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#16497 12-Oct-2007 15:48
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Hi, I came to this forum about a month ago about some advice in purchasing an HP laptop from Dick Smith. The discussions can be found here:

I received some pretty useful advice and I decided to purchase the laptop. I used the online and the laptop arrived within 2 days which was extremely efficient I thought. That was about all the joy I had with this purchase, however..

After using the laptop for about 3-4 days, I noticed that the sound coming off the speakers were a bit weird, the speakers sounded 'broken' when a high pitch sound was played. I havn't done anything to the speakers at all so i thought there must be some problems with the speakers themselves. I wasn't happy with this at all and decided to contact Dick Smith for a refund via the 'change of mind' policy. I sent the laptop back and Dick Smith inspected it.

They said that "the speaker units have been over driven at high volume causing permanent damage". They said that they can't refund the money as the unit needs repairing, moreover, this problem is not covered by the warranty. I thought man I'm in deep trouble, what do I do. After several emails, Dick Smith would constantly refuse to take back the laptop and refund. I felt quite bad at this point until it occurred to me that I havn't done anything wrong except to use the computer as anybody would. There are no warning signs on the speakers and anyone could have cause the same damage by using the computers normally.

I contacted back Dick Smith, explaining to them this line of logic as well as quoting the Consumers Guarantees Act and telling them that they are responsible and not HP. I was quite firm and aggressive with them at this point as you can imagine, I was getting pretty angry!

I waited 1 more week for HP's inspection and they told me that the problem is in fact covered by the warranty and that I can get the refund. So, after telling me that the problem was not covered by the warranty, that I cannot get the refund, they are now saying the opposite.

Anyone reading please be aware of the following which I have learnt from my purchase:

1. Most shops have a 'change of mind' policy which means that you can return goods for whatever reason within 1 week.
2. The Consumers Guarantees Act makes retailers liable for anything they sell, you do not have to take it up with the manufacturers.
3. Use common sense, if the damage can be cause by anyone, it is probably the case that the item is not fit for use and therefore you should not be liable.
4. Be persistent with these big corporations. You are covered by the law! You have the power!

Hope this helps anyone wanting to purchase electronic goods in the future.

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  #90850 12-Oct-2007 16:08
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Good to here that you got a good result in the end.

Just a few points.

1. Most shops have a 'change of mind' policy which means that you can return goods for whatever reason within 1 week.

DSE have a 14 day right of return. However, this is on the condition that the goods are in original condition, and that the packaging etc are complete, and the goods have not been damaged.

2. The Consumers Guarantees Act makes retailers liable for anything they sell, you do not have to take it up with the manufacturers.

I agree that is the law, however it does not make it easy on retailers. HP for one have a very good 0800 service for the consumer. But for the retailer this service is near impossible to us, as they quite often refuse to speak to us, or make our lives very difficult.

3. Use common sense, if the damage can be cause(d) by anyone, it is probably the case that the item is not fit for use and therefore you should not be liable.

I would have to disagree with you there. Just because you can cause damage to something, does not make it unfit for the purpose it was designed for. Using your problem as an example, anybody could over work their speakers and damage them. I am not trying to say you damaged them through improper use, but it does happen and anyone could damage their speakers especially on laptops. Some people tend to forget that they are not made to be a substitute to external powered speakers.

4. Be persistent with these big corporations. You are covered by the law! You have the power!

Once again, good on ya for getting a good result!

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  #90907 13-Oct-2007 12:23
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How loud is too loud?

I have to disagree with your disagreement there moderator. The issue I have is consumers are not supposed to have to make a judgement call as to how loud they can turn on their speakers. Is 50% of the max. volume too loud? Is 75% of the max. volume to loud? At what point will the speakers break by the loudness? Nobody knows.

That's why I think there is a design flaw there. They should have made it so that high volume cannot be passed through the speakers, causing them to break. I'd rather have speakers that cannot be turned on as loud than speakers that can be broken without users knowing it.  

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#90916 13-Oct-2007 13:32
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I don't think rscole's post was in the role of a moderator, so no need to bring that to attention - it sounds personal.

As for how loud - I have an Acer Ferrari and I set to 100% when watching videos and similar content. And probably about 50% when listening to music, which doesn't happen to often. Of course this is a matter of personal preference, and really I think laptops' speakers do a lousy job as such.

Just a question - your previous post about laptops was some time ago. Have you tried to return this to DSE using the "change of mind" after their two weeks period?

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  #90919 13-Oct-2007 13:47
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Clearly the answer is that you should be able to run the speakers at 100%, 100% should be set just inside the highest limit for safe use.

In regards to your story: well done.

