How's your credit?

Posted: 6th November 2013

We generally expect these days to have some form of warranty when we buy certain goods, particularly electrical and household items that we don’t want to have to pay to repair or replace for a few years at least. 

Often these are sold as an extra, at a price which generally makes it worth the peace of mind that you have from a no fault, no hassle solution if things go wrong.  Sometimes, one of the supplier’s selling points is that your television or computer comes with a free warranty. 

What if your equipment goes wrong and the supplier can’t or won’t fix it?  In these presently difficult times a common scenario is that you can’t contact them because they have gone out of business. 

Credit cardWe recently acted for a client who found himself in just that situation.  A big plasma television came with a free three year warranty but when faults developed after about two and a half years, the Manchester based company’s telephone and fax numbers were dead and there was no response to email or letters sent through the post.  The plasma screen needed replacement at a cost of nearly £1,000. 

Fortunately, our client had made the internet purchase by credit card. This is where Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 steps in to provide a very effective remedy that many people don’t know about. 

When you buy goods using a credit card, there are three parties to the transaction.  You create what is known as a debtor-creditor-supplier (DCS) agreement.  In the simplest terms, if you subsequently have any claim against the supplier for misrepresentation or breach of contract, then the finance provider is equally liable. 

The advantages are obvious.  Whilst the unknown internet company that sold you what appeared to be a bargain may have disappeared, your well known credit card company will not.  All you have to do is turn to the credit card provider, demonstrate that you have a case against the supplier, and recover the money to which you are entitled. 

This doesn’t just work for express warranties but also the implied terms of satisfactory quality etc that protect just about all consumer purchases.

Our case had a happy ending with the credit card provider reimbursing the cost of a near equivalent replacement television.

Understandably, the credit card companies won’t welcome these claims with open arms and you may have some difficulty.Contact us for assistance.