Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.
Q I bought a TV from John Lewis in 2008 mainly because it had a five-year guarantee. Last summer I started to have problems with it so an engineer was called out to investigate. From then on I’ve been transferred from pillar to post as the customer services department can’t seem to make up its mind what to do. Can you help please?
A I have so few reader problems with the John Lewis group of companies that your experience jumped off the page.
You had been left kicking around for five months without your TV working properly. When you claimed under the guarantee one engineer after the other called, agreed there was a problem and finally recommended the TV should be replaced.
After speaking to John Lewis, they immediately agreed that the matter had been handled badly and was not up to their usual high standards. As you would expect from one of the nation’s top stores they immediately swung into action to put things right.
Within 24 hours they had made contact with you and obtained your agreement to accept a choice of a brand new replacement TV.
The credit is all down to John Lewis which immediately held up its corporate hands, fully admitting on this occasion it’d got it wrong.
Q I really hope you can help. I bought a Graco Fusio Travel System in May 2011 from Toys R Us for an on offer price of £300. Graco advertises it as suitable for a child up to three years old. Since my son was six months old he has been really squashed in it. Now he is nine months old he has to have the harness at its loosest to allow him to sit forward right on the edge of the seat as he is too big to sit back in it. Toys R Us is being unhelpful.
A Before you can take this matter further I think you need to be clear what the problem is.
Is it a problem with the product itself, or does your complaint boil down to the description applied to it by the store or the manufacturer?
If the manufacturer claims its travel system as being suitable for toddlers and children up to three years old, then it has applied a description to it which it must be able to justify.
If specific factual claims are made for the product which turn out to be misleading or false, then the buyer has a right to a refund from the seller.
It may also be a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, to apply a false trade description to goods.
I suggest you talk to the manager of the Toys R Us store and point out that you only bought the product from the company because of the ‘up to 3 years’ description.
If you get knocked back, write or e-mail the company secretary at head office (Freepost 3362, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE 10 8BR.
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.