Consumer expert: Car battery warranty and hand written receipt
Problems with a car battery warranty and a taxi driver offering a handwritten receipt. What are your rights? Our expert has the answers...
Q: Hi Dermott, I bought a car battery from a very well-known motoring agency in December 2012. It came with a warranty of three years. After numerous problems, it was replaced with a new one in June 2013.
Last week the replacement was confirmed to have also failed. However, they are refusing to replace it saying it's outside warranty.
Was I not entitled to have a new three-year warranty on the replacement? Am I covered at all by consumer law or is it a case of begging their PR dept to make a gesture of goodwill. Many thanks. Pat.
A: Hello Pat. Being charitable, I am taking the view that the agency representative is mistakenly only looking at this from the point of view of a contract and that they see their terms of contract and commitment to you to be a total of three years.
But, to in any way argue that the guarantee does not apply to a replacement would suggest that you received either a sub-standard replacement or one that was not new - that would be a breach of both your contract and your entitlement under consumer law for a replacement of merchantable quality, fit for purpose and, as described.
Your contract describes the battery as having a three-year guarantee. Therefore, it would be my opinion that you are entitled to the protection of a full three-year guarantee on your replacement battery. This can be received from the distributor if necessary.
If this is not forthcoming then I suggest that you take a claim through the Small Claims Court (cost €25, form downloadable at www.courts.ie). In terms of goodwill, it should be in the form of an apology for misreading the facts of the matter and providing you with yet another poor quality battery - and I would hope that would be offered without any need to request it!
Q: Dermott, we took a taxi home last week from the stand outside the hotel and, because it was work-related and I needed a proof of the cost, I asked for a receipt. The meter was fine.
But, the driver told me his printer was not working and so gave me a handwritten receipt on a piece of paper from a notepad. I told him this was less than ideal, as my employers would demand something more official. He just advised it was the best he could do.
I think this is bad practice. Can you advise, please? Fran.
A: I would agree with you wholeheartedly, Fran. It is unprofessional and raises all kinds of questions with regard to the licensing requirements. This brings me to the point of my advice - this breaches the regulations.
Taxis and their drivers are licensed and regulated by the National Transport Authority. The regulations state clearly that a driver - 'must give a taxi receipt printed by the printer attached to the taximeter (not handwritten) to all customers'.
Assuming that you have all the necessary detail of the licence numbers for the driver and taxi, you have the option to lodge a complaint.
To do so (and can I say at this point that there needs to be an easier way for consumers to find out where to complain!) go to www.transportforireland.ie and take it from there.
Dermott Jewell is a consumer rights expert and the Policy and Council Adviser at the Consumers’ Association of Ireland. If you have a consumer-related query you’d like Dermott to help you with, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org