Returning Items

Hello.

I bought 6 dining chairs from an online company in December. The chairs arrived on the 23rd December. The chairs needed assembled and two were cracked and had to be returned. I decided to wait until these were replaced until I assembled the remaining chairs, otherwise I would have odd chairs at my dining table.

The replacement chairs arrived on the 18th January. I assembled all six chairs and realised that the quality and comfort was poor.

Ive contacted the company and ask to return the items however they are refusing as the say that the 30 day return starts from the day they were all delivered ie 23rd Dec, rather than the 18th Jan which is effectively the date I had all working chairs available to me.

I purchased via credit card and the cost was £1100.

Any advise on what I should do?
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  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,329
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    edited 1 February at 10:21PM
    Assuming this was a set of chairs (i.e. the chairs weren't sold as separate items) I would recommend you respond quoting the consumer rights act and saying you are rejecting the chairs using your short term right to reject as not of satisfactory quality. Specifically you want to quote this section: 
    22Time limit for short-term right to reject
    (1)A consumer who has the short-term right to reject loses it if the time limit for exercising it passes without the consumer exercising it, unless the trader and the consumer agree that it may be exercised later.
    (2)An agreement under which the short-term right to reject would be lost before the time limit passes is not binding on the consumer.
    (3)The time limit for exercising the short-term right to reject (unless subsection (4)applies) is the end of 30 days beginning with the first day after these have all happened—
    (a)ownership or (in the case of a contract for the hire of goods, a hire-purchase agreement or a conditional sales contract) possession of the goods has been transferred to the consumer,
    (b)the goods have been delivered, and
    (c)where the contract requires the trader to install the goods or take other action to enable the consumer to use them, the trader has notified the consumer that the action has been taken.
    ...
    (6)If the consumer requests or agrees to the repair or replacement of goods, the period mentioned in subsection (3) or (4) stops running for the length of the waiting period.

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/22

    i.e you ordered a set of chairs - there was a problem with two chairs in the set - the 30 day clock to reject started on the 23rd Dec, then was paused from the (unknown) day you informed the seller there was a problem until it restarted on the 18th Jan (the day you received the replacement items to complete the set).

    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 597
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    edited 1 February at 11:29PM

    ...  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/22

    i.e you ordered a set of chairs - there was a problem with two chairs in the set - the 30 day clock to reject started on the 23rd Dec, then was paused from the (unknown) day you informed the seller there was a problem until it restarted on the 18th Jan (the day you received the replacement items to complete the set).

    But won't the question of whether or not the short-term rejection window is (or was) still open depend on (a) exactly how long the "waiting period" was - ie the number of days between the unknown start of the "waiting period" and the 18th January - and (b) precisely when the OP told the trader he wanted to reject the goods?

    The chairs were originally delivered on 23 December, so the original window for short-term rejection would have ended on 22 January - ten days ago.  If the waiting period was shorter than ten days then the extended window might have closed before the OP tried to reject them.  Or have I misunderstood s22(7)(a) and (b)?

    In any case, I think the length of the waiting period needs to be calculated and we need to know exactly when the OP told the trader he was rejecting the chairs
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,329
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    edited 2 February at 1:04AM
    Okell said:

    ...  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/22

    i.e you ordered a set of chairs - there was a problem with two chairs in the set - the 30 day clock to reject started on the 23rd Dec, then was paused from the (unknown) day you informed the seller there was a problem until it restarted on the 18th Jan (the day you received the replacement items to complete the set).

    But won't the question of whether or not the short-term rejection window is (or was) still open depend on (a) exactly how long the "waiting period" was - ie the number of days between the unknown start of the "waiting period" and the 18th January - and (b) precisely when the OP told the trader he wanted to reject the goods?

    The chairs were originally delivered on 23 December, so the original window for short-term rejection would have ended on 22 January - ten days ago.  If the waiting period was shorter than ten days then the extended window might have closed before the OP tried to reject them.  Or have I misunderstood s22(7)(a) and (b)?

