Guarantee of €35 phone
Q: About a year ago, I decided to buy a new but cheap mobile phone to take with me to the beach. This cost me €35. The seller gave me a six-month guarantee. I believe, as a consumer, I was actually entitled to a two-year guarantee. Am I right?
The phone has recently stopped working. Apparently, the problem is the battery. Shouldn’t the battery be covered by the two-year guarantee I am entitled to? Can the shop owner refuse any legal claims, since he only gave me a six-month guarantee?
A: The two-year guarantee we are legally entitled to is different from the commercial guarantee sellers give us when we purchase certain products. Commercial guarantees are given by traders on a voluntary basis and hence they are not bound to give it for a specific period of time.
In other words, the shop that sold you the phone with a six-month commercial guarantee did not do anything illegal when it offered you six months.
Since your mobile phone has stopped working after the commercial guarantee has expired, you can only make claims under the Consumer Affairs Act. The law protects the goods we purchase up to two years from the date of delivery.
These two years are split in two specific periods of time. When a defect in the product purchased crops up within the first six months from the date of delivery, it is legally presumed that the defect existed at the time of delivery.
Hence, during these first six months, consumers are automatically entitled to free repair or replacement, or part or full refund. If, however, the defect becomes apparent after six months, consumers may be requested to prove that the product was defective at the time of purchase.
It is worth mentioning that the law takes into consideration the nature of the goods and the nature of the lack of conformity before granting free remedies. Since, as you said, you purchased a phone which only cost €35 and you made use of it for 11 months, then legally it may be considered that you got your money’s value and the law may not cover you in this specific case.
Furthermore, you said that the problem is the mobile’s battery. If the defect is an effect of normal wear and tear, such defects are not covered by law either.
If you wish to try and seek redress, you may file a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs to have your case mediated by our complaints officers.
You may do so by calling freephone 8007 4400 or 2395 2000 or e-mailing email@example.com.