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Amanda Whitehouse

Advice please

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My parents bought an inflatable awning late in the summer of 2017. I can’t remember the make, but I think it begins with ‘V’ and is apparently a subsidiary of Isabella. Anyway, there were immediate problems with it deflating and having to be pumped up several times a day and even during the night. They took it back and were given a replacement of the same model. The replacement couldn’t then be used until the 2018 season. This was again found to have problems in that it didn’t seem to assemble correctly. The retailer returned the replacement to the manufacturer for them to resolve the issue. It was late in the 2018 season by the time they got it back. It was then used on two occasions in the 2018 season. They have now used it again in the 2019 season for what will be the fourth time since being returned to them from the manufacturer. It inflated appropriately and all was well until we started to hear loud pops/cracking sounds and saw that one of the seams in an inflatable pole was coming apart, the inner tube then protruded to a size larger than a beach ball and then burst. My dad was standing next to it at the time and could well have lost an eye.  

My question is are they likely to be able to get a refund of their money? The awning has been unfit for purpose since purchased, and even though it will now be beyond a years guarantee since original purchase  it has been returned on two occasions and used on only 4 outings since then. They really don’t want it to be repaired for them to just have further problems. They haven’t contacted the retailer yet, we’re still away on hols minus an awning, but it would be useful to have other opinions so that they can present a good case, if appropriate, to the retailer.

Thanks

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I'm not a legal expert,  but I would expect you have a good case 

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The Consumer Rights Act is not confined to the strict 12 months referred to in typical manufacturers guarantees.

Rather it relies on the word "reasonable". Well worth a try with the dealer. 

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The original issue has not been resolved so technically it may be still within the 6 months time frame anyway for a repair, replacement or refund.  As you have given the dealer more than one opportunity to repair and replace, I would think you have a very strong case for a full refund.  Get parents to invest in an Isabella Coal porch awning as probably costs less than the Ventura air awning and is just as quick to erect.

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They could, and probably will,  argue it was over-inflated and you would need to prove otherwise.

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4 hours ago, thebriars said:

They could, and probably will,  argue it was over-inflated and you would need to prove otherwise.

On our Kampa air awning it clearly states that it is not possible to over inflate.  Check the instructions, so that, if they try it on as thebriars suggests, you are forearmed.

nanamel

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As Nanamel says - most inflatable awning cannot be over inflated as they have a 'safety release valve' built in.

You have my sympathy but let it be a lesson to anyone considering an inflatable - eventually they will spring a leak in one of the tubes and sods law it will happen at the most inconvenient time.

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1 hour ago, The road toad said:

As Nanamel says - most inflatable awning cannot be over inflated as they have a 'safety release valve' built in.

You have my sympathy but let it be a lesson to anyone considering an inflatable - eventually they will spring a leak in one of the tubes and sods law it will happen at the most inconvenient time.

Not so! Our last air awning died of UV exposure, just like any other awning made of modern lightweight fabric.

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Posted (edited)

My (new) Sunncamp Air awning most definitely does NOT have any form of pressure relief valve (which does seem odd to me)  but it DOES have very clear instructions not to inflate it beyond 7psi. I set the electric inflation pump to 6.5psi in order to cater for any potential increase due to solar gain which can be considerable in bright sunlight.

 

Does their awning have a pressure relief valve?

Does the inflation pump have a pressure gauge? 

Did they use the gauge to inflate it to a set pressure or just keep going until the air tubes were rigid? 

Was it a bright sunny day when the bladder burst?

 

It is virtually impossible to “prove a negative” such as they didn’t over inflate their awning.

  It was the same with  Alko a while ago who  insisted that axle failures back then were due to “overloading”  You simply cannot prove you didn’t do something.

 

I fear that as the original was purchased back in 2017 you are going to struggle as any guarantee AFTER a repair is STILL only valid until the expiry of the original 12 month period from the date of original purchase. So even if it was mended the day before the warranty expired, and then failed a week later, it would be viewed as being “out of warranty” 

 

I reckon their best bet would be to keep the dealer they purchased it from sweet and on their side, and pursue the manufacturer for a “Good will” gesture in view of the “problems” they suffered. 

 

Good luck and be sure to keep us posted as to how they get on.

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd

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Thanks all for advice and food for thought.

