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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71133
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello, I own a secondhand furniture shop, a customer bought

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Hello, I own a secondhand furniture shop, a customer bought a large table and 9 chairs from us on 22/02/2014 for £1,600.00 in total, today 02/06/2014 the lady in question popped in to say she was not happy as she has been told the table is a reproduction and she had in her mind it was Victorian. We never advertised it as Victorian and was never sold as Victorian, of which she has agreed, it was up for sale as A very large, extending table with 2 extra leafs, and 9 chairs, then the price of £1,695.00. After coming to look at the table and take all the measurements, at least 4 or 5 times, and also got a French polisher in to have a look at it, as there were some marks all of which the lady was aware of, the lady duly made the offer of £1,600.00 of which we accepted on behalf of the customer who owns the table of which we sell on a commission basis, the lady whom purchased the table has had several French polishers in to look at it and one of them said it was reproduction and so has googled and found the same or similar table is £1,200.00 new, and I think she has been short change and put a few alternatives to me before I think she takes it further, how do I stand. Thank you

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

Are you asking if she can sue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes also would like to know how to resolve this fairly and without to much up set, as we sold in good faith as far as I was concerned the customer was happy she knew all the problems with the table, we always point out as much as we know with anything we sell but customers who buy from us do know they are secondhand and as our terms and conditions are written up for all to see there will be signs of wear and tear, but to come back after 3months with demands just because, in the customers words, in her mind she thought it was Victorian, we never once said it was or wasn't Victorian as we didn't know, we are not antique dealers, don't claim to be, don't value but do suggest prices of which the owner has a choice to sell at that price, and the customer the choice to buy or not to buy at that price.

You don't have to offer anything at all. Her objections seem to be twofold.

The first is that she had the idea in her mind that this was Victorian which is entirely of her creation and so not your problem. The second is that she seems to be alleging that she could have got it cheaper elsewhere. If so, then should have gone elsewhere. If she has agreed a bad deal then thats her problem.

In terms of resolving it fairly, obviously she isn't going to like that answer so your choices are either refuse to offer anything at all and upset her or make her an offer. You don't have to do that but it depends if you want to. If she is unreasonable by nature then any offer you make will probably not please her unless you are going to offer a full refund so you have to weigh up the risks.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I would like to add, my sales assistant who dealt with the transaction, said the customer wanted a receipt of which we gave her, not everybody wants one, when the sales assistant was writing the receipt she asked the customer what she wanted her to put the chairs down as, ie ballon backed , but the customer said no, Victorian chairs, of which the customer said that was correct so that's what was written, large table with 9 Victorian chairs, though the customer has not said anything regarding the chairs it seems to be the table that is the gripe, the customer did give me a few options, the first , to pay for the leg of the table to be mended, cost of £50 , the table to be repolished, cost £400 , swap like for like, and I carnt remember the last one, I know it is all to do with the cost of the French polishing but she did know it was needed and did get one down to see it before she bought
It still doesn't amount to a representation that the table is victorian. I suppose if she complains about the chairs that might change things

If the facts are as you say and the table was in good condition then I wouldn't offer anything and invite her to sue. If she complains about you then you can always send her a solicitor's letter warning her that she will be sued for defamation if she doesn't stop and that usually brings an end to the obligation that they feel to tell everybody about you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
How will it change if she brings the chairs into the equation, as the customer did agree she did ask the sales assistant to write victorian
If the assistant did then that would probably amount to a representation that they were Victorian. I realise she was asked to do it but you don't have to do what you are asked and its not a good idea in situations like this where the store's position is that they don't agree they were victorian.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We didn't state either way, again it was the customer who in her own mind in her own admission, but yes the sales lady maybe shouldn't probably written that but sometimes you just don't always realise what you are writing and again the customer has again agreed she did ask her to write this, but again will this become the sticking point
If it was written on the receipt then its going to be hard to escape I'm afraid.
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