A reader writes in after discovering that a newly-purchased top was damaged. 

Q: Two days ago, I purchased a top from a local clothes boutique for €25. It was the first time I had bought something from this shop. While I was trying it on, the salesperson informed me that some of the top’s clasps are adjustable, but she failed to mention that the chained part of the top was damaged. Unfortunately, I only noticed this after I arrived home. When I returned to the shop the following day, the salesperson offered to fix the chain, but soon after it broke again. At this point, I asked for my money back but the salesperson refused. I do not want a credit note as I am not interested in buying anything again from the shop. What do I need to do to get my money back?

A: When consumers buy products that turn out to be defective or damaged, consumer law gives them the right to claim a free remedy from the seller. While the seller may first try to repair the damaged or defective good, if this solution is not possible, consumers may then request a free replacement. So since the top could not be properly repaired by the seller, you may ask to change it for a new one. If even this solution is not possible, then yes, you can ask for a refund of the money paid.

It is important that your request for a suitable remedy is made to the seller in writing. If after doing so you still do not manage to resolve the dispute with the seller amicably, then you may lodge a formal complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs. This office will then assist you to claim the remedy you are legally entitled to.

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