UKH

Faulty tent bought online - retailer not refundin

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 Heike 25 Feb 2021

Hi guys, I'm after some advice from the hive mind.

I bought an expensive lightweight tent from a UK online retailer in November. I took it out for one night to try it out (back when that was allowed!), and realised the lightweight zip was not shutting correctly. Basically some teeth had been bent so the zip doesn't mesh correctly, and was "sticking" at that point every time we opened the zip. Obviously being lightweight this will ultimately break so I returned the tent for a refund.

The retailer is refusing to refund as they can't find the issue (although we think it is obvious) and because it has been "used" (how else would we know there was an issue?!)

I'm considering approaching trading standards, but suspect they will be busy with lots of online purchase issues.

I'm also considering trying to get the money back from the credit card I used to buy this.

Does anyone have any other ideas on what to do?

In reply to Heike:

Yes - phone up rather than use email, and get hold of a senior contact. If the tent is faulty as you say - then although a clerk might query it, senior management will want to sort it. When calling, be polite but don't be too slow to point out that what they are doing is illegal - not technically, really. Also, can you use Zoom, whatsapp  or similar to show the problem? Ge them to film the zip and you can show them exactly where the problem lies.

 SouthernSteve 25 Feb 2021

In reply to Heike:

The tent was not-fit for use and a full refund or working replacement is the expected correct response. You say you camped when it was allowed, did you complain straight away or have you just started now? - a later response might seem a bit odd to the company.

If a telephone call doesn't work, I would be tempted to try a direct question on Facebook or Twitter, sadly this seems to be way of eliciting a correct response when some gentle communications could have done the trick.

Do let us know who it is so we can hear the UKC furore about when John Smith bought a cagoule from them in 1974 and that their whole life has been ruined since and all the other tales.

Post edited at 15:27
 JimbotheScot 25 Feb 2021

Name and shame the company pls

 mary 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

Resolve via Martin Money tips. You just send them all your emails and phone call list. I have found it useful a few times.

Good luck.

 Heike 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Thanks Rob. I've already quoted the sale of goods act to them. But I guess the issue is that now the tent is "used" - of course, the issue only appeared when it was being used.

It's a small company so I doubt there are lots of employees.

 Heike 25 Feb 2021
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Hi Steve,

I bought it online in mid Nov, used it for a night at the end of Nov and discovered the issue, the next day I e-mailed them to raise the issue - so within 3 weeks of buying. I then didn't get any response from them for weeks, had to chase, they eventually said they were asking the manufacturer. 

Then a month ago they said I could return it for a full refund. I returned it (insured & signed for) for £27, and heard nothing. 

I then chased again 2 days ago and suddenly they are claiming they won't refund as they can't find the issue. They will only offer a voucher, which is pointless since I've now got a tent from elsewhere.

It's galling. 

 Heike 25 Feb 2021
In reply to JimbotheScot:

I was after some advice from the hive. I'll see if there are any suggestions I've not thought of, and if any of them give us a result.

If not, then I will be posting a warning about this company all over the internet.

 Rick Graham 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

Some good advice above . You could try trading standards but why not the manufacturer and or UK distributor ?

You are correct to try the retailer first as your legal  contract is with them or possibly also your credit card co. if costing over £100.

No sensible manufacturer or distributor wants the retailer  giving poor service.

 Babika 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

This happened to me in 2020. Bought a tent and used it 1 night when it proved useless - flapping, unable to pitch taut due to poor stitching etc. 

I had to send it back to the retailer and it took an age of polite emails as they sent it back to the manufacturer for analysis, but I got my full money back in the end.

Forget trading standards or social media; quiet persistence with the retailer is your first port of call. I think you have to cut them a bit of slack with the whole "working from home" thing which seems to have slowed everything monumentally.

Good luck!

In reply to Heike:

I know you've already mentioned pursuing it with your credit card company but personally, I reckon you've got to the point where I would be inclined to go down that road. Or at the very least, to mention that option to the company and give them a brief chance to respond more helpfully. You'll need to show the credit card company some evidence that you've already exhausted the reasonable options to get the company to respond reasonably to your complaint but it sounds like you'd be able to do that. I've only used this option once and it took a while but it was easy and successful.

 Heike 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Rick Graham:

Thanks Rick.

Good idea. But after a bit of googling I'm not sure there is a UK distributor. I assume they have been sourced directly? It's a Nigor tent..

 Heike 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Babika:

Thanks. Their reply today was: 

"We will be unable to refund or exchange tents that are marked as a result or are covered in grass etc.”

Of course, its impossible to tell it is not fit for purpose until you use it (on grass!)

In reply to Heike:

They're wrong, if the product is faulty then they have to replace it or refund you, it really doesn't matter what their policy is, they have to obey the law of the land. Is it a UK based company? YOu can find details of the directors from Companies house, otherwise you will have to pursue them via your credit card (and of course tell us who you are dealing with.)

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Sorry, did I miss you saying which retailer this was? It would be good to know so others can avoid (myself included)

 SteveX 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

I would suggest you type out a letter and post it to them recorded delivery stating the remedy you require.

