I recently had an experience with a 4 year old TV made by one of the big Korean Manufacturers that was purchased from a major Australian retailer.
4 1/2 years ago I purchased a 55" TV and paid $3500. 2 Months ago the TV screen stopped working and I rang the manufacturer to organise repairs. The manufacturer looked up the details and advised that it was out of warranty and I would be billed for the repairs. I advised that I was not interested in manufacturers warranty but wanted to claim under "Australian Consumer Guarantee". I was then transferred to another "customer care department". After 2 days the 2nd customer care department advised that they would pay for parts and labour to repair the TV. Yee Haa!
Unfortunately, the repairer advised that it was not repairable because parts were not available and they referred me back to the manufacturer. After 2 days the manufacturer advised that they were going to cash settle the matter by refunding the purchase price less a deduction for existing use. The payment proposed was 3/7ths of the purchase price on the basis that the TV was 4 years old and the economic life was expected to be 7 years. Ie the payment proposed was $1500.
I challenged this and lodged a claim in the small claims court against both the manufacturer and the retailer seeking compensation based on an economic life of 10 years not 7 years and including the TV bracket that was now obsolete. Today I received a call from the retailer saying they would refund the full purchase price of $3500. Some points that others may find useful in how I achieved this result (which I am very happy about).
- In all my dealings I was polite, respectful, unemotional but insistent that I would enforce my rights.
- I quietly pointed out to the contacts that was an old guy with too much free time on my hands and that I would pursue the matter no matter how long it took. "Even if they won they would lose."
- When it goes to a court the company will almost certainly pay for lawyers to deal with the matter. The Small Claims is an informal court and legal representation is actually frowned upon. Most importantly legal fees cannot be recovered in the small claims court. The advice from the lawyers to their clients would be along the lines of you are arguing over $700 and our fees that you cannot recover will be at least $6000 each.
- The fact that the retailer offered a full refund indicates deduction for existing use may not be lawful and they did not want a ruling on this by a court.
The take away points;
- Respectfully argue your point.
- Never make threats, actions speak louder than words.
- Leave emotion and personalities out of it because it makes the problem more difficult to resolve