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  • FIRST POST
    • Lingua
    • By Lingua 1st Sep 17, 10:24 AM
    • 200Posts
    • 213Thanks
    Lingua
    Returning faulty item without original box
    • #1
    • 1st Sep 17, 10:24 AM
    Returning faulty item without original box 1st Sep 17 at 10:24 AM
    Hi all,
    Quick backstory:
    My auntie purchased a mobile phone from ASDA three months ago. It has recently started proving temperamental, activating the 3G without permission (taking all her credit with it), and freezing when trying to reset it to factory settings.

    Issue:
    Yesterday, we attempted to return the phone to the local ASDA supermarket, only to be told by customer services that it must be in its original box, with the charger, documentation, and ASDA SIM card! As an aside, quite why they wanted a pay-as-you-go sim card (purchased separately) is beyond me.

    I rang the ASDA customer services number to query the need for a box, as I had already looked up consumer rights for returns and found the following MSE article, which states:

    "It must still have the tags on it." This is false if itís faulty. If itís not, youíre subject to the storeís rules again. The same applies if they tell you it needs to be in the original box, and if they refuse returns on goods bought with a credit note.

    The call operator and then their manager confirmed that ASDA would require the original packaging, despite several attempts to clearly point out that this is not indicated in the Sales of Goods Act, and that faulty goods are not the same as goods returned under their voluntary returns policy. They argued that the box was necessary to match the IMEI number from the phone and ensure it is the same handset.

    Thankfully, my auntie was able to find the box after a thorough search of her house, and on a positive note in ASDA's favour, returned the phone in the end without issue. I can already hear some MSErs sarcastically asking "why are you bothering with this thread then", to which I would politely say that I would like to be better informed by wizened MSE members as to whether I was correct in stating that a box is not necessary for a phone return. I have never come across specific information stating they are any different from any other consumer good.

    So, to conclude my rambling:
    1) am I right that the original box is not necessary
    2) should they have taken the SIM?
    3) are mobile phones any different in their returns due to the need for an IMEI number?
    4) thank you in advance!

    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £14'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
Page 1
    • bris
    • By bris 1st Sep 17, 10:48 AM
    • 7,042 Posts
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    bris
    • #2
    • 1st Sep 17, 10:48 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Sep 17, 10:48 AM
    1. They can't insist on original packaging for faulty returns.


    2. They have no right to items not part of the original contract.


    3. No


    4 Your welcome.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 1st Sep 17, 1:24 PM
    • 18,543 Posts
    • 14,271 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #3
    • 1st Sep 17, 1:24 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Sep 17, 1:24 PM
    They argued that the box was necessary to match the IMEI number from the phone and ensure it is the same handset.
    Originally posted by Lingua
    Their records of the sale should include the IMEI number. If they don't then that's a failing in ASDA's processes rather than being something that they could expect the customer to solve for them.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 1st Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    • 1,897 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #4
    • 1st Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    It sounds like they were trying to deal with this under ASDA's general returns policy (e.g. if you just change your mind) rather than as a faulty product.
    • takman
    • By takman 3rd Sep 17, 12:19 AM
    • 2,821 Posts
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    takman
    • #5
    • 3rd Sep 17, 12:19 AM
    • #5
    • 3rd Sep 17, 12:19 AM
    manager confirmed that ASDA would require the original packaging, despite several attempts to clearly point out that this is not indicated in the Sales of Goods Act, and that faulty goods are not the same as goods returned under their voluntary returns policy. They argued that the box was necessary to match the IMEI number from the phone and ensure it is the same handset.
    Originally posted by Lingua
    As your looking to be well informed it's worth pointing out that The Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply to consumer purchases since October 2015. The parts that applied to this purchase now come under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
    • firefox1956
    • By firefox1956 3rd Sep 17, 10:46 AM
    • 1,337 Posts
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    firefox1956
    • #6
    • 3rd Sep 17, 10:46 AM
    • #6
    • 3rd Sep 17, 10:46 AM
    ' I would like to be better informed by wizened MSE members as to whether I was correct in stating that a box is not necessary for a '

    Wizened members !!!!!!!!!!!
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 3rd Sep 17, 1:01 PM
    • 5,637 Posts
    • 6,431 Thanks
    Takeaway_Addict
    • #7
    • 3rd Sep 17, 1:01 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Sep 17, 1:01 PM
    As your looking to be well informed it's worth pointing out that The Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply to consumer purchases since October 2015. The parts that applied to this purchase now come under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
    Originally posted by takman
    oooops.......
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • Lingua
    • By Lingua 11th Sep 17, 9:41 AM
    • 200 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    Lingua
    • #8
    • 11th Sep 17, 9:41 AM
    • #8
    • 11th Sep 17, 9:41 AM
    As your looking to be well informed it's worth pointing out that The Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply to consumer purchases since October 2015. The parts that applied to this purchase now come under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
    Originally posted by takman
    I realised this after I posted! Thanks for pointing it out.

