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Is it the consumers fault if products are poorly made?


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I work for an independant white goods retailer. I have also worked for chain stores such as comet, as well as smaller convenience stores like Alldays.


Over the years I have noticed a drop in the quality of the goods I sell, most noticable in items such as washing machines and cookers. Hoover machines being built cheaper by Candy, Bosch no longer building washers in Germany, AEG moving out of Germany in favour of cheaper Polish(?)factories etc.... Vacuum cleaners that last less than 24 months, cookers being built out of tin with bricks in the back to weigh them down....and so on.....


Who is to blame?


If a customer comes to me wanting a vacuum cleaner for £80, they can buy from a selection of Electrolux, Panasonic and Hoovers. If they ask how long to expect them to last, what do I say? 'About 2 years.' So they buy one and in 2 years they replace it. It's the same with washing machines. A customer buys a cheap Turkish built machine for £180. Within 3 years they have to replace it. They do so happy in the knowledge it was only a cheap machine anyway. Is this right?


I know that under the sale of goods a customer can claim some of the cost of repair/replacement up to 5 years of age. I know they are entitled to this and if they ask, no matter how compex the procedure to get this money, they will get it. But they don't ask. They re-purchase with no complaint.


How then are manufactures that produce inferior goods ever going to realise how unreliable they are if people do not put pressure on them to cough up when things go wrong? All the time they can build poor quality products and not be held accountable when they fail they will continue to manufacture in the cheapest factories, using the cheapest labour with the cheapest materials whilst making the biggest profit.


So whose fault is it that the products we buy don't last? The retailer, the consumer or the manufacturer?


I personally feel it the responsibility of the consumer to report any fault within 5 years to the retailer who must take action against the manufacturer to re-imburse costs, only this way will the big companies start to realise that as consumers we want better quality products on the high street.

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Agreed that a £50 product is not expected to last as long as one costing 10x as much, but I have seen people buying new products for £100 to replace ones less than 2 years and at times even less than 1 year. Is it right that we should expect to have to replace a machine costong £80 to £100 in less than 2 years? I don't think so, regardless of how a court may view it!

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The statute of limitation is six years, beginning on the date of purchase and not when the fault is discovered - this is because the consumer will need to prove that the fault was inherent in the product when it was purchased.


Therefore there is a potential claim against the retailer under the Sale of Goods Act for up to six years from purchase.


The SoGA does NOT, however, cover faults attributable to normal wear and tear, so it does depend on the product and what you would reasonably expect.


For example, you would not expect a £1000 TV to last only two years, but if it was a £20 kettle you'd probably shrug and go and buy another one.


Ultimately only a court can decide in the event of any dispute.

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

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i am glad someone brought this up.....lol

I have a Hotpoint washing machine that started making loads of noise after 1 month. Hotpoint sent out an engineer, who told me it was "cheap rubbish" since Hotpoint was bought out. He tightened everything and it got a bit quieter until 13 months old. Now we have to shut kitchen door and turn up TV or it is too loud to use....

We also have found the rubber seal on the drum is impregnated with mildew...we cleaned as per instruction book, but hotpoint now say it needs cleaning 12 times a year, not the 3 times their manual says...

I tried to discuss with the retailer, but they deny that they have 6 years from purchase to repair the machine....

Tried consumer direct....may as well have asked my local GP what to do as they couldn't help....lol

Any idea's where to go now???

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I'm amazed that Consumer Direct didn't advise you on the Sale of Goods Act and if there is a fault with the machine and this is not attributable to normal wear and tear, you should be entitled to a repair or a like-for-like replacement machine from the retailer. This is a bread and butter complaint for them.

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

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My friends laptop £900 broke after 2yrs 2 months the screen is blank doesn't show anything! qouted £300 for repair contact Sony and they said it is of satisfactory quality and has lasted a reasonable time.


They suggested I get it repaired... can't believe it! shall I give them one last chance or statt court on their ass?

Help me to help others!

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You won't have any rights against Sony but you may be able to argue with the retailer that the goods were not of satisfactory quality and therefore you should have it repaired. However ultimately you would need to prove this and that the fault is not simply normal wear and tear.

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

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You will have to test the quality of the item against the legal provision.

Here is how I would put it to the courts:-

Would a reasonable consumer expect to have to pay out £300 every 2 yrs to keep his new laptop computer working?


Here is another test which gets to the same point:-


Would Sony or the suppliers agree that all Laptops of that make would normally require a screen repair costing £300 every two years and would they be prepared to advertise it as such.

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Thank you for your letter dated 27th March. I would like to point out I have contacted Sony at all levels in store, head office and now the administration office.


I have paid £899.99 for a laptop computer which within 2 years 2 months now needs £300.00 of repairs. Would you agree that all Vaio laptops would normally require a screen repair costing £300.00 every two years and would you be prepare to advertise this as such.


I would appreciate a reply within 14 days.





Thanks Bankfodder will keep you posted


Help me to help others!

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Fancy dealing with the supplier of my washing machine for me.....lol

All I got was, "there's no such thing as consumer rights for 6 years", "What idiot told you that?"...

So I told them that Trading standards did.....

They put the phone down on me......

I feel a letter is coming up......lol


Dear Tower Electrical / Hotpoint,

After purchasing a Hotpoint washing machine from Tower Electrical 18 months ago, it has become unbearably noisy yet again. It was repaired under warranty after less than 3 months of use by Hotpoint. The fault has re-appeared for a second time within 1 year of the original repair.

I have also Found the washing machine has black mould growing on all the internal rubber seals. The manufacturer recommended a 90 degree wash cycle 3 times a year to stop this problem. Yet Hotpoint now recommend a 90 degree wash 12 times a year.

Why is it that neither Hotpoint or Tower Electrical concidered warning customers of this change in recommendations?


As I explained on the telephone, I am asthmatic and allergic to mould!

And as Hotpoint and Tower Electrical have now told me that this is normal, why do you not warn asthmatics that your products can be hazardous to their health?

So far this year I have been admitted to hospital 3 times for serious asthma attacks, after nearly 6 years without being admitted once!


I require Tower electrical to arrange for the repair of the washing machine after I paid £379.90 for it on 26/10/2005.


I do not believe that after 18 months I should need to replace this item!

Would Hotpoint or Tower Electrical agree that all Washing Machines of this make would normally require a new set of rubber seals and repeated repairs every 18 months and would they be prepared to advertise it as such?


I look forward to your prompt response!

Yours Sincerely


Russell *******


What do you think??.....

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Knock in something about the Sale of Goods Act, "Under the SoGA you are required to offer a repair, or failing that, a suitable replacement," etc. Just to remind them that they are dealing with a legal requirement here.


Click the scales if I've been useful! :)

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