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WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS ON FAULTY KITCHENS?

Without doubt, you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement on faulty kitchens.

When you buy a fitted kitchen, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that it must be fit for purpose, as described, and of satisfactory quality. Let’s say your newly fitted kitchen develops a fault. Perhaps the doors a badly fitted or the drawers are wonky.

You only need to give a retailer one opportunity to remedy the same fault.

 

Consumer rights faulty kitchen

Before embarking on the heavy stuff, ask your supplier if they have a complaints process, large firms would but small traders may not. You need to give your supplier every opportunity to settle it before you take legal action. 

Supposing, the kitchen that was fitted in your home does not look like the sample that you saw.

Section 13. Consumer Rights Act 2015: Goods to match a sample Under this section, if a consumer enters into a contract for goods based on a sample, the final goods delivered must match the sample, except that any differences brought to the consumer’s attention before the contract is made would not breach this requirement.

In the above example, the supplier must put it right, whether it is a kitchen retailer, DIY store, or local handyman.

You could call the supplier and explain to them calmly and politely that it is wrong. Fingers crossed; they’ll fix it. But, even though they were nice and promised you fast action, nothing happened. After some time, you still have the wrong or faulty kitchen.

Consumer Law 30 days

Time is ebbing away.  You have a very short-term right to reject faulty goods. It is only within 30 days under Section 22 (3) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to get a full refund.

It is fair to say  that no retailer will tell you that you are entitled to a full refund with no questions asked.

It may not be that simple because you do have to prove that the goods are faulty.

Not all suppliers are bad, but not all suppliers are good either. They can all be very nice and say all the things that they think you want to hear but do nothing to fix the problem. Time is against you.

After 30 days have passed and up to 6 months from the date of fitting, the onus is on the supplier to prove that the kitchen was fault-free when it was fitted.  This would be difficult with the wrong kitchen, but easier with a wonky drawer or door.

The good news is that you are entitled to one repair free of charge, a refund, or a replacement. The bad news is that you cannot choose which option you want.

You lost your best option in the first 30 days if nothing was done. In hindsight, that was when you should have called Impel Legal and got our Paralegal to act on your behalf. Now, the onus is on you to prove that the kitchen was faulty when sold.
reporting a faulty kitchen
You may need to call in, and pay for an independent survey/report from a qualified technician/inspector. Another way is to do some sleuth work by researching the make and model of your kitchen for common faults of that model, range, or in general, with many kitchen componentsl. It may sound complicated, but many goods share common faults and it proves that it is a common issue, overriding the need for an independent survey report.

If this sounds overwhelming we at Impel Legal could task our Paralegal with undertaking the research as part of your claim (should you choose to use us).

We keep banging the drum about The Consumer Rights Act 2015 but it is important to know that it  gives you, the consumer,  an implied statutory warranty in law for up to 6 years in England and Wales and 5 years in Scotland.

Its good to know, but, the big question is …

HOW DO I COMPLAIN ABOUT A FITTED KITCHEN?

If you don’t want to take this on alone and you would rather have Impel Legal’s paralegal to act on your behalf. Send us an email at mail@ukhq.com and give us a brief outline about your case and we’ll provide a proposal for you to consider.

Whether you choose our Paralegal or decide to go it alone, you need to gather evidence.

Take photos, lots of them. Defective parts, shoddy workmanship, everything that you are not happy about.

All complaints should be put in writing.  Paper trails are crucial for evidence. Try to keep phone calls to a minimum, even though you are told that they are recorded for training purposes! Always take the name of the person you spoke to and do this at the start of the conversation.

You need to follow up on the phone conversation by email to confirm what was discussed and agreed upon, so a phone call may not be necessary. Emails are a great paperless chain of communication.

Deadlines are crucial. Put a deadline on everything. This is especially important within the first 30 days because suppliers often try and drag the case out until you have gone past the short-term right to reject under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 

Suppliers are not going to make it easy for you to reject an expensive item. In fairness, the supplier’s staff may not be aware of the law and your rights. They may be trained to respond to customer complaints with stock comments and replies. Even though you demand to speak to a manager, they never return your call. This fob off simply eats into your time and legal rights.

