Thursday 23 November 2017

Smart Consumer : Why should I pay for phone damage that isn't my fault?

Jim Hayes contacted Smart Consumer about a Vodafone phone he bought before Christmas.

He writes: "It worked initially for about a week, then after a full charge there was a display fault with lines on the LCD. I returned it to the shop within 14 days, and the phone was sent for technical investigation. The phone was returned with the prognosis of physical damage, so it's my responsibility!"

Jim continues: "I was told I could pay a €60 repair charge but I would rather buy a sim-free phone from another company than pay for damage which I feel is not my responsibility."

This is a tricky situation, as Vodafone says the phone is not faulty but you say you did not cause any damage.

The problem here is that if the phone is faulty, the shop is obliged to provide you with a remedy but if there is no fault, they are not.

I contacted Vodafone to find out more and they responded with the following, including some good news for you:

"In this case, the conclusion of the investigation was that the phone was damaged. However, we accept that in this particular instance it cannot be proved that the customer caused this damage, and so as a gesture of goodwill Vodafone will replace the phone and apologises for the inconvenience."

Q Gerard Reidy had tickets to fly to Paris on January 6 last with his wife, but was grounded. He writes: "We were unable to take off from Dublin airport due to snow and after many 'adventures' we spent the night in a hotel and decided to return home.

"We were told we would have to contact the airline to re-schedule, so we opted to return home instead. We did get a refund for the flight.

"We contacted Customer Relations in Dublin Airport. We quoted EU Regulation 261/2004 and requested a refund of accommodation expenses (€140) and meal costs (€71.90), for which we supplied receipts. We also lost the accommodation costs for that night in Paris as it was too late to cancel.

"To date, we have not even received an acknowledgement of our letter and would like to know what we should do now?"

A When a flight is cancelled you should be given a choice to either fly on a rescheduled flight at the next available time or at a later date or to get a refund for the ticket. You opted for the latter and did receive a refund for your flight cost.

In relation to the airline's obligation to passengers, they should provide meals, a telephone call or email and accommodation if that is required. However this is for passengers who are waiting to fly on a rescheduled flight, as they still have a contract.

As you cancelled your booking, you no longer had a contract with them so they have no obligation to you.

Under the regulation you quoted, the airline should provide you with information on these rights, so that you are fully aware of the entitlements you have.

Also, you say you sent your letter of complaint to Dublin Airport customer services, but I suggest sending one to the airline, as it was with them that you had your contract.

For all those seeking financial services advice from the Financial Regulator, news is in that this consumer service has now been handed over to the National Consumer Agency.

Completion of the handover will take a few months, so you can keep contacting 1890 77 77 77 or check out www.itsyourmoney.ie.

Irish Independent

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