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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I purchased a SONY VAIO PRO 13 laptop from Harrods Technology

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I purchased a SONY VAIO PRO 13 laptop from Harrods Technology on 17th January. But a keycap on the keyboard popped off on my 12th day of possessing the laptop – as I use workstations for my research I barely used this laptop at all which further raises my doubts about the build quality.

I phoned up Harrods customer service who verbally confirmed my eligibility for a refund after I explained my situation. I thus took the laptop back to the store and request a refund. However, the store manager (Caudel Morgan), who were later advised by SONY, refuse to accept a possible manufacturing defect of this keyboard with his statement/reasoning below:

He used to work for Sony and has seen ways Sony products are designed and manufactured. They are almost perfect in every way and keycaps on a keyboard would not simply pop off without an excessive amount of force being applied.

I was then explicitly told to pay for a repair by the department manager as well as SONY customer service despite my request for an examination of the faulty part. They simply claim the popped off keycap as a ‘’physical damage’’ which is not considered as a manufacturing defect. I tried to explain my rights that if it is within 6 months of purchase, it is down to the trader/manufacturer’s responsibility to prove that the faulty part is not due to manufacturing defect but my rights were refused.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can I ask what I should do next given Harrods and Sony simply refuse to accept even the probability the keyboard could be faulty let alone an exchange or refund.


Whats the sum in question?

Are you prepared to go to court over this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1600 quid, and yes I am prepared to go to court...

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My argument - no matter how perfectly a product is designed and how rigid their production and quality control requirements are there is ALWAYS the probability that one piece could be faulty. I simply do not accept the argument that a ‘’physical damage’’ automatically translates into a deliberate or accidental damage rather than a possible manufacturing defect. My case is NOT unique. Similar cases against SONY’s service with regards XXXXX XXXXX fine line between warranty issues and ‘’physical damage’’ can be found on Google.


They are saying that this fault is such that it could only have been caused by your mistreatment of the device. In fact, under the SGA it is for them to prove that the fault was not there at time of sale as it was discovered within the first six months. Sometimes they are able to do that. Whether they will be here or not is another matter of course.

Either way though, if they dig their heels in and refuse to offer you anything at all then your only option is to sue. If a company refuses to comply with the law then they can only be forced to do so if you go to court. If this is £1600 then its worth suing over. You can issue here

But you should really send them a letter before action first warning them of your intention to do so if they do not pay within 14 days. Of course, they will ignore it but it will protect you from costs applications at court.

If you do issue against them its quite unlikely they would fight this. Its not worth the manpower of doing so.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your reply.


Last question - does it have to be a letter instead of email which I send to the trader to state my rights and intention?

No, an email is fine.

Remember this is to the seller though not the manufacturer. Its against the seller than you have rights under the SGA.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm trying to write the letter, stating my entitlement under The Sales of Goods Act...


Could you advise on the appropriate language of showing my intention of taking them to court?

You don't have to say very much at all. In fact, I wouldn't comment on the SGA.

Just say that you purchased this item and it has a fault. If a refund or a repair is not available within 28 days you will sue and seek costs against them.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile

tdlawyer :

HI thanks for your question.

tdlawyer :

My name is Tony, I should be able to assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

Firstly, you're absolutely right about yout rights and that the onus is on the supplier/retailer in the first 6 months to show it is not defective and is of the appropriate quality.

tdlawyer :

Is this issue easily repaired? (I'm not saying it should be though - just trying to understand the nature of the fault a little more).

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Below's a reply from Harrods..


Dear Mr Ren,


Thank you for informing us about your recent experience with Harrods Technology.


We empathise with you in regards to the response you received that did not meet your expectations and we now hope to clarify your situation so that you have a better understanding of why we have reached our decision.


When a customer wishes to refund an item, we are more than willing to do so, given that the item is brought back to us within a reasonable time period of 14 days and that the product is in an “as new” condition.


If a product has an inherent manufacturing fault the customer would also be entitled to a full refund or replacement. To clarify, an inherent fault is one that is present at the time of purchase.


Examples are:

• an error in design so that a product is manufactured incorrectly

• an error in manufacturing where a faulty component was inserted.


The Sony SVP13M ultrabook that you purchased has been very popular with our customers and we have not had any faults similar to your circumstance reported to us. Furthermore, we have contacted Sony who also reports that there are no known faults with this model.


The SVP13M uses industry standard chiclet type keys which are the dominant technology behind the majority of notebook keyboards currently on the market.

Since you have said that the key popped off on the 13th day of your ownership, this dictates that the machine when given to you at the point of sale and up to the 12th day of your ownership did not have this fault.


On the 13th day you contacted us regarding the fault of a popped out key.

Under the inspection of Caudel Morgan, and also mentioned by yourself, the back of the key (in particular where it would usually fit back on to the keyboard bracket) had a bend which inhibits the key from being placed back into the key frame and resuming normal functionality. This is evidence that suggests that the key has been physically dislodged causing the plastic legs behind the key to warp. We do not consider this an inherited manufacturing fault but believe that excessive force was applied in a direction that is not associated with reasonable usage.


Your statutory rights mentioned in your email and letter would be honoured without hesitation had the nature of the fault been caused by a mechanical manufacturing defect. However, in this case, we are unable to offer a refund or replacement due to the earlier mentioned reasons.


It is important to us that you enjoy all the products you purchase from us and that you get the best use from them. To get your keyboard back to its full working order, Sony will repair it for you as part of a chargeable service.


To make the organisation of the chargeable repair as easy as possible for you we will be happy to make all of the arrangements on your behalf, ensuring that your SVP ultrabook is sent to Sony, repaired & then returned to your home address.


Should you wish to make the arrangements yourself, Sony can be contacted directly on either 0844 8466 555 or via their online website at


If you would like for us to make all the arrangements on your behalf please simply contact us to let us know.


At Harrods Technology, we take customer complaints seriously and endeavour to offer a clear & prompt response to all of our clients; as such I trust this letter has now clarified how & why the decision has been made and the options now available to you.


Should you have any further questions regarding this matter then please let us know by email at [email protected] or, alternatively you can contact us by phone at XXXXXXXXXXX


How can I help with this?