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Is it possible to return working hardware bought face to face in a shop?
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 3:20AM
I wanted to know the answer to this question while a 21 day return to shop agreement is still in place. It concerns a computer which my mother bought for herself in a computer shop (P.C. World), and so I don't know if the item would be returned anyway, as my mother may not care much.
But I wanted to know if the rights are there to return an item the consumer is not satisfied with, but where there is no actual fault in the item and it is in new condition and the working order as described in the sale.
I hunted around reviews to name a new desktop computer for my mother as she said she wanted a good one. I knew that computers get slow very quickly nowadays, and I wanted to avoid this as much as possible. I found a good Chillblast computer, at around £600, and Mum was going to buy it.
Though when I was away from visiting her, Mum decided that she didn't want to wait the 7 to 14 days for delivery and went along to a computer shop to select one to bring home immediately. Fine, I thought, but I didn't hold out hopes that the machine would be much good for heavy Web use and streaming HD video within 2 years or so.
My mother bought a Lenovo machine, H520s, with an intel i3 2120 processor (3.3. ghz with no power acceleration) without a 3rd party graphics processor, it's an intel chipset. The i3 processor has very good reviews in itself, but is quite old now, a couple of generations pre-Sandy Bridge I think.
Out of the box, it seemed to work well. As always, the HD video screensaver is impressive and, as with previous computers leads one to believe video will be smooth and fast. (Which never lasted long.) And it was, Vimeo running HD easily and nicely.
But, within a week, with 5 or a few more Internet Explorer windows open, standard definition Youtube videos can buffer 10 seconds at a time and play, and then wait while the circle goes around in the middle, and buffer a bit more, and so on.
So I wonder how the machine will cope with 1080p video in 2 years time.
Just in case my mother would agree to returning the machine for a refund, is this possible.
I have read the receipt from P.C. World which states any item can be returned if working, just if you change your mind, within 21 days - as long as it is completely unopened and in the original, fully sealed packaging. Of course, it's not.
How can you try a machine and return it, if this condition is the only way to return goods which aren't actually faulty. I can't claim the machine is faulty, it would meet its description and is in working order. I only sugest that it isn't right to purchase for the purpose, and due to trying the machine, this has been discovered, and a different machine would be preferred. After all, it's a purchase for an item intended to last at least 3 years, perhaps 4 and a bit more.
This article says that insisting goods can be returned only if sealed and untried can be in breach of the buyer's right to inspect or assess a product. However, I think the article is only about distance purchases:
Does anyone know if there are any rights for a buyer who buys face to face in a shop? At the end of the day, there really isn't much difference between buying online and in a computer shop where a full computer is concerned. Because both are in a very similar position as neither will really give a good opportunity to try to see if a desktop PC is suitable for some persons' needs - that takes a good amount of time - perhaps a few days.
If you know about the rights of returning after trial or any rights of return from a shop, please answer.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 10:14AM
There's a page from the Which website about returning non faulty goods http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/sale-of-goods/returning-goods-your-legal-rights/your-rights/
It looks like it depends on the particular store's policy. Even if the computer was restored to factory settings it couldn't be described as new and unused. which suggested that in these sort of cases it is at the manager's discretion whether to take it back.
There is another aspect to your thread, which is the underlying concern about the spec of the computer and it running slowly over time. The example of YouTube buffering is due to the bandwidth of the internet connection between the server and your own connection. It's not a problem with the computer. I have found that computers mainly get slower over time due to installing lots of software, which 'bloats' the registry. They also need a bit of housekeeping every now and then such as defragmenting and clearing out temporary files etc.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 10:18AM
Sorry. I posted the wrong link from Which. This is the page that deals with returning unwanted goods http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/sale-of-goods/returning-unwanted-gifts/returning-unwanted-goods/
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 10:52AM
If the computer is working properly, and is 'as described' in any shop poster or specification card displayed the retailer is under no obligation to accept a return.
Some shops operate a goodwill policy where unwanted gifts are concerned, especially around Christmas time, but they do that purely to get people to buy in the first place. Even then, goods must be unused, and in the original packaging.
