Sunday 15 September 2019

Know your rights: Dermott Jewell, consumer expert

Manufacturing fault with a carpet and underlay, issues transferring apps on iTunes and a problem with a hotel bill. What are your rights? Our expert has the answers...

The iTunes program icon on a desktop.
The iTunes program icon on a desktop.

Q: Three months ago we spent €1,700 on carpet and underlay for our sitting and dining room. After it was fitted we noticed the floor looked uneven and bumpy in places but were assured it would settle down. Now, the carpet has become thin and patchy where we walk through the rooms and you can even feel the underlay underneath. The shop admits it is a manufacturing fault and has given us the details to write to or email them. They suggest also sending photos to strengthen our case. We would appreciate your advice before we do so.

A: I have to say that I am so angry to hear that you, or any consumer who pays good money, could be treated so badly by what are, clearly, a retail outlet who care nothing about your legal rights. You say they have admitted there is a manufacturing fault - which is just about the only positive action they have taken here! Don't let them fob you off. Your contract is with this shop, not the carpet manufacturer and so it is up to the shop to immediately remedy your problem.

You can tell them that your rights come under the Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act, 1980 and, because the carpet they supplied and fitted is of poor quality and not, in any way, fit for its intended purpose, you are entitled to a full refund or replacement. I suggest you demand an immediate refund as I would consider it best you took your business where it is appreciated and supported.

Give no time for delay here. Make it clear that, if the refund is not made immediately, then you will pursue them legally through the Small Claims Court or through your solicitor - which will be more costly for them.

Q: I downloaded and paid for an app recently through iTunes and no matter what I do it simply will not load content on to my iPad. I have been trying unsuccessfully to get it reloaded but the only way I can find requires me to pay for it again. I cannot get through the system on the iPad and so am at a total loss as to who to contact or what to do and would appreciate some advice please.

A: I appreciate your frustration with this problem, and I am hearing more of this happening, especially with software-supporting apps. It is a consumer problem because you have bought and paid for something that is no use, but it requires a whole new approach to try and resolve it.

I have made checks and my research finds that the best way to get your refund is to go to your main computer and use the iTunes software on it. It can't be done through your iPad. When you go into your account info click on 'Purchase History' through the store and then 'See All'.

When you find your dodgy app click on 'report a problem'. Outline the issue, submit it and then, on the next page, select 'request refund'. Why it's on the next page? I am far too cynical to get into that here.

Q: I had a major problem recently with a hotel bill, the detail of which I will not go into here. However, I have been told recently that there would have been some benefit to me if I had used my credit card to pay but cannot for the life of me understand how that could be the case. More to the point I gather that it was your good self who is 'credited' with the advice. Could you explain please?

A: Yes, I would be the advisor in this case and it is because of the fantastic benefit we enjoy from Section 14 of the Sales of Goods and Supply of Services Act, 1980 that we so regularly rely upon as consumers. In plain English, Section 14 makes a credit card provider equally and jointly liable with a retailer for resolving a consumers' valid complaint.

Because the payment is made 'up front' by the credit card company they are deemed to have a stake in the issue as, to all intents and purposes, they paid for it, for a time it was theirs and so are contractually obligated. This does not work with a debit card as the payment is immediate, the equivalent of cash and comes directly out of your current account.

Irish Independent

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