The fact you have ended up on our website suggests you have already exchanged words with the person who sold you something faulty.
However, there is much to be said for trying to resolve matters ‘between yourselves’. The costs of pursuing matters through the Courts or even getting lawyers involved may well wipe out or even exceed the sum you’re arguing over. A good rule of thumb is that if you are arguing over less than £5,000 and you have not sustained an injury you should be trying to do it yourself.
Consumer law is not a simple issue. You may have seen programmes like Watchdog or received Which? magazine in the past. Unfortunately consumer issues are often less clear than people think and it is easy to get things wrong.
When dealing with the seller, keep a cool head and a civil tongue. Make a note of everything which is said, along with details of the date and time, and take the name and role of anybody you speak to in relation to the problem. Don’t make unreasonable demands… have a read here first of what you may be entitled to, but don’t be fobbed off either. If you’re unsure, ask for responses to your complaints to be put in writing.
Be realistic in what you are trying to achieve. Any losses you incur as a result of a defective product may well be recoverable, so make sure you keep details and evidence in support of any of those losses. (Perhaps even things like not being able to go to the TT with your mates because the new bike you bought specially didn’t start and you missed the ferry. We mean it. Keep a note.)
If you were bought the faulty product as a present, you may have to ask the person who bought you it to complain for you, or at least authorise you in writing to complain on his or her behalf. Only the actual buyer of the goods has the right to complain.
If the goods were bought on credit or a credit card then you may find that it is the provider of credit who actually sold you the goods. Getting them involved will often give you the benefit of their legal arm in your fight against the original seller, as they will be equally liable for any defective goods.
If you are made an offer, consider it carefully. You may not get anything more by going to Court. ALWAYS TAKE LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE ACCEPTING AN OFFER WHERE THERE HAS BEEN PERSONAL INJURY.
Not every person you might choose to buy something from is legitimate – we’ve all met a “Del boy” – but if you are lucky, you will be able to come to an amicable agreement with your dealer without having to go to Court.