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Tech Consumer Advice


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Is it possible to return working hardware bought face to face in a shop?


lbc

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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:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19910561

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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nickf

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If the store has a 21 day returns policy , EU consumer law says they have to take it back , even with packaging opened . The law says it is not reasonable to expect a consumer to know if a product is what they wanted , without trying it .

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woodchip

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And Some Shops charge a restocking fee. They are not obligated to refund or replace goods that you bought wrongly. You cannot expect Shop's or there Employee's to be able to read peoples minds

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Forum Editor

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"I disagree entirely"

You have a perfect right to disagree as much as you like, but in the real world I'm afraid you must accept a reasonable degree of responsibility for your own actions - you can't expect the State to nanny you through every aspect of your life.

We have some of the best consumer protection legislation in the world in this country, and many suppliers go even further than they are legally bound to do. They do it because they have reputations they wish to protect, and they know that happy customers spread the word.

You said :

**"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."**

Are you seriously suggesting that the government should spend public money to remind you that you should ask yourself if you are 'pretty sure' you should buy an item in a shop?

If you are I'm lost for words.

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lbc

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"You have a perfect right to disagree as much as you like, but in the real world I'm afraid you must accept a reasonable degree of responsibility for your own actions "

Again, I use my perfect right to disagree to disagree with your later assertion itself.

On the one hand, what you say can NOT be wrong. Absolutely. You must accept a reasonable degreee of responsibility for your own actions. In the real world, and I hasten to add, possibly even any other, if there is any other. Even in the world of personal imagination, I suggest, there ought to be some reasonable responsibility that accompanies what is imagined or how it is held.

And so ought shops. But their money back satisfaction guarantees are really only applicable to the world of imagination, and have no relevance WHATSOEVER in the real world. Where SATISFACTION means something IS or ISN'T SATISFIED with something. Which means precisely that they MUST have an opportunity to KNOW if they are actually satisfied or not or somewhere in between. (As I stated before, excepting possibilities of returning an unwanted gift or an impulse buy that can't be afforded truly, the so-called "Satisfaction Gaurantee" has NO PRACTICAL VALUE WHATSOEVER. And, this is of course because it hasn't even the possibility of being linked to satisfaction or the lack of it.

So, tell me exactly what can a "21 day [or any period] satisfaction guarantee" MEAN? In the real world. Or in any world. When, particularly - most particularly indeed, the very guarantee itself totally excludes the possibility of being either satisfied or unsatisfied with the item you have bought?

Yes, you have NO IDEA whether the item is satisfactory or not during the time this guarantee operates. As, if you decide to check the satisfaction factor of your new item, the guarantee is instantly and totally void.

There are no half ways or partial ways in this. The box tape can't be partly cut, or pieces "snuck" out while retaining the gaurantee. A trial for a single minute means the tape is gone forever.

The thing may though be X-Rayed, and one might estimate potential satisfaction from X-Rays (whether or not that would damage electrical items). And that seems to me the only possible route that could give any fathom of even a guess at whether the 21 or whatever day satisfaction guarantee can be determined one way or the other.

I hope the editor may see the truth of this matter. And that those so-called "Satisfaction Guarantees" are, not just in effect, but, you know, in every way you can look at them, lies. Totally - this is misrepresentation in contract law, an illegal practice, that happens to have been sewn in to the fabric of modern day trading. The shop makes a statement which is likely to then induce a buyer to buy because, in some part, of that statement itself. But the statement is a piece of fraud in itself. This is not legal in UK law or EU law. But it's ignored.

Can't you see why, as I exercise my right to disagree with your strange attatchment to the lie of the "Satisfaction Gaurantees" and your wish to continue fooling consumers by it, that this REALLY is something the government and advice agencies not only should, but NEED to be pointing out? Not only that, agencies of the government really NEED to be quoshing the existence of it because it does not seem that it could possibly be legal. How could it be legal? How could it be, as suggested, an actual "satisfaction guarantee" except for cardboard box fetishists who aren't slightly interested in the hardware within?

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lbc

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"And Some Shops charge a restocking fee. They are not obligated to refund or replace goods that you bought wrongly. You cannot expect Shop's or there Employee's to be able to read peoples minds"

(Woodchip)

I think the restocking fee is a good idea if they accept items back with an actual opportunity for the customer to find out if he or she is anyway satisfied with the product. I think it's not really unfair at all to ask people to pay a bit to try an item, and, as long as the fee is fair, this is probably a good halfway point between what a customer wants or needs and the needs of the shop.

And it's totally different galaxy to the Alice in Wonderland illegal world of P.C. World's "Satisfaction Gaurantee but not if you cut the box tape" lie.

What other shops use this lie to sell things?

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Forum Editor

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let's get a couple of things straight here.

First, we'll have no further allegations of fraud. You have no evidence with which to substantiate it.