I had a similar experience with Telecom getting Broadband established a few years back. They turned around pretty quickly when I said I had obtained legal advice and quoted the Consumers Guarantees Act to them.

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  #90920 13-Oct-2007 13:55
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Sorry about that i didn't mean for this post to a personal attack on anyone or companies (HP or DSE) for that matter. I appologise if this is what it sounded like.

I have received the refund cheque from DSE and today I am as happy as can be. I could cash in the cheque and just keep quiet, but I thought that since anyone could be affected by this issue, it would be a good idea to share my experience. 

To tell you the truth I am regretting the decision to post this now that I have done it but I don't think there is a way of deleting thise post now, is there? 


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  #90922 13-Oct-2007 14:10
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I agree totally that customers should not have to make judgement calls as to how loud they can turn up their speakers.
I was merely pointing out that just because something is made by a manufacturer, that does not make it immune to breaking even if used properly.

freitasm :Just a question - your previous post about laptops was some time ago. Have you tried to return this to DSE using the "change of mind" after their two weeks period?

After re-reading your previous posts about buying this laptop, I am wondering the same thing? Was it a lengthy process trying to get your money back?

Good on you for posting this! How many other people could end up in the same situation, and without reading your experiences then they may not know they can get their problem solved quickly.

I am sure that someone from DSE will read this post and will probably look into how they can improve things for other people in the future.


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  #90976 14-Oct-2007 11:16
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Hi, yes I did try to return it within the 1st week of purchase. DSE was fine with this and said that if the laptop was in its original condition they would be able to refund the money asap. However, upon inspection, they found that the speakers were damanged as I have mentioned and that it could not be returned as part of the 'change of mind' policy as it was now classified as a damaged good.

They also told me that I don't have the option of repairing and returning it as part of the 'change of mind' policy either because a repaired good would no longer be 'new' and they cannot resell it. 

That's why I had to look into the Consumers Guarantees Act as there was no other option for me. Luckily it occured to me that this was a design fault and that no consumer should be made to pay for any damages caused by it.

So yes the whole process took me about 4 weeks from the date of purchase to them sending out the refund cheque, it involves me emailing them, calling them, DSE inspecting the goods, HP inspecting the goods, etc.

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  #91483 18-Oct-2007 12:00
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I have had mostly good experiences with DSE, however they recently dropped the ball a bit.

I purchased 2x Dynalink RTA320 DSL modems for a project. When I opened one of the boxes it was quite clear that it had been previously opened and used, I assume by a previous DSE customer who had consequently returned it. The main giveaway was that the previous owner had inadvertantly put their crusty/yellowed/old BT-RJ11 cable cable in the box.

As I was running extremely short of time (and the modem worked fine after a factory reset) I didn't bother to take the unit back for a replacement.

Given my recent experience, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Laptop you bought was an ex-stock or returned model that had been thrashed by a previous customer.

You can't entirely blame the DSE staff for this either: it must be difficult to keep track of what is new vs what is returned when you would have an arseload of returned stock hanging around, thanks to the 2 week return clause.

My $0.02 is that anyone buying bigish $$ items from DSE should always buy from the store (not online), and open the packaging before leaving the store to verify that the unit is actually new. I know I will from now on.

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  #91487 18-Oct-2007 12:14
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Always worthwhile to request open to inspection at the store before leaving (for laptops or smaller goods).

One experience we had with Harvey Norman was when we bought our first LCD 32" Philips TV, was a great TV but the first one we picked up from their store, it looked fine and dandy packed in the box (unopened) thinking that it should be fine (as you normally do with Kiwi thinking)...

Took it up and only a couple of days later when we found the time and space to install it, we found out the panel doesn't display (no picture) but there's audio. Packed it back in and took it back to HN, told the guy it's not working and they didn't believe it. So told them to check it out themselves and sure enough it wasn't working. Checked and see if their stock warehouse has one for pickup or not, moment later, we off to pick up the TV and it was working since.

So yeah, pay to check it at the spot so they know what they're sending out (in working condition).

Another experience was without MS Wireless Natural Keyboard with Mouse combo. We got it working for a week but it was quite flaky. We decided to return it to get a replacement, however my partner has chucked out the packaging box. The salesperson were resistance to replace it, saying that we don't have the full packaging, we told him the device was faulty and who would have ever keep the boxes "anyway"! We asked to talk to the manager, but he went to check him/her out first and came back and said they'll replace the keyboard and mouse by swapping the faulty one with the new one, and they get to keep the box to return the faulty one to MS.

Another lesson too is, keep the packaging box for at least a month (depends on the devices) just to be on the safe side.

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