EE Retail - Refunding faulty item less than 28 days after purchase

Hi, I thought I'd share my current story regarding trying to receive an exchange/refund with EE. I'll update the thread as the issue develops in my quest to just get a replacement handset.

I bought myself a new phone 24 days ago (on the 4th August) just before going on holiday from work and finally got rid of my separate PMP & phone combo for a nice Moto G 4G (with SD card support). While the phone appeared to work initially I didn't notice there was a fault with the handset until recently. The phone detects the headphone jack as being removed if you place the phone in a pocket or move it in just about any way due to a tiny gap in the case beside the jack. I would consider the item not fit for purpose.

I contacted the manufacturer (Motorola) direct to confirm the problem and I was told that I should take it to the retailer to have the phone exchanged.
So I phoned EE to try and find out some information on their returns policy within 28 days and had no luck at all. The man on the phone was so hesitant to confirm anything that I'm sure if I asked him what planet we were on he would have trouble confirming it. Having no luck, I asked if I could visit another EE store closer to me to try to resolve the issue and I was told I could.

So I visited the EE store at my local shopping centre and had the luck of speaking to someone who contained genuine empathy and could clearly see the fault, she went to get authorisation to see if it could be exchanged since it was clearly faulty. It was then that I met your average "ethnicity-withheld-by-user friendly I'm going to smile and call you "mate" at every opportunity I can while slouching" phone shop salesman. He started by looking at the receipt and then the phone and tried to talk into his monitor rather than to me. He'd continue to say "mate" every sentence and said that as it was not within 14 days it would be sent to their service centre. The joy contained within this man must have been euphoric as he tried to smile at every opportunity that he spoke. Their manager buddy popped over and much with the same attitude said "Refund. nah, can't be done" since I bought the phone from the other, busier store 5-10 minutes away. The girl was helpful as she could be and I can't fault her, the other two showed as much fake concern as they could muster while talking in a manner that I've rarely heard from kids in shell suits outside your local DWP office.

I agreed to go back to the store I bought it from and wait to speak to their manager. I had to wait 15 minutes and the large man appeared from the shadowy room to see me. He was in his mid to late 40's overweight and very abrupt (a sad insight into what the retail world demands), completely devoid of concern he sat me down in a corner to check the phone. This man is a good match for me, as I'm usually abrupt and to the point something that most customer service people do not enjoy. I explained that since it has been under 28 days since purchase that if possible I'd like to swap the handset for the same model so that I could continue on (I've had poor experiences with the EE service centre in the past). He looked at the receipt and said "14 days, can't give you a refund after that".
This man decided to inspect the phone by looking at the gap and saying "could be user damage, gotta get it inspected at the repair centre", I told him I'd contacted Motorola already and that I was told to return it to the retailer that I purchased it from. This concept was foreign to him as he said "why didn't you bring it here? Motorola didn't sell you the phone and they don't know our policies", I explained that I wanted to consult with the manufacturer that it was a problem with the handset and that there should not be the gap, but also to check if it was a known problem (Since Motorola contain a bleedin' amazing technical support team who will go out of their way to help you). He went on that "if I'd noticed it sooner" and at this stage it would be considered "user damage".
I'm not keen on sending it to the service centre since it was purchase JUST over 3 weeks ago, and the large man with halitosis was not keen to even insert a pair of headphones/jack this time unlike the other store. I also find it very hard to believe that it is "not possible" to refund/replace the item for me within 28 days like any sensible retailer would, and I indicated that I'm going home to check the sales of goods act and to contact EE's customer care. I also informed him that I will happily continue to escalate the issue until it is resolved, this is something that he doesn't seem keen on outright stating that "I'm not going to get the area manager's details & it won't go to him" not that I was asking for them, I'm confident that once in touch with the right person that I can escalate this accordingly to receive a sensible resolution. I can only say that I find it sad to see a General Store Manager in a business like this who has such poor customer service skills and it's the first time someone's attempted the "let me finish" line on me without me actually interrupting them in any way.

So I decided to not send the item off for repair and he said he'd be in touch after seeing what he could do stating that he would "be in tomorow" . The service centre have an appallingly slow service and I only stand to be completely inconvenienced waiting "up to 4 weeks" to receive "A new or repaired" phone only 24 days after purchase. This item was purchased as a replacement for a PMP for daily use and waiting only serves to inconvenience me at this time when an exchange would be the sensible course of action.

Today I realised that I am a filthy criminal, guilty of not returning an item quick enough and being "suspicious" for contacting the manufacturer. I live on a planet and in a country where if an item develops a fault or you notice a fault within 28 days you are guilty of a horrible crime. It's all your fault and it's certainly not a production error or "unfit for purpose". I'm not even asking for my money back like many would and only seek a replacement handset. Maybe I'm crazy, rude and expecting too much from a retail outlet.
In the end I should have just waited a week for my new bank card and bought the phone from Amazon instead.

Is it any wonder that these retail giants will fall to companies like Amazon who feature a largely hassle-free returns service?


  • Anoneemoose
    Anoneemoose Posts: 2,258 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    To cut a (very) long story short, they don't have to replace, they are within their rights to offer repair. It also clearly states there is no return policy on the receipt they will have given you which means you have no entitlement to a refund or return for change of mind.

    Under SOGA, they have done enough by offering to repair it as is faulty.
  • mije1983
    mije1983 Posts: 3,665 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker Name Dropper First Anniversary
    the large man appeared from the shadowy room to see me. He was in his mid to late 40's overweight and very abrupt (a sad insight into what the retail world demands)

    How does his age and weight impact on his ability to do the job? He's not an athlete. I'm pretty sure that it's not legal for an employer to discriminate against someone based on age or weight!

    I'm also equally sure that Amazon probably have some people in their 40's working for them who may be on the heavy side. :D

    It does come across in your post with some of your comments, that you seem to look down on the EE employees. That may not be your intention, and you may well not be like that in reality, but that's just the way it came across to me.

    Having said that, I don't think the way the first employee spoke to you was appropriate. Calling you 'mate' all the time isn't really professional in my view.

    I know you said Motorola said to take it back to EE, but have you seen if you can send it back to them directly? It may be a quicker turnaround if you can't get it replaced.
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
    Under SOGA, they have done enough by offering to repair it as is faulty.
    SOGA says "within reasonable time". I don't think that 4 weeks is a reasonable time unless they offer a loan handset with a similar functionality.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Repair, refund, or replace, the supplier can choose.
    There is absolutely no right to an automatic replacement in law: different suppliers have different returns policies, which may or may not be be more generous.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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