Second, regarding your statement that: "I exercise my right to disagree with your strange attatchment to the lie of the "Satisfaction Gaurantees" and your wish to continue fooling consumers by it"

is offensive, and if you continue in that vein we'll be parting company. If you can't discuss something without resorting to comments like that it will be better if you stop posting.

I am not attached to satisfaction guarantees at all - in fact I haven't made a single reference to them. I have no wish to continue fooling customers either, you've invented that.

What you seem unable to grasp is the difference between a guarantee or warranty that may be offered by a retailer, and your rights under consumer laws. The two are entirely separate, and no form of guarantee or undertaking given by a shop (or a manufacturer) can affect your rights in law.

When you buy something it's up to you to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the item you're buying is suitable for your needs before you part with your money - the legal phrase that applies is 'caveat emptor', translated as 'let the buyer beware'. It means that you, and you alone, are responsible for checking that the goods are suitable and of sufficient quality before you conclude a purchase.

When you buy something on-line the law (in the form of the Distance selling regulations)recognises the fact that you have not had a chance to physically inspect the goods before purchase, so you have the legal right to return an item within seven days of the date of purchase without giving any reason. It allows a chance to inspect for damage etc.

When you buy in a shop you do have the chance to inspect the goods before purchase, but the Sale of goods act applies. The goods must be of merchantable quality, and 'fit for purpose' - if you tell a salesperson that you want a computer that's suitable for intensive gaming use you must not be sold one that is only good for light internet and email use. Furthermore,if a computer develops a fault within six months of the date of purchase the law makes the assumption that the fault was 'inherent' on the day of purchase, unless the retailer can demonstrate otherwise. You have additional protection down the line, as the machine ages, but that's another, more complex scenario.

All of those measures are designed to ensure that you, as a consumer, are treated fairly, and also that the retailer is treated in the same way. You enter into a contract with the seller, not the manufacturer, and anything that either of them offer or provide by way of guarantee or warranty is an entirely separate matter, and one that is between you and them. No guarantee can include terms that limit your rights under the law.

It is generally acknowledged that the protection consumers have under UK and EU laws is the best in the world, and no government should be expected - as you seem to think - to hold your hand through the simple process of deciding whether you should part with your money or not. That responsibility is entirely yours.

You seem to believe that you, or your mother, should be able to return a computer to the shop simply because after buying it and trying it out you just don't like it. The world doesn't work that way I'm afraid; it never has, and it never will. If a shop wants to do that it's a goodwill gesture - there's no obligation involved.

You are perfectly at liberty to think otherwise, but I'm afraid you are in for a disappointment.

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lbc

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I will not continue in any vein.

I am finishing as it is evidently pointless to continue. And I am very glad I have been able to write what I have been able to write until you have ended this.

I had no intention whatsoever - whatsoever - to be personally offensive, naturally. I say naturally, as nothing was clearer to me. Nothing. Indeed it is very offensive to me that you publish a comment saying something is clearly offensive and a person must not continue as such - "in that vein". I could not continue in that vein in any case, again, as there was no intention whatsoever - whatsoever - to cause offense. Naturally.

I would not know how to continue in such a vein, as you say. As I did have and now further would have no idea whatsoever what on earth would cause offence to you. I wouldn't know where to being, should I ever choose to, but such an idea is quite hideous to me.

I leave extremely offended indeed myself. In my very first thread of PC Advisor.

I have been a subscriber to PC World and Computer Active for years, and came to PC Advisor for the first time, from a Google search leading to this discussion forum. I am very disappointed.

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lbc

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I point to my last sentence in my offended comment. As I was aware, this is a discussion forum. I now perceive I have been prevented from partaking in an adult, aware discussion forum. I would not wish to continue in anything other than that where one believes one can partake in serious, normal discussion, not being required to agree with either other posters or the forum overseer himself or herself. And I choose completely in any case now not to continue.

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Forum Editor

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"I choose completely in any case now not to continue."

I'm sorry to hear that, but of course it's your decision.

A discussion forum is just that - a place where people may discuss various issues and exchange views. You've been given every opportunity to put forward your case at some length, and you don't like it because I haven't agreed with your views. That's not the way it works, I'm afraid. If you want to participate in an adult debate you mustn't be surprised when other people question what you say, and put forward their own point of view.

You asked a question about buyers' rights, and I provided the answers. The fact that you don't like what I said is your affair, but the law is the law. If you have already made up your mind about something - as you obviously had in this case there isn't much point in coming here and asking for advice.

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woodchip

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Look at it this way, if you was behind the Counter, Forgetting Satisfaction Guarantee for the moment, If you sold a PC to somebody and they fetched it back in a week's time, NOTHING WRONG WITH THE PC. Would you hand over what was paid for it? also it would then be a Second User PC, i.e NOT NEW thus it would be sold with a BIG Mark Down Price. Who is going to pay the Difference on the Above

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