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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 74422
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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In August 2018 we bought a new shed from a company for

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Hi Pearl, in August 2018 we bought a new shed from a company for £1515. This has now leaked from all four walls & the roof. It is not rising damp, as we placed it on a concrete base, neither is it our assembly, as they assembled it themselves. They are currently refusing to do anything about it. What would the definition of 'not fit for purpose' mean in this case (i.e. how long should it be expected to last)?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Nottingham, England.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We rang them & received a decidedly hostile response & a blank refusal to do anything about it.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, I would just like to see if we have any refund or replacement rights in law.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, fine.

Why have they refused to do anything about it? What reason have they provided for this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will this cost me £44?

Don’t worry about the pop-up mentioning a phone call – this is an automatic offer made by the system, giving you the opportunity to pay extra to discuss things over the phone. However, it is entirely optional and if you just ignore it and close it down you will not be charged extra and we will just continue in writing at no extra cost.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. We'll continue with chat. They simply said that there could be damage to the roof caused by external factors (e.g squirrels, storms,etc.) They pointed out that as it was more than 1 year old it was outside of the guarantee period but, as I understand it, there is a clause in Consumer Law that defines a product as 'not fit for purpose'.

Thank you. Leave it with me for now, although please note it is extremely busy at present due to the ongoing situation so there may be a delay in replying, but I will get back to you at some point today. Please do not reply in the meantime. Many thanks

Many thanks for your patience. There is no formal definition of ‘not fit for purpose’ or how long an item should last because each case will depend on its own circumstances, together with that the item actually is. One would reasonably expect a shed to last more thana couple of years because we do not ordinarily change sheds every 1-2 years, they tend to last several years at the very least. On that basis, you would likely have a reasonable argument that it was not fit for purpose and apply your rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which give you rights against the seller:

1. Reject the goods and request a refund – this is known as the ‘short-term right to reject’ and must be done within 30 days of purchase or delivery.

2. Repair or replacement – this can be done within the initial 30 days, or after that if the consumer can no longer reject the goods for a refund. It is the consumer’s choice as to whether they opt for a repair or replacement. There is a ‘one shot chance at repair’, meaning that if a repair has failed, the goods can still be rejected for a refund, even after the initial 30 days have passed. Alternatively, if the consumer wants to keep them, they can ask for a price reduction, based on what is wrong with them.

Once a decision has been made on which option you would pursue, you must contact the seller and advise them. If they refuse to discharge their legal obligations under consumer laws, you should remind them of these as per the details above. If they still appear reluctant to assist, write to them one final time, warn them that they have 7 days to comply and inform them that if they fail to honour your statutory rights, you will have no choice but to report them to Trading Standards and start legal proceedings through the County Court to seek compensation.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks, ***** *****'s great!

All the best

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