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Smeg induction hob rusty after 18 months

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Hi all,

Just looking for a bit of advice about whether to bother taking this further.

We bought a Smeg induction in about Oct 2021 from Boots Kitchen Appliances (online) using an Amex credit card.

After about 18 months, the enamel started coming away from the surround, and so the edges are going rusty. This is happening all round the edge.



Emailed Boots (retailer), they said 'good news! You're still within warranty' and advised us to contact Smeg.

Smeg said:

"Our technical team have advised that this looks to be the result of sliding pans, which has chipped the enamel resulting in rust. 

Unfortunately, issues of this nature are not covered by our warranty terms and conditions. You can view these here - https://help.smeguk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/191/kw/warranty

8. Exceptions to cover:
  • Cosmetic damage on the appliance such as dents, scratches, or rust.
Could you please kindly advise the cleaning products used on the appliance?"

I asked what they meant by 'sliding pans' - this is light use by two grown adults, and we've not been playing air hockey on the cooker (I didn't say that 😂) - but they replied again and said 

"We have been checking diligently with our technical team and they advised that this is indeed a cosmetic damage which we will not be holding ourselves liable for as the this is not covered under the manufacturer's warranty".

Fine - I suppose they can cover what they like with their warranty. Back to Boots, after advice from some people on my own MSE diary. 

I did mention the Consumer Rights Act here, and that I didn't think less than 18 months was a 'reasonable amount of time' for a £700 hob, and that I was now unable to clean it properly, hence 'unfit for purpose'.

They have agreed with Smeg and washed their hands of it.

"After reviewing the images which you have kindly sent into us we would have to side with the manufacturer and confirm that the issue does look to be a cosmetic defect and not caused by a manufacturers fault and we would not be able to offer a replacement hob or assist with arranging or contributing to a repair"

Boots did offer me £50 off buying a replacement from them, which clearly I won't be taking up 😂

I then posted pictures on social media, and a Smeg representative did respond, but after providing incident numbers etc they've vanished again.

So, wise people - is this covered under the Consumer Rights Act as not lasting a reasonable amount of time? Do I expend any more effort trying to get a replacement/repair? An official complaint to Boots? Section 75?

Or do I just live with it? This is one of very few things I've ever bought new, and this experience is telling me I should have just bought a cheap second hand one as usual! 🙄

Any thoughts appreciated, thank you 😊


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Comments

  • powerful_Rogue
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    Get someone out to look at it and write a report. If the report states it's not user damage, then go back to boots with that.
  • RefluentBeans
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    Agree with Powerful_Rogue. 

    Talking about consumer rights (not warranty): The issue will be that they manufacturers have already stated that they believe this to be user error (sliding pans - which I assume is the act of sliding the pans around the job rather than moving them by lifting them, but not 100% sure).

    The retailer may default to the manufacturers judgement as it’s them who made it, so would presumably know what the fault is and how they can repair it. If the retailer that it’s user error, then at this point it’s on you to prove it’s a manufacturing defect. This can only be done with an engineers report really. 

    With regards to the warranty (and the terms you’ve stated): these are on top of your consumer rights (not in place of). They can be broad or limited. In this case, regardless of if the product is faulty, the warranty would only kick in if there appears to be a technical fault. The risk I assume does not affect the usage of the stove and so would unlikely to be covered by the warranty. Personally I would give up on that argument with the manufacturers as they are very unlikely to change their opinion, and there’s not much you can do to change the terms. 

