Some days ago your new player pleased your eyes and ears, but today is producing some funny sounds. What to do? If the warranty period is not expired, run to the service center. Even if it is expired, do the same. However, there are no guarantees that the procedure will go smoothly. Not every consumer knows his rights and has an experience of dealing with service centers. ForUm has decided to find out how to fix your device fast and painlessly.

To trust or not to trust?

The scheme "deliver defective goods - receive a new one or money back" does not work always and for all. Very often consumers have to take a longer way.

Kyiv resident Anna bought expensive acoustic speakers through internet-shop. However, after one week on o the speakers started making a loud screeching sound.

"I called the number indicated in the warranty certificate and was told to bring the speakers in one of the physical stores (there is a net of stores in the city). The speakers were heavy (7.6 kg) and I had to take a taxi. When I arrived and asked to replace the speakers, it turned out this model was the last and the whole net of stores did not have the same. I was offered to leave speakers for repair and I agreed because I really wanted to have that very model. It took them more than two weeks to fix, but when I arrived to take them home the store did not give me any certificate or conclusions of the service center. I was told that since I bought the speakers through internet, the store communicates with the center through internal base and receives only a two-letter e-mail, like "To give back the money" or "Repair is not possible". In my case, according to them, it was written "The defect ahs been fixed".

According to Anna, however, there were no signs that the speakers went to the service center and did not stay all this time in the store. Even the piece of tape she stuck on the defective speaker was at the same place.

"I demanded to control the speakers right on site. But the fact is that the speaker did not make screeching sound always, but occasionally, and that time in the store both speakers worked well. In one week the problem reappeared. In anger I called the store again and this time was directed straight to the service center. In one week I came to take them home and was informed that one of the speakers was defective and they had to replace the dynamic. The signs of repair were obvious - remains of glue, small scratches. I also received the document about the work done and was informed that in case of repeated malfunction the store would have to give me money back, but only if the warranty was still valid. Thus, I spent nerves and money for taxi, while I could have taken the money back from at the very beginning."

That way, Anna face three problems at the same  time - denial in delivery of defective goods, nongranting of service center certificate and absence of similar model for replacement.
Worker of a big service center Viktor told ForUm that the only right and easy decision in this situation was to take the money back immediately and to buy a different model. According to him, buyers often agree to repair when offered, but it is an ill-advised decision. 

"If you are offered free-of-charge repair, it is better not to agree but to demand replacement with a new device or money back. Otherwise it turns that you buy not a new device, but a used one after repair. I can tell you that in 50% of such cases your defective device has already been repaired, meaning after another buyer brought it back the device was 'fixed' and put on sale again."

Replacement and again replacement

Sometimes it happens that store workers do not want to give the money back for defective goods, even if you have relevant opinion from the service center. Student Olena had to deal exactly with such case. 

"I bough a set of headphones in one of the famous stores of electronics. In half a year one of the headphones stopped working properly. I went to the store and they sent me to the service center. In two weeks I was given a document stipulating that the headphone is defective, and that the store has either to replace it or to give me the money back. I needed headphones so I chose to replace the set. In several months, however, the replaced set started malfunctioning as well. I remember it was a busy time for me and I did not have time for service centers, so I just went to the same store and bought a new set. And what do you think? After some time problems started happening with the second set as well. So I took both sets and brought to the service center. Yet again I was given a document stipulating replacement or money return."

This time Olena went to the store and demanded her money back. Sellers, however, insisted on replacement again.

"I realized that they did not want to return the money and that they would replace these headphones till the crack of doom. When I insisted on money return, I was given two sheets of paper and asked to write an application addressed to two enterprises, one of which no longer existed, which made the process itself rather strange. Sellers were tense and were continuously calling somewhere. I was asked to describe my problem in every detail, and I wrote that having taken three sets of the same model I had malfunction problems in each case and that repeated replacement was not an option, but only money return. They called me the next day and returned the money. The process of returning money was rather strange as well. The accountant of the store asked sellers three times for confirmation as she was not sure the money return was included in the service of the store. Well, it was obvious that this procedure was new for all of them."

According to a service center worker Viktor, store sellers behave like this very often.

"They will do everything in order not to give the money back and insist on repeated replacement of a defective device. This is business, and sometimes sellers have to pay for defective or improperly documented goods from their pockets."

The law and contract

So, what consumers should do in order to protect their rights and avoid confusing situations?
A service center worker Viktor told ForUm that consumers should think about possible negative consequences before the purchase itself.

"First of all, take only warranted goods. Before the purchase, ask for documents and study them well. Otherwise, it may happen that the item of goods is contraband and is not subjected to replacement in case of malfunction.  Sometimes it happens that people bring goods without original marking, and our service center cannot fix them. If you have problems with workers of a store or service center, appeal to the contract. If you know what you signed and are sure that the contract has been violated, appeal to court."

Before coming to a service center, consumers are better study the law of Ukraine "On protection of consumer's rights. Thus, according to the article 8 of the law, in case of malfunction of a device within the terms of warranty, a consumer has rights for:

- proportional price reduction;
- free-of charge repair within reasonable terms;
- compensation of expenses for repair.

In case of malfunction of a device within the terms of warranty or falsification of a device, proved by relevant expertise, a consumer also has rights for replacement of the device or return of money.
It is also important to know that free-of charge repair in a service center must take no longer than two weeks since the date of delivery or within any other term agreed by the sides.  

Delivery and return of large goods and goods weighting over 5 kg must be done at the expense of a seller or producer. Moreover, a consumer can ask in written form for a similar item to use during the repair period. For this, a seller or producer must have an exchange fleet of goods. According to the Cabinet's decree of March 19, 1994, the exchange fleet includes: TVs, microwave ovens, car stereo, kitchen appliances, players, knitting machines, radios, vacuum cleaners, fridges, washing machines, electric kettles, hairdryers, coffee machines, phones, including mobile, personal computers and their parts and components, video and audio recording equipment.

For every day of delay of replacement or repair (after 14 days) of an item, a consumer must be paid a compensation in the amount of 1% of the price.

If the repair process requires replacement of a part or component entitled to warranty, the warranty term for a new part starts from the day of delivery after the repair.

Moreover, it is important to know that apart from warranty, goods have a service term. If it is not stipulated by the producer, it tacitly comes to 10 years. Thus, if you suspect that malfunction happens due to a fault of a seller or producer, you can lay a claim even off the warranty.

All claims are considers only after presentation of the bill and/or technical passport of an item. In case consumer lost the documents, the papers can be recovered in accordance with the procedure stipulated by the legislation.

If the warranty for your device is expired, you can choose a service center yourself, but first check whether the center of interest has proper certification and license.

Moreover, check the attitude of service center workers to clients. For this, call a day before and ask information about something. When you come in person, check the appearance of the center - it must be presentable. In no case give your equipment to a service center, a worker of which announces the cost of repair after superficial observation and asks to pay in advance.

And the last thing to know. Remember that if a seller or producer proves that malfunction happened due to your fault, free of charge repair service can be denied. But even in that case you have a right to participate in the inspection personally or through your representative.

Anastasia Pika


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