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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48804
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I'm looking legal advice about a faulty sofa.

Customer Question

Hi, I'm looking for some legal advice about a faulty sofa. I paid for my sofa to be recovered 3 weeks ago by a local retailer (we bought the original sofa from the same retailer about 8 years ago). When I went to the shop to choose the fabric I spoke with the manager and said that I needed a fabric that was "practical for children". He confirmed that the fabric I had chosen was "suitable for children". I paid a deposit of £1000 by visa debit in store on March 17th. We then had numerous issues with the customer service but eventually received the recovered sofa on April 21st. We paid the balance of £2200 in cash in the store on that date prior to the delivery. My son spilt ribena on the new sofa on Thursday 28th April. I wiped it and I was left with an unsightly mark where the sofa had been wiped. I spoke with an independent sofa cleaner and he told me that the fabric the shop have sold me cannot come into contact with any liquid thus making it "completely impractical and unfit for purpose". When I complained to the shop that the fabric was not practical they said that they had forgotten to offer me stain guard protection and to resolve the problem they would send someone to my home to spray stain guard onto the sofa and would replace the stained cover free of charge. I paid £200 (£100 per sofa) for the stain guard protection by visa debit card over the telephone on April 28th. Someone from the sofa company, with experience of spray stain guard, arrived at my home the next day and sprayed the sofa. That evening once the sofa had dried I noticed lots of marks on the fabric from the spray. I complained again to the shop on April 30th. They sent someone out to look at the sofa today who agreed that the marks were from the spray. He took photographs to show the manager. When I rang the shop this evening the manager told me that they need to contact the fabric manufacturer and ask them to investigate if there is a fault with the fabric. When I asked what will happen if the manufacturer do not find a fault they told me they cannot guarantee that they will recover the sofa for me with new fabric or offer me a refund, so I could potentially be left with a sofa covered in marks. I spoke with citizens advice today but the lady was not particularly helpful. Can anyone advise me what I'm legally entitled to? TIA Lisa
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What are you hoping to achieve exactly?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,I would ideally like a refund of the £3200 I have paid to have the sofa recovered plus a refund of the £200 I have paid for the stain guard protection. If this is not possible I would like them to recover my sofa in a different fabric that can be stain guard protected and wiped should anything be spilt on it.Please can you advise me of my rights? The company are stating that I must wait 8 days for the fabric manufacturers to inspect the sofa and determine whether the fabric is faulty. If they say it is not faulty, the retailer then want me to wait whilst they send the fabric for independent testing and then after this should no fault be found they will not commit to being able to offer a refund or a new cover.Regards,
Lisa
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I won't be able to call until the morning, if you want that service is it ok to do it then?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I will be unable to answer then. Let's just proceed with email. Thank you, Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
When a consumer makes a purchase from a business seller, being it for an item or a service, they will have certain 'statutory' rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The law states that the goods must be:· of satisfactory quality – they must not be faulty or damaged when you receive them;· as described – they must match any description given to you at the time of purchase; and· fit for purpose – they should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, If they do not match the above requirements, you will have certain legal remedies against the seller. Your rights will not be against the manufacturer as they will only be responsible if there was a manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee with the goods. Also note that there is no protection against fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage, faults that were pointed out at the time of sale or if you change your mind and no longer want the goods. In the circumstances you do have the right to argue they were not fit for purpose and you will have the following rights: 1. Reject them and request a refund - this is only possible if the rejection occurs within 30 days of purchase. 2. Ask for a repair or replacement – if you are too late to reject the goods or do not wish to get a refund straight away, you can ask the seller for a repair or replacement. If a repair has been arranged but has failed, or if a repair or replacement are not possible, you are still entitled to ask for a refund, or a price reduction. Alternatively you could get a second repair or replacement at no extra cost to you. However, the retailer can refuse if they can show that your choice is disproportionately expensive compared to the alternative. A useful rule is that if an issue appears within the first 6 months after purchase, the law assumes that they did not meet the statutory requirements at the time of sale. If the retailer disagrees, it is for them to prove that this was not the case. However, if the fault occurs more than 6 months after purchase, it would be down to the consumer to prove that they did not meet the statutory requirements set out above at the time of sale. If there is still time to reject the goods and request a refund, you may do so. If you are outside of the initial 30 days and are too late to reject them, you can still try and resolve this by contacting the seller and asking them for a repair or replacement. You can quote the applicable rights you have under the Consumer Rights Act as mentioned above. If they appear reluctant to assist, write to them one more time, warn them that they have 7 days to comply and inform them that if they fail to meet their legal obligations, you will have no choice but to report them to Trading Standards and start legal proceedings to seek compensation for your losses. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options open to you if they refuse to resolve this as requested, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi can you please tell me what options are available to me if they refuse to give me a refund?
