Out of Warranty Claims

  OldBaldy 21:43 08 Nov 03

I read somethin, somewhere (I read a lot ya know) about maufacturers/retailers still being potentially liable for repairs/replacements outside the stated warranty period - can anyone add to this admittedly flimsy piece of less than total recall?

I purchased (well ok, my mother did) ?1500 worth of Sharp Laptop from PC World around 18 months ago - still have all the receipts etc, and it has just recently started fallin to bits (well not physically). HD is getting noisier, DVD/CDRW combo vibrates like, well like a DVD/CDRW shouldnt, it has to be restored using the provided disks about every 3-4 months, USB ports seem to work when they feel like it, and I get regular memory errors (Cannot write to *insert long complex memory location id here*) and the battery was good for about 15 mins the day it was bought, and is now good (if I'm REALLY lucky) long enough to allow it to boot up. On top of all of this, I also recently found out that the TV-OUT is NTSC only - hardly UK compatible... I know some TV's support it but mine doesn't.

As you can probably imagine, I'm not overly impressed overall and wondered if anyone had any legalese I can spout in my inital letter of enquiry. Not sure if it was the PC Advisor mag i read this in - I read pretty much all of the *thick* PC mags as well as a couple of the thin ones.

The laptop has been looked after, gets used regularly, but I wouldn't say to excess, couple hours a day average, and is still cosmetically perfect - never dropped - carried from day 1 in a "proper" Techa(i)r laptop rucksack...

  wee eddie 21:59 08 Nov 03

I believe that the ruling is:- that a product must be fit for the purpose for which it is purchased and operate for a reasonable length of time.

2 hours a day for 18 months without breakdown seems quite reasonable to me.

However, TV-OUT is NTSC only, may have got them but, having only just found out this incompatibility it can hardly be said to be the purpose for which it was bought.

  Falkyrn 22:12 08 Nov 03

Try click here

for more information

The legislation you refer to may be the sale and supply of goods act .... it does I believe make reference to expected life of various goods and some terms extend to several years warranty or not .... however the term "reasonable use" is used a lot in the terms.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 00:09 09 Nov 03

The claimant's responsibility is to prove the boundaries that can be defined as 'reasonable use'...however I feel that the claimant may find the rapacious costs of a barrister/QC and the 95% chance that these costs would probably not be re-imbursed, to be a financial Armageddon. In layman's term..yer shafted.


  Lead 03:10 09 Nov 03


A. Firstly, when you buy goods from a shop, you enter into a contract under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended). This holds the shop liable for up to six years after purchase (Limitation Act 1980), providing that you can show that the problem is down to an unreasonable fault and not normal wear and tear.

It's the last bit that will be difficult. Personally, I would expect an ?1500 product to last more than 18 months, under normal use. But you may have to find a Magistrate that also thinks that way ;)

  The Lights Are On 07:10 09 Nov 03

Some of your problems would seem to software related, I personally feel as the laptop is still together physically you don?t stand much of a chance. Batteries are a disposable item & how they are treated from day one has a massive bearing on there later life. As you have had the Laptop 18 months & just found out the Telly out doesn?t work would point toward the fact it wasn?t a major issue until tou wanted to have it replaced. I don?t want to pour cold water on your cooling fans here, but I can?t see you being successful. :-(

  carver 07:31 09 Nov 03

A reasonable length of time for a laptop should be about 2-3years. If you think the laptop has not lasted a reasonable amount of time then the only thing you can do is to take it to an independent PC shop and have a report done. If this shows that most of the faults ARE hardware and not soft ware then you do stand a chance of having PC World pay for a repair or replacement. But and this is the main problem, PC World are not renown for their generosity in after sales service and you would have to take it to court to get them to pay. Ignore GANDALFS comments about barristers etc the cost is very small and if you win you will have these awarded back to you.Get hold of a copy of this months Which and that will explain your rites very simply

  GANDALF <|:-)> 09:11 09 Nov 03

Sorry but carver is slightly amiss. If an item is out of manufacturer'/retailers warranty there is still the European Law of defined usage term. However the law is vague to say the least and some would say deliberatly so. In my experience PCW are pretty good on customer problems if an item is still in warranty. The problems occur, as wih any retailer, when the item is out of the defined warranty but still, in theory, covered by the European law.

The first step should be a walk to customer services. Be polite when you take the item back to the store. I have seen countless numpties shouting the odds at PCW customer service, a la Airline programme. This will not help, it is not the service desk or PCW's fault that items go AWOL.

If you get no joy then there is the Small Claims Court. Of course, it is up to you to prove that the item was used in a correct manner (not dropped off a desk etc.) and that it should reasonably have a life span of more than 18 months. Remember it is not PCW's fault that the laptop is wonky, it could possibly be their responsibility to see that it is fixed.

If a company wanted to dig it's heels in and claim that the European Law is vague, that companies change laptops every 18 months, the claimnat would have to show legal responsibilty for durability and I would not be sure that he/she would be awarded full costs as there are many times where costs have not been awarded in 'open and shut' caes. This would be unlikely, but forewarned is forearmed, however I feel carver would be more than delighted to pay costs ;-))

In a nutshell try the softly, softly approach. Try to see if the laptop can be repaired; a 'phone call to Sharp UK may help. I have to say that the USB problem and the restore problem do seem more software related 9I assume that your AV is well up to date and you have done an in depth scan) and if you want to hear a CD ROM drive vibrate then come and listen to mine. If the battery was only good for 15 minutes on the day of purchase you should really have taken it back then. Laptop batteries are the epitome of short life and after 18 months they do suffer from 'tiredness'. If you had complained at the time you would have stood a good chance.


  spuds 15:12 09 Nov 03

Try contacting Sharp. I have dealt with the company, due to business equipment failure, and I find that they have been very fair in their dealings.They also offer in some cases, fixed price repairs and servicing.

Regarding Carver's comment about barristers. These people,are not cheap, and I do not think the small claims court procedure, would cover a barristers bill.

  carver 15:45 09 Nov 03

'spuds' you do not need a barrister for the small claims court, you appear in person and explain your claim to the court "very simple" and very cheap compared to buying a new laptop.
OLDBALDY, I have to say that this time GANDALF has made some sense in his comments about going to PC World but I doubt if you will get any help there. But I do think that after this amount of time you will have to get an independent report into the condition of the laptop and then take matters from there.

  OldBaldy 16:44 09 Nov 03

I was staff when I bought it, and know exactly the standard run of lines and excuses the guys there are ordered to give - the stores attitude is quite simply, if there is any chance of getting away with it at all, say no, if the customer doesnt smile and walk away, send em to head office....
Think I'll go the sharp route actually, see what they have to say, as I'm aware both Sharp and Dixons Group have a liability should it be a justifiable claim.
TY all for your help tho - will leave the post open for a few more days see if anyone else comes up with something. I know for a fact I read an article in one of the many mags I get directly relating to this, but it was a good 4 or 5 months ago, and I have NO clue which it was...

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