    TL;DR:
    Spend your time on the retailer - can ask them to inspect the item themselves and see if it’s faulty (they aren’t obligated to do that), and if that fails get an engineering report to determine if the product was damaged by you or is faulty by not your use. This is often expensive, but you may be able to claim the cost of the report from the retailer. I would only go for this option if you know that there’s no way you could have damaged it though, or the report may not be in your favour and you could’ve spent the money towards a new hob. 
  • cannugec5
    cannugec5 Posts: 471 Forumite
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    Even if you did slide, rather than lift,  pans on this hob I fail to see how you could do so in such close proximity to the knobs. 
  • tightauldgit
    tightauldgit Posts: 2,628 Forumite
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    This kind of thing is why I am generally reluctant to pursue a warranty claim vs a CRA claim with the retailer (or to advise others to do so) because once a manufacturer has said 'our warranty doesn't cover that' then a retailer is going to feel absolutely justified to say no to a consumer. 

    In this case youre probably now going to have an uphill battle pursing a CRA claim with Boots. If you decide to pursue it then an independent report saying its a manufacturing or design issue is probably your only hope of getting action.
  • RefluentBeans
    RefluentBeans Posts: 1,002 Forumite
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    This kind of thing is why I am generally reluctant to pursue a warranty claim vs a CRA claim with the retailer (or to advise others to do so) because once a manufacturer has said 'our warranty doesn't cover that' then a retailer is going to feel absolutely justified to say no to a consumer. 

    In this case youre probably now going to have an uphill battle pursing a CRA claim with Boots. If you decide to pursue it then an independent report saying its a manufacturing or design issue is probably your only hope of getting action.
    Agree with this. I think proving a negative (ie the consumer didn’t damage the product) in this case is hard. I think the only option is that the design was always inadequate. 

    Have a feeling that if the retailer doesn’t go with the pots defence that the manufacturer did, they’ll end up going with excessive cleaning with scourers or something along those lines. In any case, I don’t think cleaning a hob should cause the level of issue seen here, so it’d have to be that the design wasn’t adequate. 
  • km1500
    km1500 Posts: 2,426 Forumite
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    rather than give up completely you could try a small claims against Boots it will only cost you £30 or whatever and you might get a friendly judge
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,912 Forumite
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    If the OP can obtain sufficient evidence to counter the seller's claim that it is user damage and decides to go to small claims court, what quantum of claim should he ask for?

    Assuming the appliance works OK, this is cosmetic damage. Should he get a quote for a tradesman to sand away the rust and repaint with enamel paint or would he be justified in claiming the cost of a new one (£699) minus 2 years use plus removal and fitting, say a total of £700?

    Would Boots be more willing to settle for a claim of say £50 for a repair than £700 for a bit of rust?
  • RefluentBeans
    RefluentBeans Posts: 1,002 Forumite
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    edited 19 August 2023 at 3:15PM
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    Yeah I think the crux of the issue is that the product is still working. To some extent, cosmetic deterioration is expected with age and not necessarily a fault. As I said, the amount the products used, amount it’s cleaned, cleaning products used plus a load of other factors will affect the cosmetic outer of the product. 

    In my experience, enamel not good at impact damage. And once a chip has occurred, it makes it like a seed for other chips to go from. Then the underlying metal is exposed and rust can form. 

    It’s a tricky one because I empathise that the product was expensive, but it’s also still functioning. I also don’t know how that plays into the CRA - normally with ‘faults’ there’s something that significantly impacts performance of the product and so to get the product to an acceptable state retailers have to repair, replace or refund. But after 6 months the onus is always on you to provide evidence that the fault was inherent. The product is functional, and the cosmetic damage could be from consumer use. 

    I’d go for what Alderbank suggested - see how much a local trader would charge to restore the cosmetic damage and see if you can get that £50 voucher converted to cash to pay for it. It seems like in the report aspect could be a coin flip to see what it says, and at the price of those, you want the odds greater than a coin flip really. 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 31,861 Forumite
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    In my expletive, enamel not good at impact damage
    It's f***ed when it's damaged? ;)
  • RefluentBeans
    RefluentBeans Posts: 1,002 Forumite
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    edited 19 August 2023 at 3:15PM
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    eskbanker said:
    In my expletive, enamel not good at impact damage
    It's f***ed when it's damaged? ;)
    Oops - typo for experience (!) but you could certainly say that! 
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