Paper tiger

dogvomitsnore
dogvomitsnore Posts: 68
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edited 26 September 2022 at 10:46AM in Praise, vent & warnings
Time after time I see people being advised of their consumer rights and told how they can apply to the small claims court. But what does that actually mean in reality? Doesn't it give false hope that all will be well. That you have the right in law for such and such?
You may well have the right but that is no guarantee that you will ever see your money again. 

So you buy a faulty washing machine or freezer or bed or car or any of the millions of things that can go wrong.
You take it back, probably ask for a refund or at the very least a repair.  The trader point blank refuses to do anything. You can quote chapter and verse until you are blue in the face. It makes no difference.  They call your bluff because they know what a long drawn out process it's going to be for you. What else can you do but threaten to take them to court. 

They still don't play ball.

So you set off on the small claims road. Receipts,reports, evidence time, expense worry. In the meantime you have a useless washing machine in your kitchen taking up space you don't have. Or maybe a double bed propped up against you bedroom wall while you sleep on an airbed.
Eventually you either get a judgement in your favourite because the trader didn't respond or you end up taking time off work to go to court. You win the case you are awarded the full amount plus some expenses. Probably not enough to cover the total losses you have incurred. 
The trader doesn't pay up.  You then have to pursue the money trail. Possibly employing debt collectors to somehow drag some cash out of the trader. It won't be cheap. It won't be easy.

 After all of that with any luck, to you are going to end up in exactly the same position financially as if you had never walked into that shop in the first place.  
Sure,the trader might be a couple of hundred pounds lighter if the court finds in your favour. But it's worth the risk in the long run. For the one person who fights for their money back, how many just admit they have been ripped off? 
The trader has managed to find another punter to flog defective goods to. 

I know people mean well when they suggest "take them to the small claims court". And I know some people are very successful at recovering their money.  I know the threat of action against some people isn't worth the paper it's written on. 

Rant over.
«13

Comments

  • So you'd advise aggrieved consumers to...

    ... do what?
  • You're right, the system is terrible. It's weighted in favour of the businesses and massively against the consumer. Small Claims court is unwieldy and complex for small consumer claims. 

    But while you lobby your MP for a better system, all that posters on here can do is give advice about using the current system. 


  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,254
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    The difficulties involved in pursuing claims are frequently discussed here, I’m not sure where you’ve read advice that it’s easy and guaranteed to get your money back.
  • So you'd advise aggrieved consumers to...

    ... do what?
    There really isn't much else they can do. But telling people that they have a right to reject the product within 30 days makes it sound so simple. Like it actually means something when in reality it only works IF the trader is willing to cooperate. There simply isn't the power to force the trader to do anything. At the end of the day,all they are forced to do is give you back the money they owe you. Where is the deterrent in that? 
  • user1977 said:
    The difficulties involved in pursuing claims are frequently discussed here, I’m not sure where you’ve read advice that it’s easy and guaranteed to get your money back.
    Wow,I don't know how you have come to that from what I have said. In fact I am arguing that unless the trader plays ball,it is very difficult to get your money back. It is the constant advice to go to the small claims court or to simply reject the the goods as though it is some simple process that irks me.

    Of course it is a right of law to reject goods and receive a refund. But in reality it's not that simple. Unscrupulous traders know the law too. They know for a lot of people, it's too much trouble to go through the courts. In fact I would say they rely on it.
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,672
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    So you'd advise aggrieved consumers to...

    ... do what?
    There really isn't much else they can do. But telling people that they have a right to reject the product within 30 days makes it sound so simple. Like it actually means something when in reality it only works IF the trader is willing to cooperate. There simply isn't the power to force the trader to do anything. At the end of the day,all they are forced to do is give you back the money they owe you. Where is the deterrent in that? 
    It's not meant to be a deterrent. It's meant to be fair to both parties. If you are looking for punitive damages you are in the wrong country.
    I agree the small claims court route is onerous and not suitable for smaller claims. But court is not the only route. We recommend a dispute resolution process or ombudsman route where available.
    We also recommend paying at least partly by credit card because chargeback or s75 claims are easier than court action.
    Finally, we have a lot of evidence that if you know your rights and present your case well that retailers who initially dismiss your claim will reconsider and pay up before going to court.
  • What would you consider to be a smaller claim? Everything is relative. I may be able to replace a faulty washing machine. How would a single parent on benefits cope without theirs? I'm not talking about damages as such but rather some sort of payout if it become clear that the trader has not complied with the law. 

    For example,the washing machine catches fire,floods the kitchen. The trader refuses to accept the product is not fit for purpose when clearly it wasn't.  
    The loss of the washing machine may be a small claim but a big loss. For the trader it's money in the bank. Mediation only works if both parties agree to take part. 
    Why should the trader? He can wait until the final minute to make a refund. He can make the customer go through the whole process in the hope they will give up.

    How does the trader benefit from paying out early?
  • What you’re describing IS damages by definition. 
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,520
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    What would you consider to be a smaller claim? Everything is relative. I may be able to replace a faulty washing machine. How would a single parent on benefits cope without theirs? I'm not talking about damages as such but rather some sort of payout if it become clear that the trader has not complied with the law. 

    For example,the washing machine catches fire,floods the kitchen. The trader refuses to accept the product is not fit for purpose when clearly it wasn't.  
    The loss of the washing machine may be a small claim but a big loss. For the trader it's money in the bank. Mediation only works if both parties agree to take part. 
    Why should the trader? He can wait until the final minute to make a refund. He can make the customer go through the whole process in the hope they will give up.

    How does the trader benefit from paying out early?
    House insurance.

    Why is product not fit for purpose? Fire could have been caused by faulty house electrics.

    System is what it is. There is no system that will produce a quick result. But remember any system has to be fair to both parties. As there as many scammers on consumer side as well.

    Think this would be better in praise & vent as not actual consumer issue. 👍
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