People’s Champion - December 19, 2013

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

UPDATE: Man, 20, arrested after ‘suspicious object’ is found at student halls in Portsmouth city centre

Have your say

EACH week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.

Q I’ve a problem with my doctor, who appears not to have provided supportive evidence for a benefit claim, has been unable to alleviate my medical condition, and speaks to me in a condescending tone. How do I complain about it?

FH (Internet)

A Your doctor or practice manager would be the best place to start.

It’s clear the relationship between you and your doctor has broken down. I obviously can’t make any judgment about the situation apart from the fact that the tone of your mail suggests you have expectations about your treatment which by all accounts appear to be unreasonable.

First you need to understand that doctors are not miracle workers. There isn’t always a solution to every medical problem.

Secondly, GPs are under horrendous external pressure from politicians to run their practices as if they were a business, meet endless ‘performance’ targets, and cut costs. Thirdly, as the relationship between you has clearly gone so sour, you might like to consider asking your surgery about changing your doctor or the practice.

I would just like to warn you however that if what is wrong boils down to an ‘attitude’ problem, then there is no substitute for talking it through with your doctor rather than just transporting it to another GP practice.

Q I took delivery of a used dishwasher which was guaranteed by the shop I bought it from for six months. I’d only had it for a couple of weeks when it broke down. I asked for a refund but I was told as I’d signed an acceptance note when it was delivered I’d have to accept a repair. Is this right?

SS (email)

A An acceptance note has no effect on your rights at all.

The law sets out the conditions under which goods are accepted. For that to happen you must have kept them for a reasonable time and not had cause to complain they were faulty, fit for purpose, or wrongly described.

A big bone of contention is the definition of ‘reasonable time’ in section 35 of the sale of Goods Act 1979. It’s the legal equivalent of ‘how long is a piece of string’ conundrum. But as your pre-owned dishwasher falls into the expensive item category, you’re right to insist on a refund.