The seven day return rule applies to distance selling only.
Marg7's comment about YouTube buffering is valid - it's caused by bandwidth issues, not by the computer.
The machine your mother bought is generally a solid performer, and has been well reviewed, although its small form factor is going to limit future expansion options.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:36PM
Your best bet would be to take it back with all packaging and till receipt Explain to the Manager, and not in aggressive words that you would like a better PC he may do that if he is not selling at a lose
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:32PM
Thanks for the help. I know where we stand about the computer. Sale over and done with, like it or not, like the item or not. Much, much better to buy things online. Coping with parcelling something for return and bringing a heavy item to a post office should be considered no bother, the only option.
It's something important which ought to be known.
I think that consumers should be advised by advice bureaus, and the government, and so on that they ought to ...
Ask themselves if they feel they are pretty sure about a piece of hardware in the shop or wonder if they really need to check it out in use at home.
If they aren't completely sure and think they need to try - to state clearly to the shop (ask to speak to the manager if necessary) that they really need to find out if this is the item for them. And ask, therefore, if it would be possible to return for a refund with an agreed time if it turns out not to tick all the boxes which are needed for a machine to be used over the course of the next few years.
I think, at least then you will know if the sale is final or not. Because you will leave the shop in any case not having tried the machine to your satisfaction, even if there is a display and try model.
Some shops will give you a few days or a week. But consumers need to know they would have to ask for this, agree it, take the name of the salesperson or manager, or ask them to write a little note for them.
Thanks for the advice about bandwidth, though I'm really not so sure. The broadband connection is fibre optic, fast, and faster than city averages for fibre optic broadband (checking online comparison tables and maps which test broadband connection first). The router from the modem is N, 300 mbps. The problem with the Youtube videos came, incidentially, in the middle of the night, after 3 a.m., weekday night, when there would be low Web use.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:36PM
Another thing to be aware of -
if you want to avoid delivery charges, good advice for places which offer store pick up would be to order and pay online, and select to pick up at store. You would then have the benefit of the distance selling regulations allowing you to check out the hardware and return it for any reason.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:54PM
"I think that consumers should be advised by advice bureaus, and the government, and so on...."
Surely it's commonsense to make your own judgements about the suitability of an expensive item before buying it? You shouldn't expect the government, or anyone else for that matter, to have to tell people how to buy something in a shop.
If you buy something and then decide you don't want it you must accept responsibility for your own actions. Asking a shop manager if you can return an item you don't like is something you can decide to do yourself - again, there shouldn't be any need for the government to get involved.
As for your comment that you're using YouTube "in the middle of the night, after 3 a.m., weekday night, when there would be low Web use." I'm not sure why you would think that. In the Far East they are going full blast at that time - it's almost the middle of their business day, and in America it's around 8:00 in the evening - a time of huge bandwidth consumption, especially on YouTube.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:04PM
I bought some 2.1 PC speakers from Argos a few years ago. I tried them out for a week, decided they sounded a bit 'boomy', and took them back for a refund. They weren't faulty, I was just used to using stereo speakers. No quibbles or fuss, refund given.
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Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:13PM
Some companies will do this, as I said, but you can't rely on it. Those decisions tend to be made on the fly, and depend on individual circumstances.
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Posted October 18, 2012 at 8:33AM
Extract from PCW's T&Cs
You have changed your mind?
If you change your mind and would like to return your product, we're happy to exchange or refund it as long as:
The product is in its original unopened and sealed packaging You return it within 21 days of date of purchase You have proof of purchase (Original receipt, delivery note, bank statement)
How do I return my product?
Store: If you need to have your product collected (if it's too big or heavy to return to store) please call our Contact Centre on 08445 61 12 34 and we will assist you.
Phone: If you need to have your product collected (if it's too big or heavy to return to store) please call our Contact Centre on 08445 61 12 34 and we will assist you.
Exchange/Refund: We will then give you an exchange or full refund plus any delivery charge paid. However, we do have the right to retain any charge paid for services which have already begun or have been completed.
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