Eight months after purchasing a mobile phone for €345, the consumer realised that the phone was not functioning well. The consumer reported the problem to the seller who, upon seeing the phone, informed the consumer that if it came into contact with water the right to a free repair would not apply and that there would be a €50 charge.

The mobile phone was sent by the seller abroad to be checked and tested. The results of the tests stated that the mobile phone was damaged by coming into contact with water and that the repair would cost €250. The consumer refused to pay for the repair and lodged a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs within the MCCAA.

Conciliation was carried out but, unfortunately, the  two parties did not reach an amicable understanding. Hence, the consumer opted to proceed with his case to the Consumer Claims Tribunal.

The arbiter considered the evidence presented by the trader, which included photos and a report of a technical test done on the phone that showed it came into contact with water. Photos were also presented showing corrosion signs on the mobile phone.

The arbiter also noted that the consumer presented no evidence that the mobile phone’s defect was a result of a latent defect. The only evidence presented by the consumer was that he purchased the phone from the seller and that it stopped working.

On the other hand, the trader had the responsibility to prove that the mobile phone’s defect was not due to a manufacturing fault. He did this by presenting technical reports that proved that the mobile phone was contaminated with water, which also caused corrosion. This damage is not covered by the guarantee as it was caused by the consumer.

After taking into consideration the consumer’s and trader’s statements during the sitting, and also the evidence presented, the arbiter denied the consumer’s claim and ruled that the expenses of the Tribunal should be paid by the consumer.