Presentation on consumer rights. Sample containing about 8564 words speech recorded in public context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C121

PS1VF Ag5 m (No name, age 60, retired trading standards officer) unspecified
FUTPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
FUTPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 088501 recorded on 1993-04-27. LocationNottinghamshire: Nottingham ( conference centre ) Activity: talk on consumer rights

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [1] So [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [2] Are you ready then?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [3] Right?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [4] listen to what you've got to say.
(PS1VF) [5] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [6] Consumer accounts
(PS1VF) [7] [...] Good afternoon to you.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [8] I don't know whether it's ever occurred to you but it is act
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [cough]
(PS1VF) [9] it is actually a bit intimidating to be confronted with a roomful of teachers like yourselves.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [10] Erm [laugh] I, I feel as if you're gonna to say to me something like erm could do better,
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [11] er see me.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [12] Or as it said on my school report for P E er tries hard but lacks stamina.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [13] I've always remembered that phr erm well now consumer affairs.
[14] consumer affairs are of course very important not only in retirement but throughout life.
[15] And consumer problems and consumer decisions are certainly not going to go away in retirement because we're all, including myself who retired at the March, are still going to be faced with consumer decisions.
[16] In retirement some of you may be thinking of erm having some improvement work done to your house.
[17] You may be thinking of moving house altogether and going to live in a different part of the country.
[18] You may be thinking of treating yourself to a holiday erm or something of that kind.
[19] And even if you're not contemplating any of those things, as I've said you're still going to be faced with decisions about goods that you want to buy and services that you want to buy for your home.
[20] Now you will know there are a great many er programmes on television nowadays and articles in newspapers and magazines designed to try to help us to be a bit more aware
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [cough]
(PS1VF) [21] of what our rights are as shoppers and also what our responsibilities are as shoppers.
[22] And to help us to try to avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls to be avoided.
[23] But despite all those programmes on television and articles in newspapers and magazines the fact still remains, an awful lot of people do have problems when they go shopping.
[24] I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that.
[25] Erm things go wrong and there are many different reasons why things go wrong.
[26] People buy goods and then find, for one reason or another the goods are faulty, or they're unsatisfactory in some way and the customer then tries to get some kind of compensation.
[27] One of you was talking to me at er lunchtime and telling me that he recently bought er er a C D of Dvorak's Slavonic dances and when he played it it turned out to be some [laughing] country and western music [] .
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [28] Well we smile but I'm sure that's by no me I'm sure that's not a unique case and I'm sure things like that have happened to many of you.
[29] Erm so as I've said things go wrong.
[30] To give you an idea of how widespread the problem is the Trading Standards Department in Nottinghamshire er has set up three advice centres to help consumers with information and advice when you have problems like that.
[31] There's w one of those in Nottingham there's one in Newark and there's one in Mansfield.
[32] Now I imagine yo you come from all different parts of the county so I'd better tell you where they are.
[33] The Mansfield one is in Mansfield Market Square in the same building as the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
[34] Er the Newark one is on a road called Middlegate which those of you who know Newark will know is not far from Newark Market Square.
[35] Er the Nottingham one is on a road called Middle Pavement.
[36] If you're not quite sure where Middle Pavement is if you think of the rear exit of the Broadmarsh Centre, the escalator exit, the escalator brings you out onto a road called Middle Pavement which slopes quite steeply downhill.
[37] And there's Marks and Spencers at the bottom of the slope.
[38] Do you know where I mean now?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [39] Well if you walk up that hill keeping Marks and Spencers on your left hand side, the top part of the hill is called Middle Pavement and still on your left hand side you'll see a green sign, Trading Standards Advice Centre.
[40] And I think for many of you in this room that'll be the nearest Consumer Advice Centre to where you live.
[41] But in those three advice centres er we receive er in round figures we receive about four hundred complaints and enquiries about shopping problems, every week, all the year round.
[42] So to put it another way you could say in a typical year we would receive about twenty thousand complaints and enquiries about shopping.
[43] That's an awful lot of complaints.