    In any case, I think the length of the waiting period needs to be calculated and we need to know exactly when the OP told the trader he was rejecting the chairs
    Agreed - and I rewrote that section of my reply a few times as it's not the easiest thing to articulate (maybe just for my brain!) :)

    But as the waiting period is from sending the notification of a problem to delivery of the replacement items... I'm also assuming the OP was required to return the damaged items, before the replacements were sent (which considering the value of the chairs is not given but reasonably likely), and they requested the return at least yesterday (waiting for a reply before creating this thread) 10+ days seems more than plausible.

    (Though I'd worked out the last day to request a return excluding the waiting period was the 21st Jan as I think the 30 days is inclusive of the delivery date?) 

    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • RefluentBeans
    RefluentBeans Posts: 847
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    To clarify - there’s some confusion in my head in what piece of legalisation you wish to return under.

    Are you looking to cancel the contract (as online sales would be a distance selling contract) under the Consumer Contract Regs? If so you have 14 days from the day of delivery to do this; and in which case you’d need to work out how long after delivery you initially made the complaint. 

    Are you looking for claim the chairs as faulty (including not as described)? In this case you have the short term right to reject within 30 days. You do also have the right to repair or replacement within 6 months, as the faults are assumed to be there. They have one chance of replacement/repair before you can act on your right to reject and get a refund. 

    Are you looking to claim the chairs under the retailers refund policy? If so - then I think they can just refuse as this is above your statutory rights.

    Like others have said, this will depend on if the chairs were sold as an individual unit (you bought 6 individual chairs) or a collection (you bought 1 set of 6 chairs). If the set of chair, then I think it would pause and restart the time when you got the replacements. 

    If individual chairs, you’ll need to make the argument that the chairs are faulty because they are of insufficient quality, and that they should replace the chairs. However, I think that’s a challenging argument to make to make a claim in my opinion. Wooden chairs are wooden chairs. Unless they said they were solid oak, and you can see they’re pine or MDF; or they said they’d be painted and they’re not - I think it’d be hard to make a claim under the consumer rights act. This is especially true for the comfort. This is the reason the distance selling regulations are there to allow you to see how the chairs feel, as if you were in a physical shop. Hopefully the combined times are within 14 days and you’d have a more compelling argument, as outside of that you’re relying on a faulty by low quality argument which they can just brush off fairly easily in my opinion. 
  • csswiift
    csswiift Posts: 58
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    Thanks for all your comments.

    A quick recap on timelines:

    - 6 chairs arrived 23rd Dec
    - Told company about broken chairs on 23rd Ddc
    - Replacements arrived and broken collected on 18th Jan
    - Asked company for a return of all items due to quality on 26th Jan

    I presume time is paused between 23rd Dec and 18th Jan? So real time is between 18th Jan and 26th Jan?

    Bought as a package of 6 chairs.
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 597
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    Okell said:

    ...  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/22

    i.e you ordered a set of chairs - there was a problem with two chairs in the set - the 30 day clock to reject started on the 23rd Dec, then was paused from the (unknown) day you informed the seller there was a problem until it restarted on the 18th Jan (the day you received the replacement items to complete the set).

    But won't the question of whether or not the short-term rejection window is (or was) still open depend on (a) exactly how long the "waiting period" was - ie the number of days between the unknown start of the "waiting period" and the 18th January - and (b) precisely when the OP told the trader he wanted to reject the goods?

    The chairs were originally delivered on 23 December, so the original window for short-term rejection would have ended on 22 January - ten days ago.  If the waiting period was shorter than ten days then the extended window might have closed before the OP tried to reject them.  Or have I misunderstood s22(7)(a) and (b)?

    In any case, I think the length of the waiting period needs to be calculated and we need to know exactly when the OP told the trader he was rejecting the chairs
    Agreed - and I rewrote that section of my reply a few times as it's not the easiest thing to articulate (maybe just for my brain!) :)...

    ... (Though I'd worked out the last day to request a return excluding the waiting period was the 21st Jan as I think the 30 days is inclusive of the delivery date?) 

