|Slipped disk: Secretary Gillian Roberts with son Matthew, 18|
over my computer
WHEN Gillian Roberts decided to buy a computer, she shopped around to
find the right one sending questionnaires to all the main suppliers to see if their products fitted the bill.
She finally settled on Mesh Computers, paying by Barclaycard. She did not anticipate the six weeks of angry phone calls, resulting in the computer being replaced and a battle for a refund.
'I thought I had done everything properly,' says secretary Gillian, from Maidstone, Kent. 'All I wanted was a computer that I could work on and my son Matthew could use as well.'
Her problems began when Mesh failed to deliver on the day it said January 16 and she had taken a day off work to wait for the delivery.
Once the computer arrived, she considered it was not working properly. She agreed to have it replaced but Mesh only returned a replacement disk drive, without the screen or keyboard.
'And the replacement disk drive unit was damaged. At that point I demanded they take the whole lot back and give me a refund,' says Gillian.
Mesh collected the unit on February 21, and agreed to give her a refund for the £1,404 cost but no money was credited to her Barclaycard on the day it was picked up, as she asked.
When the problems first started Gillian rang Barclaycard to get a refund, but because she was claiming the goods were faulty when she bought them, she was not covered by the card's purchase protection insurance. This is offered on most credit cards and provides cover against goods not actually turning up and accidental damage for up to 100 days after they were bought.
Gillian also fell through the trading standards net as the case is a civil dispute leaving her the option of a fight through the small claims court.
However, she was covered under the Consumer Credit Act because she had used her credit card for the purchase. But this was not pointed out by Barclaycard when she contacted them it was left to her local Trading Standards Office to tell her of her rights. This delay nearly cost her the right to get a refund under the 14-day money back guarantee given by Mesh.
When Gillian contacted Money Mail we reaffirmed that Barclaycard was also liable and that she should get it to refund her the money and let them take
But the saga did not end until March 4, after Money Mail had taken up the case on her behalf, and the money was credited to her account.
Both Mesh and Barclaycard have written to apologise to Gillian for the delays and lack of communication, but Mesh believes that the problems could have been avoided if she had agreed to return the computer when the first problems appeared and have it professionally checked rather than attempting to solve them herself.
If you are buying a computer, or any other item, by mail order:
CHECK whether the company belongs to MOPS the national newspaper Mail Order Protection Scheme. If the advertiser is a member of the scheme it means that you can claim against the newspaper which in turn claims against the scheme if the company goes into liquidation or bankrupt.
IF YOU bought via a magazine, you are similarly covered by the Periodical Publishers Association. Both schemes will give advice and put pressure on the supplier if the item is not delivered or faulty.
UNDER the Sale of Goods Act anything you receive must be of 'satisfactory quality' and you are entitled to a full refund you do not have to accept a replacement if it is not.
IF YOU bought the item with your credit card, and it cost more than £100 but less than £30,000, you are also covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if the company you bought from will not pay up, you can claim the money from your credit card company and it will then chase the supplier.
YOU can ask your credit card company to freeze the account and thus not attract interest while you are in dispute with the supplier.
ALL advertisers are covered by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA will pressure the advertiser to sort out complaints in these situations and can also alert all publishers about the problems if they are not resolved.
This means that the supplier/advertiser could find itself unable to place an advert in any newspaper or magazine.
KEEP all the paperwork until your goods are working and you are completely satisfied.
This page is a HTML transcript of an article that appeared in the Daily Mail on or just before
14/3/96. The typestting is not exact but is as representative as is possible using HTML, and
no text has been changed.
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