It is worth contacting your local Trading Standards but if they are busy, you will be among many on their list. Standards can take a business to Court or stop it from operating, but they cannot help you get a refund.

Check online reviews to see if there is a theme or if there are other complaints with different traders that may support your claim.Faulty goods refund

CAN I GET A REFUND ON A FAULTY KITCHEN?

Yes, you are entitled to a refund, but only if the kitchen is beyond repair.  The supplier may deduct an amount for wear and tear after 6 months have elapsed, another can of worms.

Let’s take a look at Section 24 (10) Consumer Rights Act 2015. It states that no deduction can be made if the final right to reject the goods is exercised within the first 6 months.  (not if the goods consist of a motor vehicle).

faulty goods refund

It is important to note that the first 6 months is defined as when ownership or possession of the goods was transferred to the consumer. So, in terms of a fitted kitchen, it was upon completion and handed over.

There is a sweetener in that a consumer may also be entitled to out-of-pocket expenses that they may have incurred as a result of the retailer’s negligence.

If the kitchen wasn’t functioning as expected and you were forced to pay out for goods or services to remedy a problem, then you can claim for this money. It’s a good idea though to bring this up in writing early in the claim as opposed to springing on the supplier when things are getting heavy.

So during early communication, advise the supplier of items that are not functioning properly and the costs involved in putting them right, giving them a deadline to do so.

Hindsight is a marvellous thing, but where possible it is advisable to

PAY AT LEAST A DEPOSIT BY CREDIT CARD

The reason why we suggest this is because any goods that cost more than £100 are jointly covered by Section 75 of Consumer Credit Act 1974. You are still covered even if you just pay one penny deposit.

consumer rights uk pay by credit card

It means that the credit card provider is jointly liable in the event of a consumer dispute about faulty goods or shoddy workmanship. This valuable asset is a free insurance policy and really worth using.

When instigating a claim with your credit card provider you should cite ‘breach of contract’ under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  It may not be a quick and simple process as claims are often rejected on the first attempt. So be prepared to bang your fist on the table.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CHARGEBACK IF POSSIBLE

If you have paid by debit card or credit card you can raise a chargeback within 120 days.

Banks have a voluntary code in relation to chargebacks for debit card payments although they are not covered by S75 Consumer Credit Act 1974.

comsumer law faulty kitchen

Again, you may need to bang your fists down hard on this and cite ‘breach of contract’ under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 because all too often claims are rejected on first attempts.

This is why it is essential to pay by credit card wherever possible for Section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1974 protection.

In summary

CAN I INSIST ON A REFUND FOR A FAULTY KITCHEN?

Yes, you can insist on a refund if the kitchen is broken or faulty.

You have the right to return the faulty kitchen within 30 days and get a full refund if it is not fit for purpose, as described or satisfactory quality under S22 (3) Consumer Rights Act 2015. The supplier is responsible for the collection of faulty goods.

WHAT ARE THE TIME LIMITS FOR A REFUND ON FAULTY KITCHENS?

A refund must be issued without undue delay according to Section 45 Consumer Rights Act 2015, and in any event, within 14 days beginning on the day that the supplier agreed to a refund.

The supplier is not allowed to impose any fee on the consumer in respect of the refund.

WHAT IS THE GUARANTEE PERIOD ON A KITCHEN?

Kitchen warranties or guarantees vary among suppliers. You can see them anywhere between 5 years to 25 years. The price tag often dictates the guarantee, the more expensive the kitchen the longer the warranty. Bespoke kitchens usually have a longer guarantee.

Is a guarantee worth the paper it is written on? The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives the consumer an implied statutory warranty at no cost for up to 6 years in England and Wales and 5 years in Scotland. That is better than any warranty provided by most suppliers.

