A two-year EU Directive on the Sale of Goods?


Earlier this year, the papers were full of this – a European Directive entitling all European consumers to a repair or a replacement for goods which fail within two years of purchase. It was not new but clearly stated that “Sellers … are obliged to guarantee the conformity of the goods with the contract for a period of two years after the delivery of the goods”.

After it hit the headlines, store managers and companies around the UK started to get numerous calls from consumers citing this Directive and demanding enforcement of their consumer rights. But reporting of this EU Directive has not helped what is already a source of much confusion among traders and consumer alike.

In reality, this European law, is no substitute for what we already have in the UK in the form of Sale of Goods Act 1979. Under this act, consumers in the UK have the statutory right to expect products which are of “satisfactory quality and fit for purpose”. It enables us to request a repair, replacement or even a refund at any time, bearing in mind the price you have paid and the expected lifetime of the product. In many cases, this may be longer than two years and could be anything up to six.

What tends to confuse consumers and allow traders to wriggle out of their legal obligations under Sale of Goods, is the mention of guarantees or warranties (essentially the same thing). How many of us are under the impression that once a product is ‘out of warranty’, the retailer or supplier is no longer responsible? Wrong. Your statutory rights under Sale of Goods mean you may still be entitled to a repair, replacement or a refund long after the warranty has expired. And don’t be told otherwise!

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11 comments… add one

  • Denise Mclaren 21 July, 4:10 pm

    I purchased a gas cooker on line from appliancesdeals.co.uk for £550 free standing over. While I have no problem with the rings with the automatic ignition or the clock which is electric when I try to put the oven on and the automatic ignition tries to light it it blows the elctrics out for the whole house. I have rang the company who state its out of warranty given I purchased it in April 08 and they pass me onto the manufacturer Cannon who wnat to charge me an engineers fee. I wait at least 30 mins on the phone trying to get through to someone and dont see why I have to pay for someone to fix it when its only 14 months old and the fault appeared at 14 months old can you help as no one wants to take responsibility with a charge to cover the cost of repair.

    Reply
  • Florentin VADUVA 20 November, 7:50 pm

    Hello.I have buy a kindle 3g from Amazon.co.uk. A few days ago, kindle stop working properly. The screen it fail to render text to all area. The limited warranty of on year it pass, with 2 weeks. I have contact customer care from amazon.co.uk for resolve my problem, a hiden defect that appear now. It is a know defect with this model o kindle. Many buyers have this problem. The screen is intact, there is no scratch on it, in fact may kindle it look like new. The answer from amazon :
    ——–
    Dear Ms Vaduva,

    My name is Sean Murphy and I represent the Executive Customer Relations Group within Amazon.co.uk and in this capacity, your correspondence has been brought to my attention.

    Amazon provides a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty for this item. We also comply with our obligations as a retailer under the relevant legislation such as the Sales of Goods Act in the UK. Under the Sale of Goods Act, a consumer is granted recourse against a seller of goods if those goods were defective at the time of purchase. This may include, in certain circumstances, repair, refund or replacement but only to the extent that doing so is not disproportionate to the value of the goods, having regard to the use the customer has already had of the goods and the nature of the goods.

    I do understand the inconvenience caused by this situation. However, assuming your Kindle was inherently defective, we regard a charge of £50 plus shipping as fair to replace an item of this type and value that has been used for 13 months.

    Regards,

    ———

    It is right ? Why don´t replace only the screen from my kindle ? The expected life time for this type and generation ok e-ink screen it is arround 50000 hours.( 5 years).
    How can i do ?

    Best regards

    Reply
  • MXR Carbon Copy 22 November, 2:14 am

    It?s really a cool and helpful piece of info. I?m happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Rod S 21 January, 7:03 am

    Good old Amazon and Seán Murphy – I wonder if he really exists or is just a made up name as that name allways appears if you complain.

    In my case, top of the range plasma TV failed at less than 14 months old, total failure, not just a minor fault.

    Seán Murphy says that neither the EU directive nor the Sale of Goods Act apply to Amazon after 12 months.

    I’ve been forced to lodge a claim in the Small Claims Court, quite easy now that it’s online but quite expensive and no guarantee of success.