    ASDA have come back by their official complaints channel online with the following response:

    Hi,

    Thanks for your email about your experience trying to return a faulty mobile phone back to store.

    I'm sorry that this was faulty as I can appreciate that this must have been disappointing for you. However our own policy is that any mobile phones must be returned with the correct packaging that the phone came in and all components including the sim card must be returned too.

    I can understand that you then called customer services but again they correctly informed you that the box would be needed in order for us to send the faulty phone back to our supplier.

    In order to return the phone, I'm afraid that you would need the full packaging and a refund wouldn't be given without this. However, if you wish to discuss this further with a colleague in store who will be aware of our policies, you can always visit your local store and ask to speak to a customer trading manager who will be happy to help you further and look for another possible solution.

    Many Thanks,

    Laura
    Asda Service Team
    Again, the issue is already resolved as we found the box and returned the product, but I'm rather annoyed that they are insisting on original packaging when this is not required! What would be the advisable way forward in raising a further complaint about this? Aside from referencing the correct piece of legislation

    Thanks
    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £14'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
    • reehsetin
    • By reehsetin 11th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    • 4,816 Posts
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    reehsetin
    • #9
    • 11th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    Grr I would be infuriated by that response (la la yeah but policy), they probably won't learn until they're really shamed for it or taken to court
    Yes Your Dukeiness
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 11th Sep 17, 3:36 PM
    • 11,541 Posts
    • 8,669 Thanks
    unholyangel
    I realised this after I posted! Thanks for pointing it out.

    ASDA have come back by their official complaints channel online with the following response:



    Again, the issue is already resolved as we found the box and returned the product, but I'm rather annoyed that they are insisting on original packaging when this is not required! What would be the advisable way forward in raising a further complaint about this? Aside from referencing the correct piece of legislation

    Thanks
    Lingua
    Originally posted by Lingua
    I find saying something like the below can sometimes prompt them to check the legal position and do a 180:
    As these rights are enshrined in law, any terms in your policy cannot override them and any attempt to restrict/remove a consumers right (or to mislead them about those rights - like you are doing right now by trying to claim your policy supersedes law) can amount to a criminal offence. Therefore I urge you to check the position in law with your legal team before making any further statements.


    But tbh, the most you can do as a consumer (given your own issue has been resolved) if they don't check with their legal team, is to report them to trading standards (now done via citizens advice I believe - very few TS offices will accept complaints from the public directly). And TS are underfunded & overworked, so they usually prioritise the worst offenders. Large corporations tend to know this and will regularly have terms that are wholly unenforceable and/or illegal because for every customer who knows their rights, there are thousands who don't and can be easily misled.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Lingua
    • By Lingua 11th Sep 17, 7:21 PM
    • 200 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    Lingua
    Thanks to both of you for your responses.
    Please see below for the responses provided by ASDA's customer services through their online system. They date from oldest to newest:

    Hi,

    Thanks for your email about your experience trying to return a faulty mobile phone back to store.

    I'm sorry that this was faulty as I can appreciate that this must have been disappointing for you. However our own policy is that any mobile phones must be returned with the correct packaging that the phone came in and all components including the sim card must be returned too.

    I can understand that you then called customer services but again they correctly informed you that the box would be needed in order for us to send the faulty phone back to our supplier.

    In order to return the phone, I'm afraid that you would need the full packaging and a refund wouldn't be given without this. However, if you wish to discuss this further with a colleague in store who will be aware of our policies, you can always visit your local store and ask to speak to a customer trading manager who will be happy to help you further and look for another possible solution.

    Many Thanks,

    Laura
    Asda Service Team
    Hi,

    Thanks for your response on this. I can understand that this was now in relation to your aunt returning the mobile phone and not yourself.

    I can understand that this must have been frustrating for her as she didn't have the full packaging that is required by Asda in order to return a mobile phone. I'm afraid that I can only advise you on a resolution and that would have been to take the full packaging to store.

    As a customer contact centre we can offer resolutions in line with our own policy but can't challenge store when they have followed our correct policy on this.

    I understand that you're disappointed with this and the service received from the store which I apologise for.

