 30 days then you are entitled to reject the goods.

This if you are satisfied they've done everything that you can to bring this to the notice then I think that your next step is to send them a letter of claim telling them that unless they accept your rejection and make arrangements to remove the sofas within 14 days that you will issue a claim in the County Court and without any further notice.

I think also it would be reasonable to tell them that if they don't remove the sofas within the next seven days that you will start to levy a storage charge of, say, £7.50 per day. That seems to me to be a reasonable storage charge for two sofas which presumably are taking up a lot of space in your home and also prevent replacement sofas being brought into your home in their place.

Make sure that all of your messages are sent to them by email and also by recorded delivery. You need to keep a very solid paper trail.

If you decide to send the letter of claim then post the draft up here for us to have a look at. There is no reason why you shouldn't get the letter of claim out of the door by Wednesday morning.

Once you have sent them a letter of claim then you should register on the money claim County Court website and start preparing your claim. You can save your work as you go. You have to file a particulars of claim and I suggest that you post up a draft here so we can have a look.

The important thing is that once you have issued your threat then you must follow through and you must click off your claim on day 15. If you falter then you will lose credibility and you will hand control back to the company

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Thanks for the prompt reply,

 

can I ask as Hitachi are also involved and have equal liability do I just send the letter of claim to DFS or both?

Hitachi at present have only responded to say their enquiries can take up to 8 weeks.

 

Also, as I’ve not actually paid anything yet am I completing the letter of claim to just request return of the sofas, the storage charge and any possible court costs? Sorry if my question sounds daft I just want to word the letter correctly.

 

Forgot to ask is it reasonable for us to use the sofas whilst this claim is in motion, we really don’t have anything other than dining room chairs to sit on which after a while gets really uncomfortable.

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I am assuming that this is not hire purchase. In that case DFS is directly responsible and I would resort to Hitachi only if DFS went into liquidation or some other catastrophe.

DFS is a much easier target. Hitachi is very big, subject to regulation and they will try to control things by, for instance, claiming that they don't have to do anything for eight weeks – as you have already found.

The thing to do here is to act swiftly and assertively and DFS is a much easier target. However I would keep Hitachi in the loop by copying them into everything that you sent to DFS

You say that you haven't paid anything. Not even a deposit? They have let you have the sofas without even a down payment?

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Yes, no deposit. I could have paid for them but they were offering the 4 year interest free terms so I chose this as I realised that it provided some sort of additional consumer protection.

I tend to always use my credit card for holidays, large purchases etc but as it was easy online to use the Hitachi scheme I thought buy it on that and pay off later.

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Okay. Strangely enough that makes it a little bit more tricky because as you haven't suffered any loss, you have nothing to sue for.
The other thing of course is that you have to unravel the agreement with Hitachi.

When Hitachi told you they wanted 8 weeks, how did they tell you? Have you been doing things on the telephone?

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I’ve just received this email from Hitachi Finance. The date of 20th October is what DFS pushed for when I first called them the day after I received the sofas. Seems they’re still pushing to get their repair man in. Should I refuse this and carry on with the letter of claim?
 

DFS have made me aware they have scheduled a visit for 20 October 2021. I appreciate you wish to reject the goods and do not want to accept a repair and so I have made this clear to them. Any claims reported do require a visit to inspect the goods before a decision/outcome can be made. 

 

This is the email Hitachi sent me after I first contacted them.
 

Thanks for getting in touch with us to raise a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. 

We've provided information below which explains how we will handle your claim, what you can expect from us and how long it takes. If you'd like a paper copy please contact us and we'll send it to you. Your claim will be looked after by a member of our Claims Team who'll be in touch shortly. 

We aim to resolve your claim as quickly as possible and we'll keep in touch to let you know what's happening. If you'd rather be contacted by telephone or letter, please let us know.

If you've a current agreement with us, you still need to make your monthly repayments in full and on time, regardless of your claim. 

If you have any questions for us in the meantime, please call 0113 380 1065  or email [email protected] 

How we will handle your claim

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we are committed to providing you with the best possible service.  We know that sometimes things can go wrong, and when they do, we want to know so we can help you put it right as quickly as possible.

How long it will take

We will try to resolve your claim quickly through a member of our Claims Team.

It may take some time to review your claim and where we need to look into it in more detail we will write to you to let you know and keep you updated with our progress until we have reached a decision.

We aim to resolve the majority of our claims within 8 weeks.

What to do if we can't reach an agreement

If after we've done everything we can to help with your claim, you're not happy with our decision or if you think we're taking too long to look into it, then you can raise a complaint

Whilst we hope this won't be necessary, a member of our Customer Care Team will independently investigate the claim review and decision, and provide you with a Final Response Letter.

 

Edited by dx100uk
date changed
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Bank Fodder,

Can you give me any further advice, your last comment was asking me about Hitachi response which I’ve copied to you. You said it might be a little more tricky but not explained why?
Should I still send a 14 day letter of claim with the storage fee that you recommended ?

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To update, today DFS sent two repair men to our house, it felt quite intimidating as they insisted that I should let them repair the sofas and it got quite heated as I kept refusing this saying that I was rejecting them. 

They did admit there’s a fault which they think that they haven’t been set up correctly but it felt like just another reason to repair.

They eventually said that as it was an online purchase I do have rights and left saying the local store manager would telephone me.

Received an email to say he will be calling me on Saturday but I’m wondering what excuse will come next. I suspect they will tell me I have to pay to have them returned.

Im sorry if I’ve made this thread too long, I feel I’ve done everything right  and I’m struggling to believe anything they say now.