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20 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

I fear that as the original was purchased back in 2017 you are going to struggle as any guarantee AFTER a repair is STILL only valid until the expiry of the original 12 month period from the date of original purchase. So even if it was mended the day before the warranty expired, and then failed a week later, it would be viewed as being “out of warranty” 

You are correct however the awning has been replaced twice since so I would think that it is still under warranty as surely a new warranty comes in when it is replaced otherwise a consumer could be seriously out of pocket?   After all our caravan was 11 months old when we rejected it and the rejection accepted.  Good one for LE to ponder about and give us an answer.

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4 hours ago, Durbanite said:

You are correct however the awning has been replaced twice since so I would think that it is still under warranty as surely a new warranty comes in when it is replaced otherwise a consumer could be seriously out of pocket?   After all our caravan was 11 months old when we rejected it and the rejection accepted.  Good one for LE to ponder about and give us an answer.

 

The original warranty was honoured (twice!) and a replacement item was provided. The consumer is not out of pocket, the item has been replaced at no cost.

 

HOWEVER the warranty for the NEW items will not extend beyond the period of the ORIGINAL warranty I.e. 12 months from the date of original purchase. I understand your logic but sadly that ain’t how it works!!! Been there tried that! 

 

Andy

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16 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

The original warranty was honoured (twice!) and a replacement item was provided. The consumer is not out of pocket, the item has been replaced at no cost.

 

HOWEVER the warranty for the NEW items will not extend beyond the period of the ORIGINAL warranty I.e. 12 months from the date of original purchase. I understand your logic but sadly that ain’t how it works!!! Been there tried that! 

 

Andy

Not sure how it works with a replacement as per section 24 (5) & (6) of the CRA 2015? 

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17 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

The original warranty was honoured (twice!) and a replacement item was provided. The consumer is not out of pocket, the item has been replaced at no cost.

 

HOWEVER the warranty for the NEW items will not extend beyond the period of the ORIGINAL warranty I.e. 12 months from the date of original purchase. I understand your logic but sadly that ain’t how it works!!! Been there tried that! 

 

Andy

Not sure why you are looking at warranty provisions. The CRA is not bound by warranty provisions, having a "reasonable" clause instead. Whilst it is clearly contentious, and the outcome if it came to court cannot realistically be predicted, it can easily be argued that a "reasonable person" would expect a replacement to have a similar expected lifespan,, in terms of days actual use, to a new product.

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Posted (edited)

Any replacement item is exactly that a REPLACEMENT, and any warranty is deemed to run for the same period of time from the date of the original purchase. 

 

Consider the following scenario.

 

We both buy an item on 1st January 2020. Mine goes wrong and is replaced on 1 December 2020 (so 11 months into the warranty) yours last until the 1st February 2021 and then fails. So it’s one month outside it’s  12 month warranty period. My “replacement” item then fails on 2nd February 2021. Would you expect me to have it replaced again 13 months after the original purchase?  whilst you, with a 13 month old original  have to purchase another new one?  By your reasoning I would get a total of 23 months warranty but you would only get 12? 

 

Hardly a fair situation is it? 

 

Good luck trying to get anything done using the CRA, it’s one thing holding a belief (as you do) and actually getting some form of resolution under the CRA. It would drag on for years and cost a fortune with no guarantee of final success. If it was that simple I would expect everyone would be using the CRA. How many examples have you ever heard of ?? 

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd

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The life expectancy on a £1000 item would not be a year and only a couple of uses ?

 

 

Dave

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43 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

 

Good luck trying to get anything done using the CRA, it’s one thing holding a belief (as you do) and actually getting some form of resolution under the CRA. It would drag on for years and cost a fortune with no guarantee of final success. If it was that simple I would expect everyone would be using the CRA. How many examples have you ever heard of ?? 

 

 

Of course, taking a case all the way through the court process under the CRA is difficult, time consuming, somewhat unpredictable and potentially costly for the loser.

This is precisely why the CRA and its predecessor the SOGA often work, the dealer also does not want to face the cost of failure and will often settle out of court as soon as he receives credible notification that court action is being considered. 

If faced with a potentially winnable case under CRA but outside the strict terms of a warranty it is always worth at least starting the CRA route even though this may be just a case of calling the dealers bluff.

You can never be certain that such an approach will work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it is always possible to back down before court costs  are actually incurred.

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13 hours ago, CommanderDave said:

The life expectancy on a £1000 item would not be a year and only a couple of uses ?

Dave

That is a very valid point and a strong one as the operative word is "reasonable".  Any reasonable person would expect an item costing in excess of £1000 to last a lot longer than a year.  I wonder if the OP's parents bought it using a credit card as S75 may apply if they are refused a refund.

