What are my rights under the Consumer Rights Act when buying a riser recliner chair?
We get it. Buying any large mobility equipment online, in-store or via a home visit can be daunting. You don’t want to make a mistake and you want to know what happens in the unlikely event that something goes wrong with your transaction.
Sadly, there are still unethical trading practices within the mobility equipment market. These are not welcome in any market, least of all where elderly or vulnerable people may be involved.
In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into one of the most important pieces of consumer protection legislation – aptly named the Consumer Rights Act – and explain exactly how this protects you when buying a riser recliner chair.
We must point out that we’re not lawyers. We have, however, been in the trade for 45 years – so feel confident in saying we can offer you some trusted advice.
How does the Consumer Rights Act apply to riser recliner chairs?
Whilst not the only pertinent regulations, the Consumer Rights Act is the most relevant (and the most recent). It’s well worth getting to know what rights you have.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 specifically states that there is an expectation that goods must be:
- of satisfactory quality – they must not be faulty or damaged
- as described – they must match any description given at the time of purchase
- fit for purpose – they should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for
Let’s get into this a little more detail.
- Of satisfactory quality
An example of this would be buying a new riser recliner and finding that, when delivered, there’s a stain or damage or maybe some slight rust that would indicate that the product may not actually be new – or to a quality standard that you’d expect when purchasing a new product. If, however, you willingly purchased a second hand unit, the term ‘of satisfactory quality’ would carry a different meaning and it would depend what a reasonable person would consider to be satisfactory quality.
- As described
If, for example, you purchased a riser recliner that was sold as a leather riser recliner chair and you subsequently found that it was a faux leather, this would clearly be a breach – the product is not as described. This is why it’s important for any company to give clear product descriptions (particularly online!) so you, as the consumer, know exactly what you’re purchasing. If in doubt, check with the company. You have a right to be clearly informed so never feel bad about double checking on details that are important to you!
- Fit for purpose
Let’s say that you buy a chair for your mum. She weighs 23 stone and you clearly state this to the company, but the salesperson reassures you that the standard 22 stone model will be just fine. In this case you could argue that the company has breached the regulations if it turns out (as would be likely) that the chair is not fit for purpose.
It’s important to note that these regulations cover you with your supplier – not with the manufacturer of the equipment (if that is a different entity).
What happens if you feel your riser recliner purchase has not met all of the above criteria?
If the goods (your chair) does not meet any of the above criteria, the consumer’s rights (you) against the seller are:
1. Reject the goods and request a refund for your chair – this is known as the ‘short-term right to reject’. This must be applied within 30 days of purchase or, if later, the date of delivery. If you didn’t officially reject the chair within that period, you cannot do so now and ask for an automatic refund. Whilst a refund might feel the quickest option, it might be worth taking some time to explore options with the company – any reputable traders will appreciate the opportunity to put something right, so approaching them with a firm but constructive attitude will help you get the outcome you need.
2. Repair or replacement – this is still an option in the first 30 days if the consumer does not want a refund and becomes the standard option after the 30 days have passed. It is the consumer’s choice whether they choose a repair or a replacement. If a repair is chosen, the seller is given one opportunity to provide a satisfactory repair, meaning that if it fails, the riser recliner chair can still be rejected for a refund, even after the initial 30 days have passed. Alternatively, if the consumer wants to keep the chair, they can ask for a price reduction, based on what is wrong with it. This needs to be negotiated with the seller.
An important aspect of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is the assumption that any issues complained of, which have become obvious or developed within the first 6 months of buying the goods, were present at the time of purchase. If the seller disagrees that this was the case, it would be up to them to prove otherwise, if challenged in court. On the other hand, any issues which develop more than 6 months after purchase, are assumed not to have originated from the point of sale and it is for you, the consumer, to prove otherwise if challenged in court.
What’s really interesting here is that the Consumer Rights Act may give you some additional rights over and above the stated warranty period. If, for example, your chair has a catastrophic failure of the frame after 18 months and the warranty was only 12 months, you could argue that the chair was not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality and be entitled to a repair at no cost. In this example, please note that the burden of proof would lie with you, the consumer, that the chair was faulty at the time it was delivered to you. In practice, this would probably require some form of export report or opinion – or maybe evidence of similar problems across the product range.
You have up to six years to take a claim to the small claims court for faulty goods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and five years in Scotland. This doesn’t mean that a riser recliner has to last six years – just that you have this length of time in which to make a claim if a retailer refuses to repair or replace a faulty product.
If you’ve had a bad experience and have decided on which of the above rights to pursue, the seller should be contacted, preferably in writing, to discuss it with them. There are some helpful resources online which can help with writing the initial letter. Remember, behaviour breeds behaviour. An impolite letter could quite possibly encourage an impolite response!
Want to learn more? Read up here;
I hope this has given you some insight – and will give you a greater degree of confidence when deciding who to buy a riser recliner chair from. If in doubt, check out a company on https://www.reviews.io/ or https://uk.trustpilot.com/ – they verify reviews so tend to be a little more accurate than Google reviews – and this will often give you an insight into the ethics of a company.
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