Can Carphone Warehouse refuse a refund after 21 months?
QI bought a Nexus 5X (pictured) phone from Carphone Warehouse in Februaryy 2016. It’s now stuck in a boot loop, which a repair shop has told me is a known fault with the 5X’s motherboard. Various online articles support this claim. Butt Carphone Warehouse says too much time has passed for me to return the phone for a refund. Is that right?
ANo that isn’t correct. We think Carphone Warehouse is confusing Clare’s rights under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) with the various policies it has on exchanging phones – these depend on which mobile network you’re signed up to. Some network providers, including Virgin and O2, let you exchange a phone within 14 days, though you have to pay any charges used on the SIM. Vodafone and Orange don’t allow you to swap once you’ve bought the phone. For details of Carphone Warehouse’s policies visit www.snipca.com/25944.
But these policies dodon’t apply to goods that have an inherent faulfault, such as the Nexus 5X5X’S boot loop. Under the CRA, Clare can mamake a claim within six yearyears (in England and Wawales) or five years (in Scotland). Hhowever, she would need to prove the fault is inherent in the small claims court.
Clare can’t assume that the internet articles she’s read will help her case. Legally, they are regarded as ‘hearsay’, and she’ll need to ask people complaining online to sign a witness statement. Even then, a judge may dismiss this evidence. She’d also need to prove that her phone’s fault is the same as that being discussed online.
But rather than make Clare go through the small claims process, we’ll contact Carphone Warehouse on her behalf, explaining that she is confident the fault lies with the motherboard. We hope to have a successful outcome.
We’re happy to contact companies on your behalf, explaining what rights you have, and badgering them into taking the correct action. But equally we enjoy clarifying your rights so you can talk to the company yourself, and arm yourself for future battles. That’s what reader Frank Dean did, after contacting us about a faulty Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V camera (pictured) he bought in 2014 for £400 from London Camera Exchange (see Issue 511).
The retailer wanted to charge Frank for a second repair, having already clobbered him for £105 to fix the camera in 2016. It should not have done this because the camera had an inherent fault, showing the error code ‘E:62:10’, which has been widely reported online ( www.snipca.com/25953) and confirmed by Sony.
Frank explained all this, and must have made a good case because London Camera Exchange replaced his camera, and refunded him £105 for the first repair. One reason the case dragged on for so long is that Franknk bought the camera before the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act, in October 2015, which forces companies to refund or replace after one failed repair. For all products bought before then that aren’t inherently faulty, retailers can try to repair them as many times as they like.