This little rant from one of our regular contributors ...
Not long ago I ordered a pair of work trousers – you know, the sort with lots of pockets – from a firm in Sussex. They came fairly promptly, but when I opened the packet and tried them on they were far too small for me. I had ordered my usual waist size, 36”, but although they were indeed labelled 36 they were more like a 34.
Oh well, I thought, perhaps some brands have different ideas about size. I wore them, with some discomfort. Apart from the size issue I rather liked them, and decided to order another, larger pair.
The new pair were 38”, but when I tried them on they were no different to the first ones. And sure enough, although they were labelled 38, when I held them against the first pair they were exactly the same. I put a ruler to the waistband, and got a figure of 35”.
I phoned the firm up. No problem, they said, just return them and we'll send you some more. Oh, and the packing must be in its original condition.
Wait a minute, I said, how can I do that? I tore open the bag to get at the trousers.
That's the rule, I'm afraid. The packaging must be in original condition. It's in our Terms and Conditions.
But that's illegal, isn't it? Have the Office of Fair Trading not written to retailers and told them they can't make this stipulation, because it infringes consumer protection legislation?
Sorry, that's the rules.
But these trousers are not fit for purpose. You have to replace them under the Sale of Goods Act.
Not without the original packaging.
I'll contact the local Trading Standards office.
You do that. Goodbye.
I checked on the internet, and I was right about the Office of Fair Trading. I emailed them, and they said yes, I was right, and thanks for the information which they would keep against the name of the company. However they were not empowered to get involved in individual cases.
I then wrote to the Managing Director of the company. I know the letter arrived because I sent it by recorded delivery, but a month later there's been no response. I am now negotiating with my credit card supplier to see if they can claw the money back.
The problem as I see it is that there are just too many rules. It's no good making something against the law unless it's practical to enforce it, and that simply isn't possible. Firms like Krowmark (for that is their name) know this, and simply ignore rules they know won't be enforced. It must save them a load of money, not having to replace faulty goods.
And why are there too many rules? Because we have the habit these days of saying, whenever something goes wrong, “there should be a law against it”, or “let's ban it!”. The last Labour government banned things right, left and centre, but this meant introducing so many new laws that the law itself is becoming a laughing stock which nobody has to obey. Think about it. You know I'm right.
If you're interested, the name of the firm is Krowmark Ltd., and they are based in Bognor Regis. Their website is here. I suggest you make a point of not buying anything from them, or you may be caught out as I was.
The GOS says: If anyone knows how to get in touch with Bognor Regis trading standards, do let us know and we'll pass it on. Internet search was unsuccessful.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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