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My shredder is 'dead'. Can I return it to the store?

Q James contacted Smart Consumer about a shredder.

He bought it in April 2011 and has the receipt (it cost approximately €30) but, he writes, "recently the shredder just died".

James wants to return it to the store but wants to check out his rights first. "Do I have 12 months from purchase to get this sorted?" he asks.

A James is protected by consumer protection legislation, but there is nothing about 12 months in the law.

When it comes to a time frame for getting a remedy for a defective product, Irish legislation doesn't prescribe one. But you must take into account the expected lifespan of the product and accept some normal wear and tear. And needless to say your rights will be strongest closest to the purchase date.

Under our statute of limitations, you have six years from purchase to make a claim, for example using the small claims procedure.

In this case it is reasonable to expect a shredder to last longer than a year with normal wear and tear. If it breaks, then the assumption is that there is a defect.

So under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, James is entitled to a remedy -- repair, replacement or refund -- and it is the shop's obligation to provide it.

Taking this advice, James went back to the shop and put his case to them. But it wasn't easy. The shop explained they couldn't offer a replacement because they didn't have a similar shredder in stock. Then they said they would have to contact the manufacturer to enquire about a remedy. James correctly pointed out that his contract was with them, the seller.

He has since got in touch to say that happily the shop has now ordered a replacement shredder for him.

Irish Independent