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63 posts

Master Geek


#64187 9-Jul-2010 19:27
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Every online store where I've had to return a faulty product, it seems they have a policy where the customer must pay for return shipping for the item. The last few times, I've had to inform the store that they are responsible for covering this cost, as the shipping cost would be a consequential loss of the defective good under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

I know most of the time courier costs are low, perhaps $6 or $7, but it's just principle; it shouldn't cost you anything when a good is faulty.

What are other people's experiences of this? Can this legally be store policy? Under the Fair Trading Act suppliers can't contract out of any part of the CGA as this would be misleading customers about their legal rights.

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1267 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  #349659 9-Jul-2010 20:55
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I bought a faulty item from an online shop a few years back that was quite large, shipped to me untested as it came into the country from the USA sealed. They could have opened an tested it. It arrived to me with minor damage, the sort that is very disappointing, but I didn't make a fuss, however upon testing it appeared clearly faulty too (smoke coming out).

It cost me $42 I think to get it couriered back, and I was not reimbursed. They gave me a refund for the item, but the shipping I paid BOTH ways was a total loss (Around $80 total), plus money spent on toll calls to them. Very cross.

178 posts

Master Geek


  #349667 9-Jul-2010 21:16
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You're correct. You're referencing CGA 27. 1) b. A lot of online stores will simply ask you to physically return a good; in which case you can claim for time and petrol. The reason it isn't taken very seriously is because lodging a dispute usually costs more than simply paying the courier fee. When pushed, as you do, they're likely more than happy to acquiesce. At the end of the day, they're saving a lot of money by not having a physical premises, so you shouldn't feel too bad for them.

Personally, I find the attempt to contract out of a number of legal obligations in contracts I've signed for various goods and services more troubling. An example is a service [I'll omit the name for now] which began charging me more without my consent. It just appeared on my bill. They aren't allowed to do that, even if they include something to the effect "we reserve the right to alter the charge at will" in the terms. Any changes to price must be agreed to by both parties. Sending an email or letter cannot be understood as tacit agreement either.

 
 
 
 


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Uber Geek
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  #350167 12-Jul-2010 11:16
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IlDuce: I bought a faulty item from an online shop a few years back that was quite large, shipped to me untested as it came into the country from the USA sealed. They could have opened an tested it. It arrived to me with minor damage, the sort that is very disappointing, but I didn't make a fuss, however upon testing it appeared clearly faulty too (smoke coming out).

It cost me $42 I think to get it couriered back, and I was not reimbursed. They gave me a refund for the item, but the shipping I paid BOTH ways was a total loss (Around $80 total), plus money spent on toll calls to them. Very cross.


Was this item purchased from a retailer in New Zealand? If not I'm not sure that the CGA would apply as it was technically an imported item.

As for the return shipping I always make a point of asking to have a pre-paid courier bag shipped to me rather than pay for shipping to return the item. I agree that many of the contracts we sign these days contain clauses which seem to go against if not the letter then the spirit of the CGA. It is at times frustrating.

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Uber Geek
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  #350196 12-Jul-2010 12:05
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Yes bought from NZ retailer. I'd assume virtually everything they sell is from overseas, like most stores.

To add to previous story I ordered 2 items, one item in email correspondence I repeated over and over, as I believed that they were not reading my emails properly, they would always respond to my emails but never answer the actualy question/s. So I thought if I parroted the item over and over, they might read it once and get it right, but sure enough when it arrived, it was a different item completely, not even same brand!

So that was disappointment 1. Then the other item had superficial damage, disappointment 2. Then after about a minute I worked out the item was faulty. I called the store at $1/ minute to tell them the item was faulty, and that I was not a n00b and knew what I was doing, and that I had in fact RTFM.

But they treated me like a dum dum, and said there was nothing wrong, and that I had messed up, and couldn't follow setup instructions properly. So I took it to a professional, who agreed with me. Told the store, they were still of the opinion I was incorrect and that there was no issue with the item.

Well if the store is run by experts in their field, and they say its fine, then there must be nothing wrong with it, so there is no harm in using it, right?

Within 10 minutes it let the smoke out. Called them up and said it smoked up, and also caused consequential damage to other peripherals. They said sent it back at my expense and we will have a look. I said there is nothing to look at, its toast! ie clouds of smoke, sizzled wires, putrid smell of burnt silicon, so the only satisfactory options are replacement or refund.

They wanted to repair and not replace, which I guess technically "could" be done, however that rank toxic smell would be there forever, so I said If you won't replace, then refund is only satisfactory option. Which they did, but as I said it left me out of pocket for $80 shipping, plus toll calls, plus consequential damage to my other new gear, so probably $140 out for 10 minutes "use".

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