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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 recently bought an oven from IKEA which was made by Electrolux.

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I recently bought an oven from IKEA which was made by Electrolux. Having had a new kitchen installed, I discovered that the oven doesn't have an alarm. It has a 'timer' which does does three short beeps at the end of the cooking time, but no alarm which every other oven I've ever owned had. The little beeps aren't even loud and cannot be heard unless you are in the kitchen. I told IKEA about this and they said that I should contact Electrolux, despite me pointing out my contract was with them. I spoke to Electrolux and the guy who answered said he only answers the phone and arranges appointments for repairs. He agreed it seemed odd that an oven would be designed with no alarm, but there's no mention of one in the manual and no mention of one online either. The US version has an alarm, but not the European one. He gave me the phone number of their local repairers. I rang the repairers and, looking at the oven manual online, they agreed it was strange that the oven had been designed with no alarm. I also pointed out that I couldn't access some of the functions that were supposed to be included on the display either. They told me to ring IKEA and ask if they wanted an engineer sent out. I 'webchatted' with IKEA (you cannot get through on the phone) and was told, more or less, that if the oven was designed with no alarm, then that's too bad, but I should get the engineer out to see why I couldn't access some of the functions. IKEA also made it clear that the matter was nothing to do with them and they "had a statement to say that Electrolux must take care of any complaints." I bought the item from IKEA, not Electrolux. Regardless of whether or not the engineer can get the functions to appear in the display, there is no alarm and I wouldn't have bought the oven knowing that this basic function was not included. Is the onus on me to check that an oven has an alarm before purchasing?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume you didn't ask for that specific feature?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, I just assumed that all ovens nowadays would have an alarm - especially one with a digital display and 'function' knobs. It never crossed my mind that an oven would not have an audible alarm.

That is a problem I'm afraid.
I presume then that they didn't represent that it had one?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I just saw the oven in their showroom and picked it with the rest of the kitchen I ordered from them. Are you saying that unless I double check, say, that a shower has both hot and cold water before purchasing, but then realise it only has not, the onus would have been on me to check whether or not it supplied both...? In the oven manual, it states it has a 'timer' (which is the inaudible little beep that lasts a second or two), so I guess that even though it is useless, it is classed as a 'timer' and therefore its okay for them to say they've included one, even though it is useless?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Actually there is no mention of an alarm - only a timer (which is useless). As the timer (which I presume should be able to be used as an alarm too) is short and quiet, could I argue that it is ineffective? If so, who would I argue this with? IKEA or Electrolux?

That is basically right.
The onus is upon you to check that a product has a particular feature unless, of course, there is a representation that it does and then you would have a misrepresentation argument.
If they were silent upon this issue then there is no Sale of Goods Act challenge because the oven does not bear an alarm.
I'm very sorry but that is a reality. If it is an oven that works otherwise and just lacks a feature that you would prefer it had then that is not a challenge.
If you complain to them they may relent as they will often do far more a court would.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am amazed that it is left to the purchaser to check whether an item has something that should be installed as standard, but I guess I'll just have to live with the bad design. Can you just clarify whether or not - if the oven turns out to be faulty with regard to the other functions that, according to the manual, should be there e.g. a fast pre-heating facility, but are not there, would Electrolux be responsible for replacing the oven or IKEA?

If it has faults then that is a sale of goods act issue.
Then Ikea would be liable.
You would also have a claim against the manufacturer but your better rights are against the seller.
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