They have told me that they need to follow their policy which is to allow the manufacturer to inspect the fabric to determine whether the fabric is faulty and then to allow an independent assessment of the fabric if necessary. I don't want this, I just want to return the sofa and get revive the refund.Please can you also advise us on the issue of the fact that we gave them our original sofa to recover so where does this leave us if we return the sofa to them?Thanks,Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. So in reality if they fail to resolve this as per your consumer rights you are going to be left in the position where you simply have to pursue them for compensation of the amount paid. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far. Also can you clarify what you mean by returning the sofa to them?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
We gave them our sofa to recover. If we pursue them for a refund or compensation, I'm assuming that we will have to give the sofa back to them? In the same manner of buying a skirt from Next, discovering it has a fault and returning it to the shop to recieve a refund.I spoke with the Citizens Advice Bureau this morning and they told me that because the company have offered to resolve the issue of the impractical fabric by recovering the stained cushion for free and spraying the sofa with stain guard, my only resolution was to ask for a "repeat performance" (i.e. to have the sofa resprayed, which would not work, or to have it recovered) or to ask for a discount on the price. Is this correct?Thanks,Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
No you won't have to give them the whole sofa - they did not build the sofa for you, they only provided a new cover, so it would either mean that you do not get the full refund to take into account the fact that they did expend time and materials into this, or they will have to try and put it back into the condition it was before they had it. As to repeat performance that does not mean that if you use it you cannot do anything after it. It is entirely possible that both the initial and repeat performances are inadequate so you can still assert your other rights afterwards if that is the case. I have to go offline in a few minutes so if you have any subsequent questions I will answer first thing morrow, thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Regarding the period 30 days to reject the goods and request a refund / compensation, does this period begin from when I paid the deposit for the goods on March 17th or from when I paid the balance and received the goods on April 21st.Regards,Lisa
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, In addition to the above question, please can you also confirm that I am correct to state in my letter to them that "it is irrelevant whether the manufacturer determines that there is a fault with the fabric because contract is with them the retailer and not with the manufacturer"?
Regards,
Lisa
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi please can you answer my final 2 questions aboveas I want to contact the retailer today.
Many thanks,
Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, the 30 days starts from delivery of the goods and yes it is correct to state that the contract is with them as the service provider/retailer, not with the manufacturer. So even if there is a fault with the fabric, it is for the retailer to resolve this not the manufacturer
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, thank you for your reply. I have since emailed the company with all of the information we discussed. I was about to send the email to them by recorded mail and checked Companies House for their full names only to find that the company was dissolved on January 26th 2016. How will this affect me getting a refund?Many thanks,Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
ok well that may make things difficult because they may simply not have the money or assets to satisfy your claim. You are now effectively an unsecured creditor of the company. Often creditors do not get what they are owed, they either get a proportion *e.g. a few pence to every pound owed) or nothing at all. You should check to see if this dissolution was following an insolvency and then contact the insolvency practitioners to notify them you are a creditor, otherwise you have limited options but these need to be discussed with a corporate lawyer as things then change a bit and it is no longer consumer law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I have attached the information from companies house. How do I find out who the insolvency practitioners are? Thanks, Lisa
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You can contact Companies House to do this - 0303(###) ###-####