    Yes.   :)   When I first read the OP's post I was confident that I knew how the waiting period worked, but when I checked 22(7) I realised it was more complicated than I had remembered

    I think the 30 days starts on the day after delivery.  See s22(3)
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 597
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    I think @RefluentBeans makes a valid point in asking whether this is actually an example of the short-term right to reject or the cancellation of a distance contrcat, but I'm not sure the OP has any real choice but to claim rejection.

    If the chairs were delivered on 23 December and the OP didn't clearly inform the trader within 14 days that they were cancelling the contract, that opportunity has been lost.  There is no provision in the regulations to extend the cancellation period**

    That leaves the OP with having to argue that they are trying to exercise their short-term right to reject.  According to the dates now supplied by the OP, I calculate that the short-term right - according to s22(7)(b) - ends on the 18th February: that is 22nd January plus 27 days waiting period.  (But perhaps somebody could check I've calculated that correctly...)

    But as the broken chairs have now been replaced, the OP's grounds for rejection have disappeared - unless he can argue that the chairs as a whole are still not of satisfactory quality - however that might be judged.

    I think that might be difficult, but if the OP doesn't want to keep them I'm not sure he has any other option.

    **  That bit isn't right is it?  Under reg 31 of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (legislation.gov.uk) the cancellation period can be extended by up to a year if the trader hasn't provided the information required by para (l) of Schedule 2 to the Regulations.  So if the trader hasn't supplied that information yet (or at all), the cancellation window remains open.
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,329
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    Okell said:
    But as the broken chairs have now been replaced, the OP's grounds for rejection have disappeared - unless he can argue that the chairs as a whole are still not of satisfactory quality - however that might be judged.

    I think that might be difficult, but if the OP doesn't want to keep them I'm not sure he has any other option.

    The waffly bit is that within the first 30 days the burden of proof is on the seller to establish the products do conform to the contract, not the buyer to prove they do not...

    ... and 'sufficient quality' is fairly wooly itself, so the OP just needs to give any valid/reasonable reason that the seller can't disprove without first accepting the items back (they said in the OP 'the quality and comfort were poor', so I'm assuming there's something such as after assembly they wobble or a joint somewhere on one of the chairs feels loose...) 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,279
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    edited 2 February at 1:53PM
    I don't see why the short term right to reject is needed here, the goods did not confirm, a replacement was issued, further reasons for the goods not conforming = final right to reject with burden of proof on the retailer.

    Personally I don't understand the point of the whole waiting period idea when a remedy is being provided. 

    Quality is obviously subjective, £1100 for 6 chairs in perhaps not the most expensive but beyond bargain basement range, OP you'd be looking at the below, can you advise why the chairs are not good quality (forget comfort for a moment :) ) and perhaps any pictures of the actual chairs plus a link to where you purchased from please?

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/9

    (2)The quality of goods is satisfactory if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would consider satisfactory, taking account of—

    (a)any description of the goods,

    (b)the price or other consideration for the goods (if relevant), and

    (c)all the other relevant circumstances (see subsection (5)).

    (3)The quality of goods includes their state and condition; and the following aspects (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

    (a)fitness for all the purposes for which goods of that kind are usually supplied;

    (b)appearance and finish;

    (c)freedom from minor defects;

    (d)safety;

    (e)durability.

  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 597
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    I don't see why the short term right to reject is needed here, the goods did not confirm, a replacement was issued, further reasons for the goods not conforming = final right to reject with burden of proof on the retailer...
    Regarding the short-term right to reject I think previous posters (including me) have been inadvertantly misled by the OP's mention of a 30 day return period and have assumed that's what the issue was.

    But whether it's the short term right or the final right I'm not entirely confident that the OP's realisation that "the quality and comfort was poor" is sufficient grounds to justify rejection on either basis.  The original broken chairs have been replaced and I think the trader could easily persuade a court that the OP is really saying "I don't like them" rather than that there is still something wrong with them.  But not having sat on them and not having paid a grand for them I'm not really in a position to say.

    I still wonder if the OP might be best advised to look at what cancellation info they were given and whether it could be argued that the cancellation period is extended.
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