Know your rights: Dermott Jewell
An unexplained leak in a new car boot that won't stop and a laptop sold with a two-pin plug. What are your rights? Our expert has the answers...
Q: Hi Dermott, we recently bought a laptop and were more than a little annoyed when we got home to find that it came with a two-pin plug. I called the outlet, told them the problem and they just told me to use an adaptor or call back in and they would give me an adaptor.
Friends tell me this is illegal but I can't find anywhere that this is confirmed. Can you help? Benny
A: I find the questions worrying this week as they indicate a total failure of businesses to provide the consumer's basic entitlements under the Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act, 1980 - now, 36 years later!
The standard plug in Ireland is three-pin. The full title is 3 pin IS411 (BS 1363) (only the best info here, Benny). Every electrical product sold in Ireland should come with a three-pin plug.
You can educate those who sold you the laptop while demanding a proper power lead or your money back.
This is a safety concern and a serious breach of EU and Irish legislation so a call to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at (01) 4025555 would be in order.
Q: Dear Dermott, I bought a new car in March last year. In July I noticed water in the boot so brought it to the dealer. They took it in the following week for a week.
When I got it back the bumper was loose and I had to return it again. A couple of months later the leak was back, returned it to garage and it was another week with them.
January this year the water was back in the boot again! At this point I demanded a new car or my money back.
They refused and told me I had the car a year and that they would not refund. Instead, if I gave them €2.500 with my car they would be happy to exchange. They took the car, fixed the leak and returned it with the boot now out of line and a dent in the passenger back door.
I have asked for a written report on all repairs but have received nothing. What should I do? Rita
A: Well, Rita, as this is a brand new car I am especially shocked at what are the worst examples of a really bad business approach and disregard for the customer's rights in a very long time.
As a dealership I am assuming they are members of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI). Contact them immediately at 01-6761690 to see if they are, lodge a formal complaint and request urgent intervention on your behalf. Advise that you are awaiting their contact before taking legal action.
In that regard, contact a solicitor and lodge all of the detail, dates and pictures you have on this with them. It will be relatively inexpensive to get a letter out to the garage Managing Director ASAP to confirm you have reported them to SIMI and demand action within seven working days.
There is too much space needed here to fully deal with your complaint but go with this for a start and come back if it stalls.