Defective external hard disk

Q: Earlier this year I bought an external hard disk from a local seller for the price of €130. I have important documents stored on this hard disk. Lately it got corrupted. When I went to the seller to complain about the corrupted disk, I was informed that if they send the hard disk abroad to be checked all its data would be lost.

They also informed me that to avoid losing the data, I would need to go to a third party to retrieve the information stored on the disk. The problem is that I will have to pay for this service and, since the hard disk would have been opened by a third party, it will no longer be covered by the warranty.

I would like to know what are my rights in this situation?

A: If the damage to the external hard disk has not been caused by the consumer through some kind of misuse but is the result of a latent defect, then the consumer is entitled to a free of charge remedy. Hence, as a consumer you are entitled to request that the hard disk is repaired or replaced free of charge and that the information on the hard disk is also retrieved at no additional cost to you.

With regard to the guarantee, if the hard disk is replaced free of charge, the original guarantee continues and does not start over with the new product.

However, as per the Consumer Affairs Act, the duration of a commercial guarantee will be automatically extended for a period equal to the time during which the seller had the hard disk in his possession in order to execute the provisions of the commercial guarantee.

At this point you are advised to make your requests for the above remedies in writing by sending a registered letter to the seller. If, after sending the letter, the seller does not offer you an amicable and acceptable solution, then you may lodge a formal complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs.

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