Retired Waterlooville publican Rob Guyatt was furious when a Currys store manager refused to exchange a faulty £899 TV he’d only bought from them a few weeks earlier.
He decided to make for the Currys Portsmouth store because he knew they showcased a complete range of TVs. He liked the idea of being able to look around and browse through their stock before deciding what to buy.
Rob was also on the lookout for one of the latest curved-screen TVs, but he soon discovered his pockets weren’t quite deep enough and he’d have to settle for something a little more modest.
He explained his final choice was basically down to the number of HDMI inputs that came with the TV, because he needed to hook up a surround sound system, Virgin media, and his video to it.
After looking around he decided to splash his cash on a 50in smart Samsung model with four external inputs which he believed fitted the bill nicely.
On getting it home and setting up, Rob was impressed by the sound and picture quality, but at 74, he admits his eyesight is not exactly 20/20 and he has to resort to wearing glasses.
Precisely 30 days later his grandaughter discovered the new TV wasn’t the full picture after she turned up to give it the once over.
He said: ‘I thought it was a lovely picture and I’d no complaints with it whatsoever until my grandaughter pointed out that in the middle of the screen right at the bottom there was a greyed-out area and just above it there was a great big white spot. I looked closely at the telly and sure enough I could see it.
‘She told me to take it back because it might get worse, so
‘I rang Currys customer care people the following day to ask about returning it.
‘The guy I spoke to was very understanding and nice about it and said to take it back because he was sure the manager would use his discretion to change it.’
Without a second thought Rob trundled the TV back to the Burrfields Road store the following day but his expectations were dashed when he was told that it wasn’t company policy to exchange goods more than 28 days after purchase. The only option available was a repair.
Rob was not impressed by what he considered was a blinkered response, especially as he’d also seen that in the meantime the in-store price of the TV had been slashed by £100.
Despite arguing the toss with the manager about being without the TV for up to three weeks while it was being repaired it became clear he wasn’t going to budge.
Angry and annoyed Rob decided it was high time to contact Streetwise to find out precisely where he stood.
We agreed with him that the manager’s decision wasn’t fair or acceptable given that the TV costing almost £900 was clearly a dud when he bought it.
Currently the law didn’t specify a precise time period where firms were obliged to offer an exchange or refund, but the general consensus was 30 days.
When we flagged this up with Currys customer care team they soon changed their tune.
To his delight the following day Rob took a call from the Portsmouth store offering a replacement or full refund.
But there was even better news to come. When Rob went back to the store to get the replacement sorted, he spotted his dream curved TV in stock priced at £50 less than he’d paid for the original defective Samsung.
The store did a deal to credit him with £50 and a well-satisfied Rob took away the replacement dream TV he’d always wanted.
A Currys spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. Mr Guyatt has now been back to store to exchange his unit and is, we understand, happy with the resolution.’
A chuffed Rob thanked Streetwise for fighting his corner and was more than satisfied at the outcome.
‘You did me proud and I’m most grateful,’ he said.
New law will give consumers more power over time-scales for refunds and repairs
The biggest shake-up in consumer law in more than 30 years is about to come into force on October 1.
A new Consumer Rights Act 2015 is set to replace The 1979 Sale of Goods Act, The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, and The Unfair terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999.
The changes will introduce clearer remedies and time-frames to claim a refund, repair or replacement on faulty or unsatisfactory goods and poor services.
Goods still have to be of satisfactory quality, free from all defects, as described, and fit for purpose, but the Act introduces a number of important new consumer rights.
For the first time the Act spells out a 30-day period from the date of purchase when a buyer will automatically be entitled to a refund for faulty goods
It puts in place a clear set of tiered rules about refunds, including products or services containing digital content.
If you are outside the 30-day right to reject, you have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content which are defective or not as described.
You can choose whether you want the goods to be repaired or replaced. But the retailer can refuse if they can show that your choice is disproportionately expensive compared to the alternative. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction.
With the exception of motor cars, no deduction can be made from a refund in the first six months following an unsuccessful attempt at a repair or replacement.
Changes to unfair terms in contracts mean the main elements of the contract and the price must be prominently brought to a buyer’s attention. Previously these terms were only required to be legible – if you could find them at all without a magnifying glass.
The Consumer Rights Act states that if a retailer provides pre-contract information in relation to a service, say in a leaflet or advertisement, and a consumer takes this information into account, the service must comply with the information provided. There is a default delivery period of 30 days for goods during which the retailer needs to deliver unless a longer period has been agreed.
If the retailer fails to deliver within the 30 days or on the date that has been agreed, buyers can either cancel the order for a full refund or agree another delivery date. If that falls down their entitlement to cancel the order for a full refund remains in place.