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No refunds, says Lidl

Customer complains about secondhand PC sold as new

German superstore Lidl has been accused by a PC Advisor reader of selling secondhand computers as new.

Mr Sharpe contacted us after he had received poor service when he took his PC back to the Lidl store, claiming that he had found another user's data on the hard drive.

Since returning the PC Mr Sharpe is still out of pocket, and has been phoning customer services to try and get his money back. "I have called and called and keep being put on hold and when I do get through the person takes a message and never gets back to me," he told us.

Under the Supply of Goods Act, all goods sold must be safe, durable and fit for purpose. Goods must also correspond with their description so, if the computer was sold as new, the buyer should be its first owner.

The store, which operates a 'no refunds' policy on goods, took the computer from Mr Sharpe, leaving him with only a receipt.

"Handing over the computer in exchange for a receipt was a good move," said a spokesman at the CA (Consumers Association). "Under the law, goods are returned when a user rejects them; handing them back to the purchaser is more than enough evidence of rejection."

Anyone who finds themselves in this situation, according to the CA, should write a letter to the company involved stating in simple terms that they have rejected the goods and require a full refund.

"A company cannot refuse a full refund if the goods do not comply with the Supply of Goods Act," said CA's spokesman. "If they do, it will then be a legal matter for Trading Standards."

It is also important to keep a log of all phone calls made to the company, and any conversations resulting from these, as well as names of all those employees who have been involved in the process.

"Obviously if consumers pay on credit cards then they have a separate course of action with their credit card company as well," added the CA's spokesman.

We tried to contact Lidl regarding the problems Mr Sharpe had encountered — no easy feat given that it has just one phone line for all customer enquiries regarding recruitment, store information, opening hours and complaints.

Eventually we managed to get the number of a Lidl spokesperson who said, "I would say sorry but I am not going to apologise for company policy. We are a private limited company and we do not speak to the press. All I can say is that we are aware of this complaint."

Mr Sharpe is writing to Lidl to reject the computer as suggested by the CA, but given Lidl's approach to customer service we won't be holding our breath for a swift resolution.


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