Real Life

Faulty item policies

What's the policy when the fault on an item is only minor?

**My husband bought me a sexy nightie for Christmas. I think it was really a present for him not me, but we won’t go into that. As luck would have it, I found a minor manufacturing fault on one of the shoulder straps. So I took it back and demanded a cash refund so I could buy something I wanted.

The shop accepted there was a fault but said, while it would replace the nightie, it wasn’t prepared to give my husband’s money back. I’m sure I can remember reading that, with faulty goods, the choice of whether to get a replacement or cash refund is the consumer’s. Is it?**

I’m afraid you’re probably stuck with a sexy nightie. The fact is, the fault is minor. In cases of minor flaws, the shop has the right to repair or replace the goods. With major faults, the option turns over to the consumer. Do they have a replacement in stock? If they have to order it in and can’t replace until after your holiday, you could argue the sexy nightie was bought specially for your hot summer holiday – maybe a particular trip away.

Therefore, if it cannot be replaced immediately, it’s no longer fit for the intended purpose – nights of passion in some romantic holiday hideaway (though, in your case, I suspect that might be stretching it a bit!) However, if they have a replacement nightie there, you’re just going to have to grin and wear it.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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