Smart Consumer: Damaged stove has left me hot and bothered
Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich wrote to Smart Consumer about a stove she bought in Co Kerry.
The enamel on the top of the stove she bought for €1,800 in July 2006 began to peel and rust in early 2008.
When she contacted the company she had purchased it from, they sent someone to look at the stove and she was told that the damage was caused by damp. Seosaimhín says that her house has been "completely refurbished and dry lined from top to bottom and is warm and cosy at all times" and so she believes the stove to be faulty.
She says that the retailer got in touch with the manufacturers and she was then offered three solutions: 1) to remove the stove and take it back to the factory to be checked, 2) to replace or re-spray the top at a cost of €300 to her or 3) to send her a pot of paint for her to repair herself. None of these was accepted.
Seosaimhín has sent a letter of complaint to the retailer but received no reply and wants to know what she can do next.
Naturally Seosaimhín presumed that her stove would be in perfect order and last a long time. She does have the legal right to a remedy if the stove is defective. So the million-dollar question is whether the stove is faulty, or if the peeling and rusting was caused by misuse which subsequently caused excess moisture.
Smart Consumer contacted the retailer who said: "We feel that the stove was used for a purpose it was not intended for, i.e. utensils could have been placed on the top of the stove.
"If the existing stove is returned to our shop (at the client's expense) we will return it to the manufacturers for analysis and report on the marks on the top of the stove.
"If the stove is found to be faulty, we will be happy to supply a replacement, which can be collected from our shop.
"If, however, the enamel lifted on the stove due to misuse, i.e. utensils, moisture or candle wax dripping on the stove, this will incur a replacement charge."
So, the store does not agree that there is a fault and this is frustrating.
However, it is up to the consumer to prove the damage if some time has passed since purchase, so the decision now lies with Seosaimhín as to what she chooses to do next and she might consider getting an independent expert to examine the stove as the next step.