Mr Benny had owned his satnav for almost a year so was only entitled to a 'fit for purpose' replacement of the same make and model or one acceptable to him
In November 2010 I bought a Tomtom XL sat nav from Argos. Six weeks ago the sat nav packed up.
Argos returned it to Tomtom and eventually I was given a replacement. But Argos was unable to inform me what sort of guarantee it had, or if the item was new or refurbished.
I then spoke to Tomtom and was told the sat nav was ‘not necessarily’ new and was likely to be a refurbished device and if there was a guarantee it would only run for six months.
Mr Benny was not sure what rights he had if the replacement device became faulty. He also wanted to know if he should have been given “a new item off the shelf, and if it was not my fault and I was sold a faulty item, why the reduced guarantee?”
This is quite a simple case to answer. Under the Sale of Goods Act, after a certain time has elapsed, the customer is not entitled to a new device just because the original one turns out to be faulty.
Some retailers will do a swap with a new product, but it is perfectly legal to offer a refurbished device as a replacement if the original can’t be repaired.
However the customer can’t be fobbed of with any old bit of tat; any replacement must be ‘fit for purpose’ and of the same make and model, or if this is not possible, one acceptable to the customer.
If this is not possible, the customer is entitled to a refund, but this will be pro rata and take into consideration the age and cost of the device and how much use it has given.
Now that he has a refurbished sat nav, he should not worry too much that it will only have a six-month warranty. Manufacturers do not have to offer a warranty in the first place and, when they do, it is a statement of their belief in the device.
However, these warranties do not override statutory consumer law. Any refurbished item must be fit for purpose. If an inherent fault becomes apparent after six months, he still has protection under the SoG Act (see below).
It is reasonable to expect that the refurbished product should last as long as the original would have. But Mr Benny has to take into account that the original was already nearly a year old.
So, for example, if a device fails after three years and a refurbished replacement is given, you can’t expect it to last as long as a new product. The onus will be on Mr Benny to prove that the fault is inherent and not caused by accidental damage or fair wear and tear.
Rights for refurbished goods
The SoG Act gives up to six years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and up to five years in Scotland in which to seek redress for inherently faulty goods. That doesn’t mean all goods are expected to last six years, as product lifespan depends on many factors.
If someone buys or is offered a refurbished product this still applies, with the proviso the goods may not be expected to last as long as a new device.
Updating your subscription status