With the knowledge that this is not an isolated incident we feel that we should bring it to the attention of those countless customers of the national retailer who have their own ideas how to avoid replacing faulty electrical goods.

You purchase a product from a national company  with a 2-year guarantee clearly marked prominently on the box.

Just after the first year the iron decided it doesn't need the thermostat and as a consequence the iron becomes a dangerous object.

Confident you return to the store with your receipt and faulty goods and you are told to contact the manufacturer as it appears the 2-year guarantee is split 50/50 between the retailer and the manufacturer. There is nothing written under the prominent 2-year-guarantee notices on the box to the effect that this is so.

The customer after being told that she must contact the manufacture decided to contact the Head Office of the Store and was told to take the iron to a repairer in the town and if it couldn't be repaired -it would be replaced.

In later contacting the manager of the local store and explaining that you were under the impression that it was not necessary to contact the manufacturer but that the store should replace the faulty goods and not expect the customer to have to go to the time and expense of having to have the matter dealt with elsewhere. At first the manager was full of apology but said it was company policy to refer the customer to the manufacturer after the first year's guarantee. The product cost 26 so many no doubt would say cannot be bothered and buy a new product but many other people and there will be many of them at the height of the recession will be more determined to get what they paid for-which in this case was a product with a 2-year guarantee clearly and prominently marked on both sides of the box.

This same retailer only recently put out a


in  growing circulation of a premier


many of the goods advertised were of approximately of the lower priced bargains.

Having not achieved a replacement of the item from the local retailer a email was sent to the Head Office of the company and after a week yet another email.  NO REPLY RECEIVED .But the sorry tale continued when the purchaser was given a telephone number to ring locally in order to take the faulty product to a repairer in the town in order that a decision can be made whether the goods could be repaired.

What with phone calls - petrol and three visits and no satisfaction at all on obtaining the replacement of goods,  clearly and prominently displaying a 2-year guarantee and  the way the customer was being treated, it is a warning that many retailers still do not keep their customers on side -and that telling the customer that they must contact the manufacturer is not what we would have thought was the first priority of a good reputable electrical supplier.

It is often said: "We do not guarantee products"

This has no basis in law. Your rights as a consumer apply whether you have a written guarantee or not.


'It is not our problem'. Try the manufacturer'  This is not true. Your contract is with the trader who supplied the goods and services and  that party is legally obliged to put things right


.'You are too late. You should have complained within 30 days' Do not accept time limits of this sort. Whether you are complaining about goods and services, even if it is too late to get a full refund (i.e. the 'reasonable ' period of time elapsed) your rights to compensation last for six years (five in Scotland)


'You caused the problem, not us'  You should not be deterred by this tactic. If for example, the floor you had just had laid in your bathroom starts  to warp because of contact with water, do not be put off claiming

'We cannot do anything without a receipt' Having a receipt is not a legal requirement for obtaining redress. If the trader asks for proof of purchase, a receipt is useful. A credit - card voucher, for example would be legally acceptable.

[These details from WHICH? Consumer Guides 150 letters that Get Results by Ashley Holmes and Jane O' Leary-333 pages of useful hints and advice.]