Thursday 8 December 2016

Know your rights: Dermott Jewell

Paying to remove a cooker, continuing kitchen troubles, and no receipt for my umbrella. What are your rights? Our expert has the answers....

Published 11/09/2015 | 02:30

Dermott Jewell, Consumers Association
Dermott Jewell, Consumers Association

Q: Hi Dermott. Can you clarify the instances where I would have to pay to have an electrical appliance removed please? I had to pay recently to get a cooker taken away and have been told by friends that this should have been a free service.

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A: In general terms this should have been free. However, you don't say if this was a replacement item and/or if there were delivery charges involved.

When the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation was introduced, the purpose was for old electrical and electronic equipment to be recycled or reused rather than disposed in landfill sites around the country. To make it appealing to the consumer, WEEE set down that retailers must take back old electrical and electronic equipment from the customer on a one-for-one, like-for-like basis.

This is where your situation is a little unclear. If this was a one-for-one then it's important also to check if this was perhaps a delivery charge?

One last point that your friends may be confusing your case with is how retailers - those with an electrical sales area greater than 400 square meters - must accept small appliances for recycling without the consumer having to make a purchase.

The items must be less than 25cm, or just 10 inches in old money. I'm assuming your cooker was large, Jim!

Q: I have been through the Small Claims Court procedure and received a positive outcome. It involved work in a new kitchen where poor quality doors had to be replaced and the same with the tiling around the sink unit. This was done two months ago but now the problem is back with one of the doors and the tiles are coming away again. What do I do now? Do I contact the Court?

A: From the outset you need a record of events and so it is key that this be in writing. Therefore, the first thing to do will be to email the company who fitted the kitchen setting out the problems and asking them to tell you, by return email, when they will call to examine the problems and determine a date to resolve them. Copy the court registrar into your email.

I would add the reminder that this work was completed under instruction from a judge of the Small Claims Court and that you need their urgent attention to the matter as otherwise you must, within the next three days, advise the Registrar of the Court that the order has not been complied with and that you are seeking to have the case reheard.

That should get their undivided attention.

Q: Dermott, I am a little confused and annoyed and would appreciate your clarification on a dispute please. I bought an umbrella just last week. I paid for it and was handed change but no receipt. I asked for a receipt, but was refused and advised, quite abruptly, that I was not entitled to be issued with one. The issue became heated when I outlined my right to a receipt. The result was I handed back the umbrella, the sale was cancelled and I left the shop never to return. Was I right?

A: I can say from the outset that I share your annoyance as your entitlement to a receipt is pitifully unclear. All day long you will hear that you need proof of purchase in the event that there is a problem. Paying by cash makes a purchase without a receipt a very real problem and leaves the consumer, usually, out of options and out of pocket. If you visit the website of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the best advice you will find on this issue is that 'a shop is entitled to proof of purchase, but this doesn't need to be a shop receipt'. This provides the alternative for you to produce a credit card or bank statement showing the transaction. Great - unless you paid in cash! I know what you are thinking - if proof of purchase is a must then surely so should be the issuing of a receipt. Aah yes...

The 'I dont believe it' reality is that we have no legal entitlement to a receipt. I kid you not. However, we are entitled to a receipt when we request one. So, my advice to you and to all readers is, where there is any possibility that you may need to return the item, then ask for a receipt.

Irish Independent

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