Wednesday 10 March 2010

Consumer Power!

Well the whole "near daily blog" concept was subject to an horrendous big fat fail of the year, wasn't it!

Nearly 3 months on from my last post, I guess I should probably try to update the masses on my news...

Well Christmas and New Year were great. Got to meet up with most of my old friends back up in Aberdeen, and kept a reasonably regular routine helping out the newsagents over the holidays in the mornings. Walking uphill on a sheet of ice first thing in the morning isn't always the easiest of tasks, let alone with a couple of bags of newspapers slung over your shoulders but it was good exercise and good pay.

Had a good haul at Christmas. You know you've reached a new stage in life when your personal favourite of all your gifts are a bottle of Southern Comfort and a book about the worst MPs in history!

Other events bubbling over the holidays was the abrupt cardiac arrest of my laptop's charging mechanism. The power cable stopped charging in November and I got a replacement from Argos, but a similar problem recurred. After having to wait forever for Mastercard to issue a replacement statement (lesson here folks is don't lose receipts!) we eventually got Argos to send it away for repair. At the weekend, it comes back and the bloody keyboard (which was fine before) no longer works! A restrained argument with the Store Manager about the buyer's statutory rights in relation to products not fit for purpose falls on deaf ears.

However, people, do not despair if you ever find yourself in this situation! I decided to take the bold move of complaining directly to the Managing Director of Argos by e-mail in the evening, explaining that this was effectively the 3rd time the laptop was returned for repair in under 6 months from buying it. Statutory rights and customer dissatisfaction expressed succinctly yet passionately on Friday evening. Sending in more hollow hope than expectation, I was pleasantly surprised to see an email in my inbox at 8:32 on Saturday morning from the Managing Director saying she wasn't in the office that day but had passed my problem onto someone who was who would deal with it promptly. A phone call comes at 9:10 and after the exchange of a few details on the phone and a quick couple of calls from their office to the Store Manager at the nearest Argos and I had a replacement laptop which wasn't of the little known make "Bauernet" as before, but in recognition of my loss of faith in the product, a brilliant wee Samsung in its place before noon! To add to this, a £25 Argos voucher is in the post to me to compensate me for the inconvenience I've been caused.

The lesson here folks? Don't just accept it when a shop has a returns policy in which they claim they're entitled to send a product back for repair again and again and again. Your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act entitle you to a repair or replacement of goods not fit for purpose at the point of sale, the time to process which must not cause you significant inconvenience. If neither of these are possible, you are entitled to rescind your contract and gain a refund.

Don't let them confuse Warranties either. When they have to sell an item that is fit for purpose, the components or a product has to last for the reasonably expectable lifetime of the product. There are some complications like if the product was sold over 6 months ago you have to be able to prove the fault was inherent, and in Scotland you have only 5 years to act upon discovery of a fault. In any case, however, Warranties are manufacturer's supplements and NOT replacements for your statutory rights. Stick to your guns and don't let them fob you off.

The biggest lesson in all of this is, however, that if you want something sorted and sorted quickly, go straight to the top. Be firm and demanding but polite, and you'll find they are keen to resolve your problem quickly and effectively.

A lot of other stuff has happened in the last few months, but most of it is pretty mundane. Thistle have been horrific since the turn of the year, we won the Grand Slam at the Pub Quiz in January (Booze, Money and Jokes Round) and the Booze again just yesterday. "Fife's A Bitch", the juggernaut of monthly pub quiz dogged determination is full steam ahead for April!

For now, however, I'll leave it there. Consumer Power, people! Consumer power! FEEL IT!