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emily4422, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 80
Experience:  Barrister with several years crown court experience, practised in advising clients on the merits of their cases
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In Nov. 2012 I bought a winter rug, from an internet seller,

Customer Question

In Nov. 2012 I bought a winter rug, from an internet seller, for my horse but it developed a fault 2 days later. I contacted the supplier & provided them with pictures of the fault & they said they would contact the manufacturer and get back to me but they didn't. I couldn't get a reply via email or telephone for months. I had hoped they would provide a replacement or offer a repair. I used the rug occasionally between Nov & Feb but it developed yet another fault and so I had to replace it. I threatened legal action in February and the seller said I had to have the rug cleaned and return it to them and then they would let me know what they intended doing about it - they said they could not handle a rug that had been in contact with an animal so under no circumstances would they consider looking into the fault unless the rug was cleaned and then returned to them. Bear in mind that you can't stick a rug in the washer so it has to be sent away for professional cleaning which is expensive. I sued in the C Court and obtained a judgement by default. I have written to the seller on numerous occasions stating that the faulty rug is available for collection at any time. Today the seller has written stating that they have sent a cheque for the court judgement but that I have to have the rug cleaned and return it to them within 14 days otherwise they will seek damages. They have said they will refund the cost of return postage but not the cost of having the rug cleaned. I have told them that I am not prepared to have the rug cleaned or ship the item to them as instead it is available for collection from me at any time

Where do I stand please?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  emily4422 replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I will try to help you with this question.

Firstly, I am glad to see that they have accepted their fault by sending you a cheque for the court judgment and are not disputing that decision. This means that you know you are in a strong legal position.

As far as their demand for you to clean the rug at your own cost is concerned, they have absolutely no legal grounds to request this.

The fact is, they sold you a faulty rug. You were only able to discover it was faulty by using it. In using it, it became slightly dirty. You are only obliged to return it to them because it was faulty, a fact which is due to their own breach of contract not yours.

All of the above means that the supposed "need" to clean to rug only arises as a result of you having to return it to the company. Since you are only returning it because it is faulty, it's therefore that faulty nature of the rug which is incurring you the cost of having to clean it. The company which is responsible for that fault should therefore pay for the cleaning or, quite simply, clean it themselves. They have caused you that cost as a result of their sub standard goods and should refund you that as well as pay the court judgment.

As as aside, I find it strange that they want it to be clean on its return - are they perhaps intending to re-sell it and hoping the next customer won't complain? Perhaps you can raise that point with them as a further argument for not having to pay to clean the item.

From this point, I would advise that you write them a letter, setting out in bullet point form the reasons why you will not be paying. Simply send them the rug with that letter and leave matters at that. If they want to get back to you they will. I assume you have already received your payment? If so, then you needn't worry about how they feel about the cleanliness or otherwise of the rug.

In short, there was no court order against you ordering you to clean the rug. The order was against them to pay the judgment. There are no legal obligations therefore placed upon you.

I hope this is of some assistance to you. Please do write again if you need anything else. In the meantime please rate my answer so that I may be credited for my time. Thanks.