Out of guarantee? Know your rights!

How often does it happen... just as the guarantee on your goods has expired a fault develops, and when you return to the shop the salesman he shakes his head and says sorry, out of guarantee.

But there's no need to accept that. The guarantee, whatever the period, is only something offered by the manufacturer. Whether it's a 12 or 24 month guarantee, your legal rights actually stretch right up to 6 years after you bought the item. So don't be fobbed off with the expired guarantee excuse. And don't be diverted by the salesman stating you'll need to contact the manufacturers directly yourself. It's the retailer who has to sort things out for you.

Just to inject a bit of common sense at this point, this isn't about the plastic toy you bought at the local pound shop three years ago. Neither are we talking about the fact you've changed your mind over the shade of lamp bought last year. You can only claim some time after purchase for goods you can have a reasonable expectation would last that long, and your claim must be reasonable.

How about an example? I bought a Pashley Roadster Sovereign classic bicycle, worth all of £600. After 14 months the hub gear started to play up again... Halfords had already fixed a problem once. But when I returned I got the classic 'out of guarantee' excuse. A trusted cycle repairer in Cambridge told me Pashley were economising on parts and there had been lots of problems with the hub gear fitted to the bike.

Emails to Halfords' head office got me no further. So I emailed Pashley directly posing as a potential purchaser concerned about the complexity of the combined hub gear and brakes. I asked what they considered the life expectancy of the part, to which they replied 'many years'. Bingo!

Even a copy of this failed to gain the required response from Halfords. Time for a County Court claim. Sounds complicated, but it's really easy to do on-line and costs as little as £25, which you get back in costs as part of your claim.

Surprisingly, Halfords failed to respond to my claim, and also failed to pay the costs of a similar replacement hub gear and court costs within the court deadline. The next option was to send in the bailiffs... again, sounds complicated but is really easy. Just fill in a form, and although the cost is at least £100 this again becomes part of your claim and when successful you get the money back. No surprise this time when Halfords were falling over themselves to pay up!

Of course you need to be sure of your case. No matter how obvious it seems to you, unless you can provide proof to back up your arguments it's probably best to accept defeat if a letter to head office doesn't do the job. 

To get evidence do what I did... email the manufacturer's head office sales department asking about the reliability and longevity of their product. Are they really going to tell you it's unlikely to last more than 12 months? Also email the retailer's head office, and maybe a competitor as well. Armed with possibly three ringing endorsements for the product it would be a silly retailer who allowed you to put in a County Court claim with costs.

The legislation involved is the Sale of Goods Act 1979

There are some useful template letters on the website for BBC's One Show

And you to get advice and make your on-line claim click Make a Court Claim for Money

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...