FAULTY FITTINGS ON KITCHEN UNITS or  POOR WORKMANSHIP

Act immediately if you are not satisfied with your new kitchen. Allow the supplier an opportunity to put it right. It may be a simple honest error.

Remember Section 23 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives consumers the right to a repair or replacement.

Section 23 (2) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that if the consumer requires the trader to repair or replace the goods, the trader must do so within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, and bear any necessary costs incurred in doing so (including in particular the cost of any labour, materials or postage).

 

Let’s look at a few of the important sections to the Consumer Rights Act 2015

Section 49 states that a service is to be performed with reasonable care and skill. This covers the fitting of kitchen units and appliances.

The consumer only needs to give a trader one opportunity to fix the same fault. If that fails, the consumer is entitled to a full refund. Some wear and tear deductions apply only once 6 months have elapsed.

Section 52 states that a service is to be performed within a reasonable time.

Section 55 gives consumers a right to repeat performance. The consumer is entitled to have the work remedied at no cost to them. It includes the cost of any labour or materials within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

Always try and have a fair balance so that you are seen as being reasonable.  A compromise or two is good and may be necessary it shows a willingness too. Suppliers are not all faceless corporations, many are small firms and sole traders who have rights and expectations as well as consumers.

We cannot stress this enough. Record keeping is important. Diaries and timelines are good. Keep accurate bullet points of events and communications together with names, times and dates. Putting all communications in writing wherever possible will pay dividends in the long run, especially if the case goes to court,

SMALL CLAIMS COURT

It may be a daunting task, however, we can help if you decide to take your claim to the Small Claims Court.  It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and good to know that we will act on your behalf.

 

County Court or Small Claims Court hearings are not as formal as Crown courts or even Magistrates Courts, don’t expect to see a traditional Judge in all his or her regalia.

 

Even though they are less formal, the court will need to see proof that you have made every attempt to resolve your dispute with the supplier and that you are using the small claims court route as the last resort.

In terms of costs, there is a sliding scale of fees which are refundable if you win your case.               

Amount claimed up to £300 – £35
Amount claimed between £300 and £500 – £50        
Amount claimed over £500 to £1,000 – £70  
Amount claimed over £1,000 to £1,500 – £80
Amount claimed over £1,500 to £3,000 – £115
Amount claimed over £3,000 to £5,000 – £205
Amount claimed over £5,000 to £10,000 – £455
Amount claimed over £10,000 to £200,000 – 5% of claim (including any interest claimed) Amount claimed over £200,000 or an unlimited amount – £10,000       

It’s not a good idea to spring surprises or drop bombshells on your supplier. Make a last-ditch effort in trying to resolve your dispute with the supplier by informing them in writing why you intend to make a claim against them.  Suggest a timetable with a list of actions that you want them to take. Explain that you are prepared to go to Court should they fail to follow that timetable. Be fair and realistic with that agenda.

If you have exhausted all the options available to you, it is time to complete a Small Claims form. Again, we can do this for you. Don’t return the completed form yet.

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

We would send a ‘letter before action’ to the supplier with a copy of the completed Small Claim form, telling them you are giving them 14 days’ notice before proceeding with your claim. You can do this too, some people prefer to let a paralegal take on the case management..

A ‘letter before action’ is a formal letter that puts the supplier on notice, giving them one final opportunity to settle your case.

Sending it by email is perfectly acceptable. There is no legal requirement to use Royal Mail or indeed recorded delivery.

This is the time to bring everything together, along with the ‘letter before action’ a comprehensive synopsis must be included that outlines the basis on which the claim is being made.  It is a summary of the facts, outlining what you want and how the sum of money is calculated.

This bundle should include all key documents relevant to your dispute and should be relied on in Court along with vital proof that you have exhausted all avenues while attempting to resolve your dispute out of Court.

The letter should close with a clear concise statement outlining that you will initiate Court proceedings if you do not receive a reply within the stated timeline.

 

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