Q: Around four months ago I purchased some furniture with a white gloss finish from a local seller. Recently I noticed that the gloss was peeling off. Another piece of the same type of furniture is scheduled to be delivered soon. The furniture does not have any direct sunlight on it. Hence, this damage cannot be blamed on the light.

I haven’t yet complained about this with the supplier, as I am not sure what the best solution to this problem is. If the seller accepts liability and offers to replace the defective furniture, what are my rights if the same problem recurs  after a couple of months? Will I be entitled to a full refund? Can the seller opt to try and re-spray the furniture?

A: When a product purchased is not fit for the purpose for which goods of the same type are normally used, or does not show the quality and performance which are normal in goods of the same type and which the consumer can reasonably expect, consumer law gives consumers the right to claim a free remedy from the seller.

The law allows the seller to first try and repair the defective goods at no extra cost to the consumer. When such a solution is not possible or if opted for, this will cause a significant inconvenience to the consumer, then the seller is obliged to replace the defective product. Even though you are concerned that replacing the furniture may not solve the problem for good as the same problems may occur after a few months, you should still allow the seller to first replace the furniture before asking for a refund. A part or full refund may only be requested when neither repair nor replacement are possible solutions or may cause a significant inconvenience to the consumer.

It is important that you immediately contact the trader and inform him about the defective furniture. If the seller does not offer you a reasonable solution, then you will need to inform the seller about your complaint in writing through a registered letter.

Should you not receive a reply within a week from sending the letter, then you may lodge a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs.


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