I've had my leather suite a year -- can I claim for wear and tear?
QMike bought a three-piece leather recliner suite in November 2008 at a cost of €2,563 which, after a number of delays, was delivered in May 2009.
He writes: "Within a matter of about three months, the foam in the single chair began to sag and the mechanics had become unstable."
He says that it's the chair he uses most and he "could feel the support bars pressing into the backs of my legs when in the reclining position. I noticed also that both the seat and back foam began to offer significantly less support".
Mike contacted the shop and they responded quickly by sending out a technician to examine the chair.
He was informed shortly afterwards that there was nothing wrong with the chair, so he requested that it be inspected again.
The retailer sent out the same technician, who again said that the chair was not faulty.
Then in September, Mike's wife noticed patches of wear and tear on the chair's inside arms. He phoned the shop, and a technician was sent out again. The shop's response was that the wear and tear was normal and that the suite was outside of warranty.
Mike asks: "If we've had this level of wear and failure within such a relatively short time, what's it going to be like in a couple of years' time? What do you advise?"
A Under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, a product must be fit for its purpose and 'as described'.
You would reasonably expect a leather suite to last in terms of its support and also for the leather material to be durable, wear well and last for a long time.
Therefore, if the chair is faulty or defective in some way the shop where you bought it is legally obliged to provide a remedy.
The shop mentioned that the warranty had expired, but that refers to the manufacturer's warranty and is separate to your statutory rights.
Under our Statute of Limitations you have six years in which to make a claim for faulty goods.
I suggest that you send a letter of complaint to the shop outlining your rights, as stated above, and the remedy you seek.
If that goes unanswered or the matter remains unresolved, then take a small claims action against the shop.
You can file your application online at www.courts.ie. There is a non-refundable fee of €15 and you can claim up to €2,000, which will cover the cost of replacing the faulty chair.