Am I entitled to a new sound card from an online retailer?
Q Michael contacted Smart Consumer as he writes "I am currently having trouble dealing with a German sound equipment company" and he wants to know what rights he has.
He purchased a sound card last October for €269 but after a couple of days the microphone input became very noisy and unusable.
He returned the card to the company for repair but when it was sent back to him the problem hadn't been fixed so he sent it back again.
After one month he received the card back and initially it functioned fine. However, now the noise on the sound card has returned again and Michael is frustrated.
He wants a refund or an updated version and has asked for this but has yet to receive a reply.
Michael writes "I feel I am owed much more from them but your opinion would help as I am at my wit's end at the moment."
A Firstly, when Michael's sound card didn't work properly just a few days after delivery, he should have been given a new card in replacement or a refund at that stage and this didn't happen.
Now, six months later and on the third breakdown of the sound card he is still entitled to a refund.
His rights fall under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 and it doesn't make a difference that in this case Michael purchased from a German online trader.
While Michael feels he is owed more, he is entitled only to the actual loss. This means that the company isn't obliged to give him a new version and could ask him to pay the difference. So it may be a better course of action to opt for a refund and buy a new card elsewhere, with a business that gives better service.
Given that the retailer is in Germany, if Michael doesn't hear back from the company or they refuse him a refund, he should turn to the Irish European Consumer Centre (www.eccireland.ie) for help.
They deal with cross-border consumer disputes and can advise on the best course of action and, if necessary, intervene on his behalf.