    In your last line you advise that the phone was returned and refunded. Could you please confirm that this has been interpreted correctly and that the phone was returned to store and a full refund was provided to your aunt?

    Many Thanks,

    Laura
    Asda Service Team
    Hi,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Unfortunately I'm unable to comment on UK consumer law as I can only speak for Asda and what our own policy states.

    I do apologise for the frustration caused and the fact that your aunt was caused stress by this situation but I can also understand that this was resolved and that she recieved her refund.

    If you could please advise what your expectations are for a resolution on this I can look to accommodate this request as best as possible.

    Many Thanks,

    Laura
    Asda Service Team
    Hi,

    Thanks for your response on this. I can confirm that our own policy in regards to this after speaking with an experienced colleague, is that at Asda, for a mobile phone, in order to verify that the item returned is the same item originally bought, we require the full packaging.

    I understand that you have previously been advised by a colleague in our voice team that this is to make sure the IMEI numbers match and this is correct. In order to process a refund it's essential that we have all the relevant information to process this.

    In regards to your comments about UK Consumer Law, I can't comment further on these and what they do and don't state in relation to Asda's policy. However, for future reference, Asda's own policy is that for a mobile phone, the original packaging and all components are required. Our own policy is correct and is implemented in all of our stores and I'm sorry that you find this misleading.

    I have given you all the relevant information in regards to this now and I'm afraid that I won't be able to comment further.

    I hope that this information is useful for you.

    Many Thanks,

    Laura
    Asda Service Team
    My own emphasis in bold. I'm going to reply to the most recent email after posting this. The customer services assistant is essentially fobbing me off given the highlighted text, even after I asked her to raise this issue with the appropriate manager or senior employee.

    I realise it sounds silly that I am continuing to bug them even though we had a successful resolution of the issue, but I have already experienced a large company acting with impunity as regards the law, and ASDA are treading an annoyingly familiar path.

    They are refusing to escalate the issue, and have continually tried to fob me off by referencing store policy despite my repeated insistence that store policy does not trump UK consumer law. It's becoming exasperating!

    I will include unholyangel's reminder that they are (potentially) breaking the law with their continued insistence that a consumer must return a product in its original packaging, as well as returning the SIM of the phone and that the refund is given to the original card that paid for the item. I can't find any legal basis for any of these three things!

    If they fail to reply, I'll forward the email chain and any other necessary info to Trading Standards through the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Companies trying to skirt around the law really gets my goat!

    Thanks to all for the help!
    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £14'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 11th Sep 17, 8:49 PM
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    KeithP
    So essentially they are asking you to prove that the phone you are returning is the exact same one that they sold to you.

    Asda appear to have decided that the only way of achieving this is to insist on the box with a matching IEMI being returned too.

    On the face of it, that seems reasonable, but Asda must find a better way of doing that which doesn't involve the customer retaining packaging for ever.

    Perhaps Asda could ensure the IEMI appears on the receipt, or something like that, but that is not your problem, it's theirs.
    .
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 11th Sep 17, 9:55 PM
    • 11,541 Posts
    • 8,669 Thanks
    unholyangel
    They seem to be missing one very obvious flaw in their logic.

    They say they need the box to prove its the phone originally bought. Yet if they're matching the IMEI on the box to the IMEI on record, it doesn't prove anything about the phone which could have a completely different IMEI.

    If they're matching the IMEI on the box to the one on the phone and not their records, that doesn't prove it was the one purchased on the receipt.

    The only thing that proves (as a certainty may I add) it was the phone originally purchased is matching the IMEI on the phone to the IMEI on record - for which the box is not required.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Lingua
    • By Lingua 12th Sep 17, 10:43 AM
    • 200 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    Lingua
    This is what I'm rather confused about - the box doesn't provide any additional assistance in sourcing the IMEI!

    I had a final email back today from a different representative, stating:

    Hi

    Thank you for your response to my colleague Laura.

    In my colleagues absence, I can only re-iterate the information already provided.

    If you feel that you have just cause, please feel free to contact Trading Standards, however our policy has been in place for many years and cannot be over ridden or amended on an individual basis.

    As you have received all the relevant and correct policy information, I am afraid we would be unable to escalate your complaint any higher from here at Head Office in Leeds, however please feel free to seek third party advice who I am sure will be able to clarify things for you.

    If there is anything else however, please feel free to call one of my colleagues on 08009520101.

    Regards

    Dave Rear
    Asda Service Team
    I find it really quite annoying that they are refusing to raise this issue with an individual higher in the company. If an issue is raised with policy, and their is no evidence able to be found to support that policy, then an employee should not be referring back to that policy for evidence! It's a loop and they seem to be stuck in it.

