I have recently had an encounter with a NZ automotive parts retailer in regards to a faulty radar detector -
Item purchased on Friday 11th
Fault noticed on Tuesday 15th
Item returned Wednesday 16th
The nature of the fault was in my mind significant enough to warrant a refund -
Unit failed to power on (intermittently)
Unit locked on to low level band (either Ka or K band) and would not clear, emitting a "Geiger Counter" type sound from the speaker that could not be silenced. Note, it did this regardless of location or whether or not there were actually any forms of radar in the vicinity (think only person on a rural mode in the boonies, no chance of leakage from an actual radar emitting device).
If unit locked up, required disconnection from the power and reconnection, it may or may not power up (see above)
Given that the unit is only 4 days old when the fault occured, to me, this was a "substantial fault" and I desired a refund. The store refused, saying they had the right to send away for repair / assessment. When I queried them on the fact I don't believe they had the right to choose, as in my mind, the fault was substantial and I was entitled to reject the goods, he simply disagreed citing that to assess whether or not the fault was substantial, it had to be sent away.
I don't doubt that the unit will be found faulty and ultimately either replaced or refunded, but who decides the fault is substantial?
I have looked through the relevant legislation, particularly -
21 Failure of substantial character
For the purposes of section 18(3), a failure to comply with a guarantee is of a substantial character in any case where—
(a) the goods would not have been acquired by a reasonable consumer fully acquainted with the nature and extent of the failure;
This seems pretty clear about what constitutes substantial failure but nothing on who decides