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12 hours ago, Stevan said:

 

This is precisely why the CRA and its predecessor the SOGA often work, the dealer also does not want to face the cost of failure and will often settle out of court as soon as he receives credible notification that court action is being considered. 

 

How many cases such as this are you aware of that have actually achieved the required result? 

It’s all very well to say “The CRA will sort this matter out for you” but have you actually tried to invoke it? I have not but I HAVE had personal experience of taking action against a company through the small claims court. The company involved was Air Tours (so no minnow in the pond) They fought it very hard despite the fact that I had a mountain of irrefutable evidence. It dragged on for the best part of two years.

 

My view is that in this particular case any court would look at it and

probably  take the view that the maker has honoured the warranty by providing TWO replacements during the warranty period.  

 

At the end of the day it’s up to the OP. I am just trying to point out that it’s one thing to say  “The CRA will deal with this” and a whole different matter to actually get it done. 

 

I refer back back to my previous post. I would try and keep the retailer on MY side and approach the makers and invite them to make a goodwill gesture in respect of the continuing problems being experienced with their awning. Yes I AM aware that the OP’s contract is with the retailer, but the manufacturer probably has more financial leeway to play with. That option would be a good place to START from, if that doesn’t work you can always escalate matters somewhat. If you start off threatening court action you are starting at the extreme end and have no further negotiating room. 

 

Andy

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We have been very successful using SOGA and also CRA 2015 on more than one occasion however we took legal advice and then used it to fight our battles.  I know of many other people some on this forum who have used CRA 2015 and been successful.   IMHO the OP stands a very good chance of getting a refund if the supplier is a reasonable and caring company. 

If the supplier then refuses then I would suggest that they contact Which Legal Services and get advice on how to proceed with any claim.  The first phone call is free and costs the OP zero!

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9 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

How many cases such as this are you aware of that have actually achieved the required result? 

It’s all very well to say “The CRA will sort this matter out for you” but have you actually tried to invoke it? I have not but I HAVE had personal experience of taking action against a company through the small claims court. The company involved was Air Tours (so no minnow in the pond) They fought it very hard despite the fact that I had a mountain of irrefutable evidence. It dragged on for the best part of two years.

 

 

A few times over the years I have used SOGA and its predecessor the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms ) Act to good effect, although it has never been necessary for me to get beyond mentioning them in conversation. This is my point, it is often sufficient to give a credible warning that action under SOGA or CRA is being considered to achieve the desired result.

Once you are outside the strict terms of any manufacturers or dealers warranty you have little to lose by making it clear that you still have rights and are prepared to use them, (even though you may be bluffing).

 

The typical conversation goes along the lines of the dealer saying "Sorry, the guarantee ran out last week." My reply "You and I both know that that argument would not stand up under the Sale of Goods Act! How about you reconsider?"

Yes, I have used it and yes it sometimes works!

 

Yes this can fail and, yes formal action through the courts may not be worthwhile, but there is no harm in at least pushing the door!

I would never say "The CRA will sort this matter out for you" because the CRA, in itself, sorts nothing! It is just one more weapon  in your belt which the dealer does not want you to use.

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Yes, I used the SOGA in 2016 to reject a nine month old Ford S-max which had an uncurable electrical problem. After several attempts to sort the problem, the dealer was quite happy to keep trying to fix it under "warranty"until I suggested that he'd already had more goes than the  SOGA reckoned was reasonable, so he took the car back and replaced it with a shiny new one. (The car had been purchased a couple of months before the CRA came into effect)

 

I'd prepared myself for a bit of a battle and he just accepted the situation  and got on with it.

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I used SOGA in 2018, it was in connection with a damaged Neff oven.

 

Not unpacked until 45 days after delivery and found fork lift damage.

 

As it was ordered though Currys, I went back to see them and the manager said not a problem and instructed one of his team to initiate a SOGA replacement and a new one was delivered within a few days.

 

Didn't even mention SOGA myself.

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3 hours ago, Griff said:

I used SOGA in 2018, it was in connection with a damaged Neff oven.

 

Not unpacked until 45 days after delivery and found fork lift damage.

 

As it was ordered though Currys, I went back to see them and the manager said not a problem and instructed one of his team to initiate a SOGA replacement and a new one was delivered within a few days.

 

Didn't even mention SOGA myself.

You couldn't have used SOGA as that was replaced by the CRA 2015 in 2015.  :D

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48 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

You couldn't have used SOGA as that was replaced by the CRA 2015 in 2015.  :D

 

Yes you are right it was the CRA,  my mistake.

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