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Taking faulty goods back to the shop

simon gray 2006-08-24, 11:17:08
Read this article aloud — 617 words

Compare and, as the teacher used to say, contrast the following two situations.

Last Tuesday evening from Spar I bought a box of Stowell’s Tempranillo (a light red wine, for those not in the know). I got it to the boat, poured a glass, and it turned out to be quite disgusting – a bottle of it I might have forced myself to drink, but a whole 3 litre box costing £18, I draw the line at; I’m not that much of an alcoholic. As well as being disgusting, in the glass it was cloudier than New Brighton beach on a wet sunday morning, and left a sediment in the glass worse than the Severn Trent sewage reprocessing plant. I’ve poured better home-brew down the sink.

Last Sunday afternoon I bought from Sainsbury’s supermarket in Selly Oak a bottle of chocolate schnapps (amongst other things). When I got home I went to open the bottle (a screw-top affair), and half the bottle came off along with the lid. So in the booze department, luck has been lacking this week.

This morning I took the box of wine back to Spar (when explaining the problem to the person behind the counter, one of the responses was “what’s sediment?”), and discovered in the process that it had a Best Before End date of July 2005. When the manager came out from the back of the shop he asked if I had the receipt – my answer was, naturally, “no, sorry – after all, do you keep the receipt for every bottle of wine you buy?”, and I pointed out that it was over a year past the BBE date. The manager said that without the receipt there was nothing he could do, so a bit of a discussion followed in which I mentioned the magic words “Trading Standards”, and he eventually went into the back room to look through the whole of Tuesday evening’s receipts to find the sale for the box of wine, and after 20 minutes came back having found the evidence of the sale (during which time I’d discovered another box of the same wine still for sale, also out of date) and grudgingly agreed to a refund.

This evening I took the bottle of schnapps back to Sainsbury’s, was asked if I had the receipt, and again my answer was, naturally, “no, sorry – after all, do you keep the receipt for every bottle of wine you buy?”.

“Good point, fair enough” was the reply – and the person behind the counter instantly went to the till and pulled out a refund in cash to give to me, without any further discussion.

Now, the man from Sainsbury’s could quite easily have argued with me on the grounds that, after all, from his point of view I could have broken the bottle myself accidently and tried to pass it off as faulty. So why did the man from Spar, when there was clear proof and evidence that the actual product wasn’t fit for sale, that it was out of date, and that there were more goods still for sale also out of date, decide to make an issue of it? And eventually lose the deal, waste half an hour of mine, his, and his assistant’s time, and leave a customer with a bad impression of the shop.

#consumer #rights

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