 

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You were absolutely right to refuse them any access to the sofa.

 

Please stand buy for a fuller reply tomorrow

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Did you make any recording of their visit and when they told you that they agree that there was a defect?

Anyway I think it is time to write a letter of claim to DFS.

 

Quote

Dear XXX

Letter of claim – purchase reference number XXX – Finance reference – XXX

On the XXX date you supplied me with a sofa which very quickly manifested defects.
I asserted my right to reject the sofa in writing on the XXX date.

Rather than accept my rejection as you are required to do by statute, you attempted to prevaricate and put a great deal of pressure on me to accept some kind of repair.
Even though I told you that I was not an agreement, you even arranged for a visit to my home ostensibly to assess repairs.

I'm pleased to say that the person who visited my property agree with me that the sofa was defective but despite this there have still been no arrangements to remove the sofa and to cancel the agreement with yourselves and also with the finance company.

You in breach of your statutory duty and I'm proposing to sue you within 14 days unless you remove the sofa and unravel the agreement between ourselves and also inform the finance company that the contract is void on the basis that it is an ancillary contract and so that if one contract fails, the other automatically loses its validity.

Furthermore, if you do not remove the sofa within seven days of this letter then I shall start levying a storage charge of £10 per day and I shall enforce this storage charge by means of court action in the County Court.
You can take this letter as a letter of claim in respect of that storage charge as well.

I suggest that you get on with it

Yours sincerely

 

Check this letter and that you are prepared to send it or if you want to make any modifications – in which case please let us know.

Can you tell us about the finance agreement please. Was this agreement with Hitachi arranged through DFS always an independent agreement?

Please let us know this before you send the letter.

In addition to sending this letter to DFS, you will have to send a copy to Hitachi.

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Thank you for the reply, the Hitachi finance is arranged via DFS online site, you just request it and then it takes you through a digital signing process similar to a car dealership.

 

One of the calls I received about 3 weeks ago from the local DFS store was from a manager I think, he said the sofas were bespoke made which is nonsense as it’s just a main line mass produced one, he also mentioned me having to pay up to 20% of the total cost for return, all of this I have refused. I suspect this is what they might come back with on Saturday, if they do actually call that is.

 

I’m on my way to work but if you think the letter is the best route I’ll do this later today, it does look very good and yes I am prepared to send it and follow through if necessary. Really appreciate your advice.

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I have introduced an amendment – in red – obviously, take the colour out.

Yes it is absolutely essential to send this letter.

Are you recording your calls? If you aren't then you had better start. Read our customer services guide. If you are receiving these kinds of dishonest and bullying messages from them then you need to get a record of it because it will be extremely useful later on if you have to take them to court.

Send the letter which I have suggested above – straightaway by recorded delivery and also by email. Send a copy of the letter to Hitachi and standby because I shall be drafting a letter to Hitachi and posting it up here within the next half hour.

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Letter to Hitachi. Please let me know if you are happy with this letter or if you want any modifications.

Send this letter by recorded delivery and also by email. Send a copy to DFS.

 

Quote

Dear XXX

Finance agreement reference number XXX – termination of contract

This is to inform you that because of defects which have been discovered in goods supplied by DFS and financed by an agreement with yourselves under the above reference number, I have now asserted my right under the Consumer Rights Act to reject the goods and to demand a complete refund.

On this basis, the contract with DFS is void. Because your finance agreement is ancillary contract, that is also void.

I have already tried to telephone you about this and I'm concerned that you are already prevaricating.

You had better understand that my position is absolutely clear and I'm completely clear about your obligations. On the basis that you have already tried to escape your obligations, you should consider that this letter is a formal complaint and that it should go to the ombudsman.

This complaint must go to the ombudsman even if you finally agree to treat the contract as void.
I consider that your approach is bullying of people who might not know their rights and your approach is self-serving and needs to be brought to some official scrutiny in any event.

Please confirm that you are unravelling the agreement.

Please also notice that I have sent a letter of claim to DFS who are also being obstructive about this matter. If I do end up suing DFS then you can be certain that you will be named as the second defendant.

Believe me

Signed

 

So this means that DFS gets their letter in original and a copy of the Hitachi letter.
Hitachi get their letter in original and a copy of the DFS letter.

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Stand your ground. You are the customer. You have the rights on your side and DFS are renowned for this kind of treatment of their customers.

You did very well to stand your ground when they visited you. Now that you had practice you can be more confident – don't take any nonsense and come to us before you make any decisions about anything.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi BankFodder

 

I sent the letters you posted last Friday and although neither DFS or Hitachi acknowledged them an email came on Saturday from DFS to say they admitted there was a fault and that they would collect them and cancel the agreement.


On Monday Hitachi emailed to say that they were aware of this and were now cancelling the finance agreement.

 

They came today to collect them.

 

I just wanted to thank you for the guidance you gave me, the letters really did get things moving very quickly. I’m still shocked at how bad DFS were to deal with and how they try to pressure a customer away from their lawful rights.

 

We’re going to look at local independent shops for sofas rather than these large national companies who really don’t care at all about their customers.

 

Again thank you for your help, brilliant consumer forum 👍

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I'm glad is being settled. Keep an eye on the finance agreement. These things can still go wrong and make sure you are not out of pocket by a single penny.

When you go to your local independent shop – don't imagine that it will all be roses. Be vigilant, keep the paper trail, take photographs – you know the routine by now.

I'm pleased you've had a result.

If you feel that we have helped you then you could click the donation button if you wanted to.

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