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New tablet not working

Q: About two weeks ago, I bought a new tablet which worked fine for the first few days, but then it started giving me problems. The touchscreen stopped working well and I am sometimes also having problems with opening most of the tablet’s programmes.

I therefore went back to the shop and explained to the seller the kind of problems I was having with the new tablet. To my surprise, his reply was that since the tablet was working when he sold it to me, he is not obliged to take any action.

The seller is implying I may have damaged it, but I know I didn’t. Does the law protect me? Am I entitled to have the tablet replaced with a new one, free of charge?

A: First of all, the seller is completely wrong in saying that just because the tablet worked when he sold it to you, he is not liable. According to the Consumer Affairs Act, goods sold must be fit for the purpose for which they are bought and must also be fit for all their normal purposes.

Under this same legislation, it is stipulated that if something is faulty within the first six months of purchase, it is assumed that it was faulty at the time of sale. If the seller is saying you damaged the tablet, he must prove it.

Otherwise, he must either repair or replace it free of charge. When neither repair nor replacement are possible solutions, or if opted for may cause you a significant inconvenience, then legally you are entitled to a cash refund.

If the seller refuses to provide you with a free remedy and fails to prove that it was you who caused the damage, you may file a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs at the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

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