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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I have a digital camera which I purchased in c.2007. It was

Resolved Question:

Hi.
I have a digital camera which I purchased in c.2007. It was £5,000 for the body of the camera alone. It is a Canon.
The battery has now stopped holding its charge. And the product needs a service. It is effectively useless without either of these.
The batteries are no longer supplied by Canon and their service centres are refusing to service the camera because they cannot get parts any longer and are worried they will damage it.
So I am left in a position where I have bought a high end Canon product in good faith but it has been rendered useless as the battery no longer holds a charge and I can't get it serviced.
I have been told there is legislation to protect me but am unclear what it is. I have requested Canon provide me with a replacement Camera to put me back in the position intended when I made the purchase but they have refused.
Please help!
Adam
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks Ben - I'd appreciate knowing if this is something worth fighting and if so how I should approach it.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Have they offered you an alternative or compatible option at all?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No nothing at all - they basically said they retained parts til January 2015 and now can't help me at all
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok great thanks Ben. All they did was apologise for my "disappointment and inconvenience". Charming!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

No problem at all. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. unfortunately it is not necessarily going to be good news. The legislation that protects you was the Sale of Goods Act, now replaced by the Consumer Rights Act.

The law says that when a consumer makes a purchase from a business seller, they will have certain 'statutory' rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

The goods must be of satisfactory quality, as described and fit for purpose. If they are not, you will have certain legal remedies against the seller. The only time action can be taken against the manufacturer is under a manufacturer's warranty or guarantee. 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.

If the goods are not as described, of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose, you have the following rights:

1. Reject the goods and request a refund - this is only possible if the rejection occurs within a 'reasonable time'. This period depends on the circumstances, although it is generally accepted to be within the first month after purchase, so must not be delayed.

2. Ask for a repair or replacement – if you are too late to reject the goods, you can ask the seller for a repair or replacement without causing any significant inconvenience.

A useful rule is that if the goods are returned within the first 6 months after purchase, the law assumes that they did not conform to 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 goods are returned more than 6 months after purchase, it would be down to the consumer to prove that the goods did not meet the statutory requirements set out above at the time of sale.

So basically your rights are only against the seller, not the manufacturer and now that you are outside of the warranty period you cannot hold the manufacturer liable in any way. Also your rights against the seller are only valid for 6 years which is the time limit within which a formal claim must be made if they did not adhere to the legal obligations they had. If the camera was bought in 2007, then this would mean you are some 3 years out of time to make any sort of claim.

The only way to resolve this may be to try and fix it privately or by finding a place that may keep such spare arts, for example salvaged from old models of these cameras.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks my understanding was there was European level legislation designed to give manufacturers the obligation to support fast developing technology for a reasonable time?Adam
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

No such legislation that I am aware of and my research has not found anything of the sort either. I have also consulted several colleagues and they are all in agreement that no such specific legislation exists. There are a couple of short articles on the subject and whilst it relates to slightly different industries, the position is the same:

http://www.ipesearch.co.uk/page_457754.asp

http://www.whitegoodstradeassociation.org/for-public-mainmenu-43/spare-parts-mainmenu-54

Hope this clarifies

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks Ben (hope court went well!). There has to be a question over their comment that they have "disappointed and inconvenienced" me with their actions? It just can't be fair to the consumer that they'd sell a piece of equipment of that value (not the literal value but the value relative to that product market) without an expectation that it would be maintained in terms of ability to enjoy. It's not broken as a camera. It works. It's not wear and tear. But I can't maintain it and I can't get power to it because their battery technology ( that they've now changed) degraded - which I wasn't warned of. The frustrating point is that the camera is good, but I am prevented from using it and enjoying it because canon has made it a paperweight! And, having invested £12,000 in lenses to fit the camera I am now "obliged" to buy another canon camera or face an even bigger financial black hole. It seems they write their own cheque as you are tied in by the ancillary purchases that are rendered useless if the camera doesn't work. What use is a £2500 lends if the camera it fits on doesn't have a battery. It's not just the camera cost/point. The main cost is actually the related purchases!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

I completely understand your points and frustration. But technology has to move on and eventually it will become unsustainable for companies to provide support for all historical products they have manufactured. I know what the ideal situation would be and agree with you, but then we have to consider what the actual legal position is too. And in the circumstances, it is unfortunately not favourable to your situation.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for coming back so promptly Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Yo are welcome and sorry I could not bring more positive news. I would still try and psh them for some compensation for this, perhaps discount on any products

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Agree. That's what I am seeking. Not the item, or value. But for them to value a customer and the intent we had when I bought the item as its not a "disposable" product like a washing machine. It's actually unusable until you buy the expensive ancillary products which have a far longer life and are still sold now. So the lens still works but the camera that makes it a viable product is not. It's the same as me telling someone they have the best flat money can buy but the foundations we built it on are eroded!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

The only issue is that this would be a decision based on goodwill rather than law

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

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