Your rights in replacement of faulty goods
Rarely do faulty products get replaced after three years with nearly no questions asked, but that was my experience when a pair of personal computer speakers went on the blink.
One day, the $29.95 Logitech LS11 speakers from Dick Smith Electronics were pumping out movie soundtracks and music from my media centre, the next day their little green light had died and their output was fuzzy and distorted.
Nothing had changed in my set-up - it was not my fault!
Once I had confirmed that the problem was definitely with the speakers and not the computer's sound card (by trying the speakers 3.5mm audio jack in other PC audio outputs), I called Logitech's customer care line for help and advice.
I always dread these sorts of calls, since they often leave me feeling like I have been shouting down a well to someone who isn't listening to a word I say.
In this instance, I was thanked for trying them out elsewhere and confirming that they were faulty before I had made the call. I was asked, after a minute or so, to send a copy of my receipt in via email. By return email, that same day, I was asked to box them up for return and told a new pair of speakers was on the way to me in the post.
The day I took my old speakers to the post office (it cost me $7.40 to send them back to Auckland), a brand spanking new pair arrived via courier. I didn't ask for a refund on postage, but am wondering if I had pushed my luck on that I might have been compensated for my out-of-pocket expenses. No matter.
It shouldn't be difficult to seek a remedy when an expensive, or even cheap, piece of kit has let you down.
The Consumer Guarantees Act says goods must be of acceptable quality, fit for their normal purposes, and durable, but I was expecting to have to parrot the legislation to the customer care representative during a verbal sparring match. This was not the case at all and top marks to Logitech for being a shining example of how to handle customers with faulty goods. I should add that I have used many Logitech speakers, keyboards and mice over the years and never had any problems before.
The Consumer Guarantees Act is very clear about who is the first port of call when something fails. In the first year, it's the retailer. After that it's the manufacturer. Despite that, my wife and I spent nearly a year trying to convince a baby supplies store to replace a stroller. It was so unfit for purpose that the designers had changed the strap mechanism shortly after we bought it. They resisted, bemoaning the fact their repeated repairs of the straps that were so incapable of holding my baby son in had cost them more than the original retail price of the stroller.
In the end, they replaced it, new reins system and all, and we had no more trouble. This was not the way to deal with first-time parents concerned about the safety of their child.
According to the act, the manufacturer or importer must take reasonable steps to provide spare parts and repair facilities for a reasonable time after you purchase the goods. The manufacturer or importer can contract out of this guarantee by letting you know at the time you buy the goods that repair facilities and spare parts are not available.
Not all manufacturers obey the law, especially if they are based overseas. So it is for this reason that I always buy from big brands when I am looking for a new computer.
Last week I proved this was the best philosophy when a friend asked for some help with a decades old Hewlett-Packard computer.
Since computers are out of date as soon as they hit the shelves, I was pleased to be able to find the model's support page on the Hewlett-Packard site, where everything we needed to fix his problem was displayed.