Hassle on the high street

3 min read
June 16, 2014

Mark contacted Resolver about an issue he had with a new television he’d recently bought. Read our blog to find out your rights in this situation.


Recently the sound on Mark’s telly became muffled and he was not sure what to do. What happens when something you buy on the high street and the product is not working as you expected? 

With the World Cup coming up, a lot of us will be thinking about buying a new larger TV with better sound so we can watch the matches in style. The event is predicted to be the year’s the biggest spike in television sales. Whether it is a new television for the World Cup or simply a new pair of football boots,what do you do if there are problems with your new purchase?

The retail market is an extremely competitive and we can choose where we spend our money from an increasing choice of retailers on the high street but also online so when it comes to choosing it is worth checking on how well they will handle your issue. A simple way to check is to look at their returns policy and how they handle returns. It is important to note that this article deals with the minimum standards. But the reality is that many retailers like M&S and B&Q exceed these basic standards.

We thought we would do a study of some top retail brands to see how hard they were to get hold of if something did go wrong. We looked at opening times and methods of contact e.g. phone, email, instant messaging or whether or not you could raise an issue through social media channels and if they gave you a commitment on how quickly they would respond to you.

It is certainly worth considering what service the retailer will provide if something goes wrong. It is really at that point when service really counts and also when we can often be let down.

What did Mark do?

Mark bought a TV from a well-known electrical retailer in a local retail park. When he encountered problems with the TV, his first action was to return to the shop to ask for a replacement. Staff recommended that Mark contact the manufacturer in order to resolve the issue. Mark could not understand why and therefore contacted Resolver to ask for help.

What should you do?

If the same thing has happened to you, it is important to note that your contract is with the retailer where you purchased the product and not the manufacturer. 

When you purchase something, the goods need to be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. For Mark that meant the television speakers should work correctly. As the speakers did not work, the television was not fit for purpose.

How long is a warranty?

Mark had the television for three months and it is reasonable to expect the television still to be working after this short time period. The law is ambiguous with what is deemed reasonable. Three months can be expected as a reasonable minimum. However, under the law you have six years to take a claim to court for faulty goods, but there is a shift of responsibility after 6-months.

After six months, the onus shifts from the retailer to the consumer. At this point you may need to prove the problem existed when you purchased the goods and it has taken time for the issue to become apparent. You might need to provide a report from an expert to support your claim.

Should they replace it?

In Mark’s case should the retailer replace the item? You have the right to have the faulty product repaired or replaced. The retailer can choose the cheapest option. The repair or replacement must be done within a reasonable time and without significantly inconveniencing you.

Full marks for Mark

He put his issue in writing and sent it through to the retailer. Mark received his replacement TV within a week

What should you do?

  • Stop using the product and if you can take a photo or video of the problem on your phone so you have evidence of the issue.
  • Contact the retailer immediately to explain the issue and what you want.
  • Explain that you know your rights and be sure to flag up if the product is still under guarantee.
  • If you cannot resolve the issue and you purchased the item on a credit card, you should contact the credit card firm as you may be able to make a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

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