  1. Refund
  2. Repair
  3. Exchange

As this is within 6 months of purchase the retailer has to prove their is not a fault or provide the remedy you require.

In the letter say that you expect resolution within, I would suggest 7 or 14 days of receipt of letter.

If they do not, and you have paid by Credit Card, ask your provider for a chargeback under section   75.

I think but and not sure some debit cards give section 75.

Do not waste your time and effort phoning. Emailing is okay but easy to say not received, in these cases you cannot beat snail mail, the fact you have bought a stamp shows you mean it.

Trading standards are a bit toothless IME nowadays and will merely tell you what to do, but not do it for you.

Good luck.

 olddirtydoggy 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

Are you close to revealing who this shop is?

In reply to SteveX:

Email = Click and forget.

 SouthernSteve 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

That is extremely frustrating. You appear to have been more than patient and that they seem to have gone back on their stance extra so. Good luck. 

In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Are you close to revealing who this shop is?

A quick search for the type of tent reveals a limited number of retailers, one with this:

“Goods that are returned for refund or exchange should be in the same condition as they were received by you - i.e. All tags should be present and still attached to the garment. Folded and neatly presented. Free of any marks, dog hairs, fluff or other contaminants. Not smelling of smoke - please don't smoke when you are trying garments on or examining goods.

Please do not test pitch tents that you might want to return in the garden. We will be unable to refund or exchange tents that are marked as a result or are covered in grass etc.”

To me “Please do not test pitch tents that you might want to return”, particularly next to information about returning clothes that don't fit, implies to me that they're referring to finding they've sent the wrong model or colour of tent and will take it back as long as they can sell it again.

in Heike's case the tent is defective, and he/she should get a full refund.

The retailer is taking the piss.

 neilh 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

How much was the tent?

In reply to Heike:

> Thanks. Their reply today was: 

> "We will be unable to refund or exchange tents that are marked as a result or are covered in grass etc.”

> Of course, its impossible to tell it is not fit for purpose until you use it (on grass!)

Yeah if it's faulty that's not their choice.

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Thanks Ridge. Obviously I agree. However they are claiming there is no issue with the zip. So now it's moving on to "they don't agree there is a problem - hence won't refund"

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to neilh:

£550. And for that much money I expect a tent that works perfectly, not have a slightly dodgy zip that they suggest I "bend about a bit to get it to work". Which allegedly was the suggestion from the manufacturer!! 

Seriously! It's not working perfectly so bend it about a bit till it does.

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

I'm going to contact them once more stating that I am entitled to my money back. If they refuse again then I'll name and shame. 

I'm not wanting to do someones reputation in unnecessarily, but to be honest their customer service has been appalling.

In reply to Heike:

What about suggesting a Zoom call with them so that you can demonstrate the issue with the zip. Have you tried speaking to one of the directors?

 neilh 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

I agree at that price.

In reply to Heike:

> £550. And for that much money I expect a tent that works perfectly, not have a slightly dodgy zip that they suggest I "bend about a bit to get it to work". Which allegedly was the suggestion from the manufacturer!! 

> Seriously! It's not working perfectly so bend it about a bit till it does.

So in essence they admit the zip is defective but suggest you bodge it?

Not the response I'd expect from a reputable retailer.

 wercat 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

You are absolutely correct and entitled to have this remedied to your own satisfaction.  If they don't give you this without much further ado you should not hold back from further action.

They have no leg to stand on.  The tent is defective and unfit for the purpose for which it was bought for a considerable amount of money.

This amount justifies speaking to someone senior in the organisation, not a monkey

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

We can't, because we contacted them and they said send it back and you can have a refund. Only weeks later they got back to us - once we complained about our refund - that we can't have it, because it was used and they think it works...

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

We can't, because we contacted them and they said send it back and you can have a refund. Only weeks later they got back to us - once we complained about our missing refund - that we can't have the refund, because it was used and they think it works...

 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Hi Steve, we complained pretty much right away and send it back as they suggested for a full refund. We liked the tent and asked for just a replacement, but they said they didn't have any, so they would give us a refund. And then weeks later they got back to us to say, no we think it works, so you can the tent back.

 SteveX 26 Feb 2021
In reply to Heike:

> Thanks Ridge. Obviously I agree. However they are claiming there is no issue with the zip. So now it's moving on to "they don't agree there is a problem - hence won't refund"

They have to prove there is not a fault. You do not have to prove there is. 

Letter with stamp.
7 days.
Then ask your credit card company to prove there is no fault or give you your money back, plus the return postage.

No talky talky, no emails, just boot the ball into their court.

Please tell me you paid with a credit card.

Of course, if they can prove there is no fault, then thats fair enough, user error.

Post edited at 16:10
 Heike 26 Feb 2021
In reply to neilh:

550 quid!

In reply to Heike:

I'm really sorry for you and amazed that in this day and age you're not being treated better. They really need a lesson in customer care - it doesn't really matter whether or not THEY think there is a significant flaw, YOU DO, and you're the customer, and presumably not complaining just because you feel like it. 

You'd think these lessons had been learnt by now. 


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