Considerations When Buying Electrical and Gas Appliances Online
Buying large electrical and gas appliances is so easy with online shopping. With no restrictions on display areas and reduced overhead costs, online retailers are often able to provide the consumer with an impressive range of appliances at relatively lower costs. However, when shopping online for such appliances you should always be aware of your consumer rights before you buy. If you have already purchased an electrical or gas appliance online, you should also have a clear understanding of what you can do if you believe that the item is faulty or unsatisfactory.
Fundamental Consumer RightsFirstly, you should always remember that the online seller - not the manufacturer - is the one responsible for sorting out complaints and problems relating to refunds, returns, and arranging repairs, compensation or a replacement. Before you buy, the website sellers have to comply with regulations to enable a smooth transaction. In basic terms this means that the appliances advertised on the website must be accurately described, with no misleading advertising. Once received, the appliance should be of satisfactory quality and without fault. If the appliance is gas, you should enlist a registered fitter (such as Corgi registered) to do the job for you. This will help determine that the installation is not the cause of any faults, as well as being the safest option. Finally, the appliance should be fit for purpose.
To help you decide whether the online retailer is bona fide, you should have the trader's name and geographical address clearly stated on the website. A PO Box number as an address is not acceptable in this instance. This is in case you need to contact the seller directly regarding any problems with or questions about your purchase. The seller is also responsible for sending you written confirmation of your purchase - when shopping online this is usually in the guise of an email confirmation.
Be aware that the online seller - not the manufacturer - is the one responsible for sorting out complaints and problems relating to refunds, returns, and arranging repairs, compensation or a replacement. If you are purchasing electrical or gas appliances from overseas, be aware that they may not actually work properly in the UK, and any disputes you have regarding the item may have to be resolved in the country that you purchased the appliance from. Remember that the same consumer rights that you are entitled to in the UK may not apply with overseas sellers.
Also bear in mind that when shopping online, you are entitled to a seven working day 'cooling off' period if you decide to cancel the order.
ShippingWhen buying gas and electrical appliances online, the vast majority of appliances will be delivered directly to your home. Assuming that you have had no problems with the transaction up until this point, you should have received a delivery date confirmation from your seller. Prior to delivery, the seller is legally obliged to provide you with the cost of shipping, as well as a delivery date.
Should your appliance become unavailable and you are sent a substitute appliance, you should be aware that if you decide that you do not want the substitute, the seller should pick up the cost of the return shipping.
Returning and Refunding AppliancesBefore you place the order, or once you have received your appliance, the seller is required to clearly outline their returns policy - namely who is responsible for paying for the cost of returning the item. If no returns policy is stated, then it is assumed that the seller will foot the cost of the return delivery. Similarly, if the item isn't provided within 30 days of the formation of the contract (purchase), you will be entitled to a refund.
If during the seven day cooling off period you decide that you simply don't like the item, you can arrange to have the appliance returned and you should receive a full refund of the cost of the appliance within 30 days of the notice of cancellation.
You may have bought the gas or electrical appliance on credit, in which case depending on your agreement the credit company may also be liable for the faulty appliance that you received. If you believe that this may be the case, you should contact both the online appliance retailer and the credit company in writing, and retain a copy of the letters you sent for your records. It might also be worth sending the letters via recorded delivery and retaining a receipt from the post office.