    Reply
  • Jerry Sayers 4 February, 5:46 pm

    Hi, I also have a Kindle 3G that has started playing up after 15 months. If the expected lifespan of the screen is 5 years, surely I should expect better than having to pay £50 for an out of warranty replacement?

    I love my Kindle, but am not impressed with Amazon’s attitude!

    Reply
  • Lawgirl 9 August, 12:08 am

    Amazon is not exactly meeting its obligations under the Sale of Goods Act and the Consumer Protection Regs. I suggest people write to the Office of Fair Trading asking them to look into Amazon’s practices regarding replacing goods, particularly the Kindle. They won’t advise on individual cases but if enough people complain they might actually do something to help future customers. An awful lot of Kindles seem to be breaking just after 12 months, which means that either the product is likely to last 12 months (in which case Amazon should say so) or that there is a manufacturing problem and there should be refunds for those (per the Sale of Goods Act) who have not had the reasonable use they might have had it not been for the fault.

    Reply
  • Liz Lumsden 27 August, 9:01 pm

    I have the iphone 4 and the button at the top is completely jammed. it is 22months old. am i entitled to a replacement?

    Reply
  • I. Campbell 4 September, 2:52 pm

    My Kindle was bought in April 2011 and stopped working August 2012. The usual cracked screen issue which was obviusly not resolved by a full charge or a 20 second reset. After a call to Amazon they are willing to replace it with a new model at a 20% discount. The Sale of Goods Act (SOGA) requires three things: the goods must be as described; they must be of satisfactory quality, which is determined by description, price, durability, freedom from minor defects; and they must be fit for purpose.

    SOME Kindles quite clearly fail on the durability stakes. I know we live in a throw-away society but it galls me to see a company like Amazon turn their back on their many customers who like me see the device fail after 16 months of light use.

    The guys in the Kindle support department are doing a great job in difficult circumstances but when you can hear the identical script being read out to other customers in the background you know there’s an issue. Maybe it’s the demographic of the average Kindle buyer that makes them so passive about asserting their rights but I’ll be following the advice below which I think should be made “Sticky” at the top of this forum.

    “Amazon is not exactly meeting its obligations under the Sale of Goods Act and the Consumer Protection Regulations. I suggest people write to the Office of Fair Trading asking them to look into Amazon’s practices regarding replacing goods, particularly the Kindle. They won’t advise on individual cases but if enough people complain they might actually do something to help future customers. An awful lot of Kindles seem to be breaking just after 12 months, which means that either the product is likely to last 12 months (in which case Amazon should say so) or that there is a manufacturing problem and there should be refunds for those (per the Sale of Goods Act) who have not had the reasonable use they might have had it not been for the fault.”

    Reply
  • D.Williams 18 October, 6:33 pm

    Re Kindle 3g: for info.

    My Kindle also developed the screen problem after about 11 months and 3 weeks. I managed to get a replacement promised after several phone calls and emails, again Seán Murphy was involved, but it took some time and effort, and several weeks before delivery. The screen problem developed whilst it was not being used, and in a protective case. What happens when the replacement fails after about another 12 months? This problem is obviously a generic fault; there should be a recall and replacement with a reliable product.

    Reply
  • Derek Johnson 31 August, 9:42 am

    I bought a Tom-Tom (XL Classic One) from Halfords for just over £100 in May last year which has ‘frozen’ and no longer functions. I have been through various extensive tests & processes with Tom-Tom via phone/online, and although they were most helpful, the end result is that the device needs to be repaired, which they are willing to do at a cost of 85 Euro – about £70. Although I have lost the receipt, I did register the device on line with Tom-Tom when I purchased it and they have concurred with that.
    If I choose to scrap the device they will allow me 20% off the cost of a new one, provided I purchase it from them.
    Am I being treated fairly here?

    Reply
  • Chris Simpson 7 December, 7:30 pm

    I have an iphone 4s. I have had it for 1 year 5 months. It has stopped picking up wifi signals and the ‘button’ to turn this on an doff no longer moves or works. I have rung apple and they have said that it is the phone provider ee’s job to sort the problem. EE have said that it is not their problem and I have to contact apple or pay to leave my contract or for a replacement phone. Reading lots about eu laws and consumer rights it seems that ee have to sort the problem at their cost. How do I show that it is their job to sort the problem at their cost? presuming I have understood everything correctly.

    Reply