    Seeing as this marks the end of matters on their end by email, I will ring the 0800 number to try and speak to somebody, and if that fails then I will ring the CAB today and find out how best to proceed.

    Thanks
    Lingua

    EDIT:
    Rang up the 0800 number to no avail. Representative said that a 'final email' had been sent, so that was the end of it. I did try and get an explanation from her as to why the IMEI number had to be checked against the box. She said they have no internal list of IMEI numbers sold by ASDA. My example was:

    Mobile Phone A with packaging A bought from ASDA.
    Mobile Phone B with packaging B bought from Carphone Warehouse.

    Person returns Mobile Phone B with packaging B to ASDA. ASDA can only check Mobile Phone B against packaging B. They would match, so how would ASDA know it was a different phone!

    Her response was that ASDA would check the IMEI through further research (this is possible as an IMEI can indicate where a phone was sold). However, this only proves my point! If they can check from the IMEI that a phone was sold by ASDA, then it doesn't need to be checked against the packaging as the IMEI on the phone would prove that it was sold by ASDA! What a shambles.

    She also indicated this was the case for all electrical items which can be plugged into the mains. She even tried to say that a receipt must be produced, but I quickly told her that only proof of purchase is required, and this can be a bank statement.

    So, to CAB it is.
    Last edited by Lingua; 12-09-2017 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Additional info from phone call
    Long-Term Goal: £14'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 12th Sep 17, 1:02 PM
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    KeithP
    So, to CAB it is.
    Originally posted by Lingua
    What do you expect from CAB that you haven't already seen here?
    .
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 12th Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    • 3,354 Posts
    • 5,728 Thanks
    Fosterdog
    What do you expect from CAB that you haven't already seen here?
    Originally posted by KeithP
    Probably for CAB to pass the details on to Trading Standards as they no longer deal with the public. If this really is Asda's policy and they refuse to even consider that the law says otherwise then they need to be investigated and brought to task over it. They are deliberately misleading consumers on their rights.

    It would have been interesting to see their response if the box hadn't been found and it escalated to court action. The law is clear on the matter and they cannot have their own policies trumping the law.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 12th Sep 17, 2:58 PM
    • 18,543 Posts
    • 14,271 Thanks
    agrinnall
    I'm pretty confident that ASDA are in the wrong, but I can't even comprehend the argument they are making. While it's possible (but bizarre) that they have no record of the IMEI of the phones they sell I'm sure that the suppliers will have a record, so in the few cases where there is some question about whether the phone was one that they sold they should be able to confirm that quite easily. They seem to be determined to break the law in order to shift responsibility for their own stock control failings onto the consumer, and it needs to be called out and stopped.

    Perhaps someone should tell them that whatever Wal-Mart might say they are still subject to the laws of the land where they are operating.
    • Lingua
    • By Lingua 13th Sep 17, 12:26 PM
    • 200 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    Lingua
    CAB have passed on the complaint to Trading Standards. The complaint comprised:
    1) demanding original packaging
    2) required separate SIM card be returned with phone
    3) insisting on original debit card being used for refund when law indicates alternative payment method (i.e., cheque) can be provided within 14 days
    4) repeating on several occasions that a receipt was required (in contrast to simple proof of purchase, such as bank statement).

    The overall problem has been that they are conflating faulty and non-faulty goods, and their policy does not differentiate.

    That's it all over now, and thank you all for your help!

    As a final note though, I thought you might all appreciate the conversation I had with the final customer services representative! It tickled my funny bone:

    I rang to confirm that they were not willing to escalate by their internal complaints procedure. The lady on the phone insisted that I would not be able to change policy, even when I told her it was breaching consumer law. I then asked her "if ASDA's policy said that you could not return any product at all, for whatever reason, would that not be illegal?" She said she "couldn't answer that question", despite repeated requests. My reasoning was to try and point out that if they would defend that policy, then it is no surprise they are defending their current policy! And I was right.

    Hope you all have better experiences of ASDA and their customer services than we did.

    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £14'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
    • tommy45
    • By tommy45 13th Sep 17, 3:46 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    tommy45
    Don't buy such foods from Asda seems to be the way to avoid this nonsense
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 13th Sep 17, 4:13 PM
    • 4,478 Posts
    • 2,797 Thanks
    KeithP
    Don't buy such foods from Asda seems to be the way to avoid this nonsense
    Originally posted by tommy45
    What food?
    .
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