Comet, the Sale of Goods Act, a Cooker, some frustration
Hits 25535 | Created 2008-04-18 | Modified 2008-04-24We bought a cooker just over 12 months ago from Comet, a DeLongi, gas hob, 2 x electric ovens. Within a month or so, the left-hand themostat broke, heating it up to 200oC+ no matter what temperature was selected. That time it was fixed for free, so what happens just after the magical 12 months expires?
So, the right-hand-oven develops the same fault, and it's just over 12 months since we bought it...
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sale of Goods Act
• Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract". This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.
• Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description.
• It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.
Basically, goods, especially 'white goods' should last as long as they would be expected to without breaking down.
"An item only needs to last as long as it is reasonable to expect it to, taking into account all the factors."
So, a thermostat should last longer than one year, on a cooker that cost almost £500? I think so... I really think so.
In the shop they have the attitude that if it's longer than one year, and you didn't buy an 'extended warranty' then you're out of luck and must pay:
1. A call out fee to inspect your goods
2. Labour after that
3. Parts after that
After I started to mention rights they change their tune and say that parts 'might' be covered, and that labour would have to be worked out 'at the time of the call out'.
They said they couldn't do anything unless I paid £30 call-out / inspection fee there and then. Not knowing any better, I pay and walk away, calling my sister who works in this area.
She tells me that the company (Comet) should be responsible for repair / replacement, and that I shouldn't have to pay anything. I go home and read up on the Act, then call them back.
I speak to a 'supervisor' (they say there are no managers on site...) called Laura Trotter who tells me that:
1. Yes, she can refund the £30
2. But that will mean cancelling the visit
3. Unless I pay £30, nothing will happen, and I can write to head office if that makes me happy
She says that even if the cooker is at fault, and the part is major one, and it should last longer than 12 and a bit months, I would still have to pay the fee, which is non-refundable, and that even then she couldn't promise that I wouldn't be charged labour on the day.
I say I'll check my rights and get back to her.
I have just sent a nice email to my Local Trading Standards Office with the details, to see what they say. Next stop, Citizen's Advice.
I'm a bit depressed, as Comet is so huge that I'm sure they'll just give me the run-around, though I reckon I would win if I went to small claims court.
From reading up, it looks like I could get it repaired myself, at a reasonable price, then claim it back through the courts. Not an option I want to pursue!
Updates as they happen....
23rd April 2006
Got an email from Consumer Direct today:
Thank you for your enquiry to Consumer Direct dated 21/04/08 Your reference number for this case is XX-999999 be quoted in all further correspondence regarding this case.
Based on the information supplied within your email the key facts of the case appear to be as follows:
Your cooker recently became faulty; as it is over 1 year old Comet have refused to help.
Under the SALE OF GOODS ACT 1979 (AS AMENDED) all goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must be of a satisfactory quality, fit for their purpose, and as described. If this is not the case, then you may seek repair, replacement or some form of refund as appropriate. Your rights against the trader last up to 6 years, depending on how long a reasonable person would expect the goods to last. Under the Sale of Goods Act, any faults which occur within the first 6 months are assumed to have been present at the time of sale, and have only just become apparent. After 6 months, the 'burden of proof' is on the consumer to prove that the fault is not due to neglect, misuse or fair wear & tear. The trader may ask you to have the goods inspected to confirm the fault is due to manufacture. If you incur costs as a result of this you can claim these costs back.
As such you can pursue Comet for free repairs or a replacement; or a partial refund (taking into account usage). We would advise that you discuss this once more with Comet - specifically, insist on speaking to the manager, make it clear that you have reported this matter to us, you have been made aware of your rights and, if the trader is insistent that they will not repair at no cost to yourself, you will seek further advice.
If you do not receive a satisfactory response, or if you require any further advice or information about this case, please do not hesitate to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. Do not reply to this email, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, as this address is for outbound mail only, and is unmonitored.
Thank you for your enquiry.
Consumer Direct Northwest
24rd April 2006
Well, well, well. I called Comet as advised and very calmly told them what Consumer Direct has told me. There was a transfer to a supervisor, who listened to the same thing, and then said, 'So, you've been in touch with Consumer Direct and they told you that this should be free?'.
'Yes,' I say.
'Okay then,' they say, 'that will be free, when would you like the engineer to call?'
Brilliant! Thanks Consumer Direct!
On a sour note, it's terrible that a big company acts like this, obviously to make cash, as most people won't bother to go this far. Boo hiss Comet, play fair! This makes a mockery of their 'extended warranty' that they sell to people, as you are covered for most failures anyway
under this act!