Friday 19 January 2018

My mobile phone has broken down three times – can I demand a replacement?

Q Anne got in touch about a phone that keeps breaking down. She got her mobile handset at the start of October last year and didn't have to pay as it came as part of her bill-pay package.

"The problem," Anne writes "is that I have had to have it in for repair twice within a year and now it has gone again."

She explains that she "went back to the shop but they say that they have to send it away again because company policy is that the phone has to be repaired three times before they will do anything about it".

Anne wants to know if at this stage she can demand a new phone. "To me a brand new phone should not have to be repaired even twice and if it does, then a replacement phone should be given. This has not even been offered," she notes.

A When a new handset breaks down three times in one year (through no fault of your own), then it seems likely there is a fault with the phone.

Assuming this to be the case, Anne has her consumer rights under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. This entitles her to a remedy for a faulty product.

This is entirely separate and in addition to any manufacturer's warranty she may have, plus her rights are separate to any retailer's rule about the number of repairs.

It should be noted that the legislation does not specify that an item be repaired three times or that a defective product can't be replaced after so many days of purchase.

However, a rule of thumb would be that when something is brand new and becomes faulty soon after purchase, you would expect a replacement or refund straight away. Or if the fault occurs later on, as in Anne's case, you'd expect a repair first and if that doesn't work, you would move on to the other options.

Anne is certainly within her rights to request a replacement phone.

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Irish Independent

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