Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.
Q I regularly read your column and find the information very useful, so perhaps you can help me decide whether Tesco are giving me a square deal. A TV I bought from them costing £450 packed up and was declared irreparable after only 21 months’ use. They have offered £180 for the TV and £20 compensation. Considering a TV should last longer than six years is this a good deal?
A Modern TVs should certainly be sufficiently reliable to last in excess of six years plus, so there’s no argument that if it fails prematurely it is not within the six-year contract limitation period.
To be on the safe side, I prefer to use the insurance industry norm for TV durability, which is only five years. It follows that if you’d taken out a ‘warranty plan’ with Tesco when you bought the TV, the cover period would have been the standard five years.
That means your TV is depreciating at a rate of £7.50 per month so after 21 months’ use it lost £161 in depreciation value.
It’s therefore not difficult to calculate that when it packed up at 21.5 months, the residual value left in the TV was almost £289.
On that basis I am of the view Tesco’s compensation offer is not a particularly generous.
I suggest you tell them that the offer for the TV is on the stingy side, and you’ll settle for £230 or thereabouts as being a more generous realistic figure.
Alternatively, forget the compensation element and go for the full depreciation value of £288.75.
Q My boiler started playing up recently and a British Gas engineer said it needed a new pump. The boiler is about 10 years old and the engineer told me the part was not available. The boiler would need replacing. I checked with the manufacturer who said they had spare pumps for my boiler. Is this a con?
JW (e mail)
A Well, to be charitable it could just have been a genuine mistake. You did exactly the right thing, stalled the engineer, and checked out the spare parts situation for yourself.
Your astuteness has saved you a lot of money.
You wanted other readers to be warned. Consider it done.
Q I bought a top from Primark in Commercial Road, and as soon as I got it home I decided I didn’t like it. Am I within my rights to take it back and ask for a refund?
MN (e mail)
A The short answer is you don’t have a legal right to a refund.
That’s why it’s important not to buy clothing on impulse, but think about whether you need it or will wear it.
By all means take it back to Primark, and ask about their returns policy.
Many top shops will take back unwanted purchases if you take them back promptly, so it’s worth a try.
Richard Thomson is a former trading standards officer with many years experience. If you have a question, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and wherever possible he will try to provide practical assistance. Unfortunately he cannot guarantee to respond to every letter or e-mail. Richard Thomson welcomes letters from readers on consumer issues. Replies are intended to give general help or advice, not a complete statement of law.