CONSUMER: Couple in four-month battle to claim refund for faulty washing machine
A furious Portsmouth couple spent four months battling with Currys/PC World trying to obtain a refund for a faulty Â£430 washing machine that went on the blink just days after they bought it.
Fred and Sharon Bright slammed the firm’s management at the Burrfields Road store, who they claim refused to acknowledge their right to a refund and ignored their protests when the appliance refused to work properly.
Fred said their battle with the national electrical chain all started when they decided to replace their original washing machine which was on its way out.
‘We looked around on the internet,’ he said, ‘but we couldn’t see anything on there that might be right for us, so we went to Currys.
‘We saw a Samsung machine that took our fancy and we explained to a salesman that because there were only two of us we needed to know if it was suitable for our needs.
‘We asked if it would be okay for washing a duvet and small loads, and we were assured the £430 appliance was a fantastic, all-singing, all-dancing model so we were sold on it.
‘But when it was delivered there was no instruction book and when we went to use it things started to go wrong.
‘It didn’t like our small loads and kept shaking. Cracks appeared in the door ring, it missed washing cycles and just wouldn’t work properly.
‘We got in touch with Currys and they insisted on sending out a Samsung engineer. He immediately told us the machine needed a new door and wasn’t really suitable for our needs.
‘It just wouldn’t wash the minimal loads we most frequently wanted to do and would only run certain ‘family’ type programmes which were no use to us at all.’
A disappointed Sharon, 59, went back to the store to complain about what she asserted was a mis-sold duff machine and asked for a refund.
But customer care appeared a bit thin on the ground when she was confronted by a member of staff who insisted there was nothing wrong with it and a refund wasn’t remotely on the cards.
Sharon refused to get in a spin and stood her ground, despite store staff laying down the law claiming the cut-off date for refunds was 28 days after purchase. Her request was a day too late so she could go whistle.
However, the row intensified when she was abruptly invited to leave the store.
Sharon claimed Currys staff verbally abused her, point blank asserting she wasn’t getting her money back, and didn’t know what she was talking about.
With customer relations clearly at an all-time low, Fred vowed to take the matter up further with senior management.
August drifted into September, but despite the firm issuing him with a case number, chasing them up proved to be abortive.
When yet another month slipped by without any resolution, Fred was at the end of his tether.
The useless machine was sat in their kitchen staring at them like a white elephant. The very last thing the couple could afford was to throw £430 down the drain.
Fred asked a friend if he could help by putting an email together to the firm’s legal team emphasising they were riding roughshod over the couple’s statutory rights. A refund and apology were long overdue.
But when another month slipped by, he called in Streetwise to ask if we could bring the matter to a speedy conclusion.
We got in touch with Currys public relations people and expressed surprise that the couple appeared to have been handed a raw deal.
Complaints about the firm by News readers had slumped by more than 20 per cent in 2017 which, considering their turnover in electrical goods, was greatly to their credit.
We admitted being somewhat puzzled by the involvement of an engineer so soon after the Brights’ complaint. Their spanking new home laundry appliance was riddled with faults.
We pointed out that the law was changed in 2015 when the Consumer Rights Act gave buyers 30 days to report defects with merchandise.
Store management were clearly in breach of the law by insisting the period was only 28 days.
The correct legal remedy in such circumstances was a full refund of the purchase price. An engineer call-out just weeks after the Brights bought it wasn’t appropriate.
Following our intervention, Fred told us their 16-week battle with Currys to uplift the machine for a full refund was finally over.
Currys had phoned him to arrange collection of the washer and confirmed a full refund cheque was on its way.
A spokesperson told us they’d checked the status of Fred’s complaint and confirmed it had been sorted.
A relieved and grateful Sharon said they could now move on and look for another replacement machine.
‘We both just can’t thank you enough for your help,’ she said.