Modern televisions have become so reliable, they’ve quickly become a part of the lounge furniture.
It’s now so rare they pack up after a few years, the usual reason for taking them to the tip is because they’re well past their sell-by date.
The latest smart TVs can do almost everything apart from making tea and pulling the curtains, a fact which persuaded Brian Smith, a 54-year-old wholesaler from Denmead, it was time for an upgrade.
In October 2012 a 42-inch LG all-singing all-dancing TV caught his eye in Currys Burrfields Road store, and it wasn’t long before Brian was £499 lighter in the bank balance.
All went well until the following January, when just three months out of LG’s one-year guarantee, Brian started to get trouble with the picture suddenly dropping out, leaving him with the sound but staring at a blank screen.
Switching it off then on would restore the picture, but within hours it would disappear again for no apparent reason.
He first thought was to contact LG. They told him to check all the connection leads. When that literally drew a blank, LG confirmed their guarantee had run out and he’d have to look to Currys to get the TV fixed.
As they hadn’t sold Brian the TV they were well within their rights to play pass the parcel.
Currys gave him the same out-of-guarantee story, and told him it would cost £85 to have the TV looked at, plus the cost of any parts that were needed to sort the problem out.
Annoyed and not best pleased that his wonder TV had only lasted 15 months before a serious defect developed, he told Currys customer care team in no uncertain terms what he thought about it.
Unmoved they stuck to their guns, but before he went to the store to complain and give the manager a piece of his mind he decided to call Streetwise to confirm where he stood and ask for a bit of help and advice.
We realised that if we simply told him Currys were in breach of contract for selling a TV that wasn’t reasonably durable, the chances were he’d get the very same dismissive line of patter from the store manager.
We spoke to the Dixons Retail Group head office and put it to them that Brian had a genuine complaint that needed to be taken seriously.
We agreed with them they had a right to examine the TV to find out what was wrong with it, and satisfy themselves it hadn’t been misused. In return we stressed that his entitlement to a TV free from major defects didn’t end the moment LG’s guarantee ran out.
A Currys spokesperson told us: ‘We were sorry to hear about Mr Smith’s issue with his out-of-warranty TV. Considering the age of the unit, we are happy on this occasion to organise a free assessment and if a manufacturing fault is confirmed then we will cover the cost of any repair.’
Within 24 hours, Brian received a very helpful and sympathetic call from Currys ‘Knowhow’ team. They agreed to collect the TV, repair it and return it free of charge.
When he got it back a week or so later he discovered from the Currys work docket that he’d been spared the £209 cost of replacing the TV’s LED screen.
A delighted Brian was grateful that Streetwise had come up trumps and quickly helped him to get his uninterrupted TV viewing back on track.
He said: ‘Thank you for taking up my case and for all that you’ve done. I’m sure without your help I’d have just got the same response from Currys which was it’s out of guarantee and we can’t help.’