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CCT decisions – malfunctioning washing machine

A consumer purchased a new washing machine for the price of €675. Since the washing machine’s instructions were in Italian the salesperson verbally explained how the washing machine worked.

However, eventually the consumer was provided with proper instructions in English. The consumer complained about the fact that the washing machine automatically changed programme from one wash to another and this often resulted in long washes and hence high water consumption.

The seller sent technicians to check the washing machine. The technicians did not find any defects and informed the consumer that the change in the wash programme is automatic, as the washing machine regulates the wash according to the weight of clothes and their material.

The Consumer Claims Tribunal considered that the consumer presented no evidence or technical report proving that the washing machine was defective or that it wasn’t functioning well. The tribunal argued that since the consumer was not satisfied with the technician’s report, the latter should have sought independent technical advice. Since no such evidence was presented during the sitting, the tribunal had no other proof except the consumer’s claim that the washing machine is not functioning well.

The tribunal also considered that the company sent its technicians twice to check the washing machine and did not detect any faults. Furthermore, the instructions, presented as evidence during the sitting, provide evidence that the washing machine is not defective but it is the way it is programmed to wash clothes.

The tribunal stated that there seems to have been a lack of effective communication between the two parties at the time of sale, as it is clear that the consumer wanted a washing machine with a timer. To this the seller argued that modern washing machines no longer come with timers and new models are equipped with a system that regulates the wash according to the load. Apparently, the consumer could not understand this new system and kept insisting she was sold a defective washing machine.

After taking into consideration the consumer’s and trader’s statements during the sitting and also the provisions of the Consumer Affairs Act, the artbiter rejected the consumer’s claim for a refund of the price paid for the washing machine, as no proof was presented that it was defective.

On the other hand, the trader presented evidence that the washing machine was working as it was meant to. The arbiter also ruled that the consumer should pay the expenses of the tribunal sitting.

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