Your statutory rights give you six years from the date of purchase to make a claim (five years Scotland) and are in addition to any warranty that came with the laptop. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 is fundamental and says that goods including laptops must be:
- Of Satisfactory Quality
This includes fitness for purpose, life expectancy, and finish taking into account the price paid and the type and age of the laptop. For example, a cheap second-hand Netbook might be expected to have a shorter life expectancy than a brand new £2000 Apple Powerbook.
- As Described
The laptop needs to correspond to the description provided. For example, if the description states that the laptop can play DVDs when it can’t then your rights have been breached and you can get a refund.
How to get your laptop fixed for free
This depends upon when you bought the laptop. If you have just got it then you could reasonably expect your money back or a replacement rather than a repair. If the laptop was bought less than six months ago it is assumed to have been faulty when it was delivered and the shop has to prove otherwise. However, when it is more than six months since you made the purchase then you have to prove that your laptop is actually faulty and the retailer may ask for an engineers report. In practice, this is only likely to happen once the warranty has expired.
When the warranty has expired it seems to be normal practice for retailers to simply shrug their shoulders and say they cannot do anything. There is no mention of your statutory rights! In these circumstances you need to stand firm and state that the laptop is not of satisfactory quality and you are making a claim for a repair under the Sale of Goods Act and this is nothing to do with the warranty. At this stage, you will probably be talking to the manager or head office. They are likely to ask for an engineers report to prove that the item is faulty, which is reasonably and to be expected. All you need to do is find a local reputable computer repair shop and ask them for a report. Don’t worry they should reimburse you for this. If the laptop is found to be faulty then the retailer should agree to a repair. If they cannot repair the laptop they can offer a replacement or a cash refund taking into account your usage.
If they don’t agree to repair your laptop and it is less than five years since purchase then you will have to take them to the Small Claims Court. This is easier and cheaper than you may think and can be done online.
It is worth noting that when your laptop is being repaired you should not be significantly inconvenienced and depending on your circumstances you may be able to make a case for a loan laptop.