[44] These are things like faulty shoes, faulty jeans, er faulty furniture, faulty cameras, faulty video machines, erm holidays which have gone disastrously wrong, complaints about double glazing, complaints about builders, plumbers, electricians, hairdressers.
[45] You name it.
[46] About twenty thousand a year in Nottinghamshire alone.
[47] Now you may think to yourself, goodness, what an awful lot of complaints.
[48] And of course it is.
[49] But you do have to put figures like that in some kind of perspective.
[50] Bear in mind that Nottinghamshire is quite a large county [cough] there are about one million people living in Nottinghamshire.
[51] Now most of those one million people will go to a shop of some kind pretty well, pretty well every day in your life.
[52] You might just pop to a corner shop to buy some chocolate and som box of matches, some sweets a magazine, a newspaper.
[53] Er all of us go to a shop of some sort pretty well every day.
[54] Now, including of course sundries.
[55] Now if you multiply that by the one million people living in Nottinghamshire you'll see that every day, all the year round, there are millions of sales taking place.
[56] Millions of transactions taking place.
[57] People buying and selling things.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [cough]
(PS1VF) [58] In the great majority of those cases nothing goes wrong.
[59] The customer goes away quite happy with their part of their transaction and the shop are quite happy with their part of it.
[60] And it's only in the minority of cases where things go wrong that come to the attention at the Trading Standards Department.
[61] Which means of course if you work for Trading Standards, as I did until very recently ... if you work for Trading Standards you tend to get a rather jaundiced view of shopping.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [62] All we ever hear about are disasters and complaints and things that have gone wrong.
[63] And we never hear about the thousands and thousands of sales that must take place every day where nothing's gone wrong at all.
[64] So [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [65] Sounds like school.
(PS1VF) [66] as I say
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [67] Just like school.
[68] It does tend to get you rather jaundiced.
[69] [laugh] And it is a refreshing change to t to talk to someone who's bought something from [...] shop and they have no complaints whatever.
[70] Now as I say in round figures it's about twenty thousand just in this one county alone.
[71] Now what we have to do, in all those cases, is look at every one.
[72] First of all ask ourselves is this a genuine problem?
[73] Is it a real grievance?
[74] If it is how has it happened and who erm er who's to blame?
[75] Is it the customer's own fault?
[76] Is it the fault of the shop?
[77] Or are they both at fault?
[78] [cough] Quite honestly a lot of them do turn out to be the customer's own fault.
[79] You've probably heard the phrase the customer is always right but believe me it's not true.
[80] [laugh] Er and anyone who works for Trading Standards will tell you it's not true.
[81] A lot of [...] you'd be surprised how gullible a lot of people are and frankly a lot of shopping problems do turn out to be the shopper's own fault.
[82] For example a lot of people change their mind about wanting goods and decide I don't think I want that new pair of shoes after all.
[83] Or I don't think I want that new pair of jeans.
[84] I've taken a dislike to the colour.
[85] Er and what the law says is if you change your mind I'm afraid the law doesn't entitle you to anything at all.
[86] You're only entitled to money back if the goods are faulty in some way.
[87] There's got to be something actually wrong with the goods before you can claim money back.
[88] So there are a lot of people who change their mind.
[89] There are also a lot of people who damage or misuse things they bought from shops, usually clothes where people haven't bothered to read the washing instructions.
[90] And it might say do not dry clean and the customer has it dry cleaned and of course the garment is very likely going to be ruined.
[91] Or it might say hand wash only and the customer puts it in a washing machine.
[92] So again they wouldn't really be entitled to money back in cases like that.
[93] But there are a lot of problems which are the fault of the shop but we find these are usually caused by mistakes and misunderstandings.
[94] And we find that mistakes and misunderstandings are a far more common cause of complaint than deliberate dishonesty or someone trying to cheat you or rip you off.
[95] There are dishonest traders about unfortunately, just as I suppose there are dishonest people in most walks of life but we like to think that in Nottinghamshire they are in a s small minority.
[96] But they do exist.
[97] There are undoubtedly er rogues or cowboys about.
[98] Unscrupulous traders.
[99] Er and it is that minority of unscrupulous traders who make life very difficult for you and of course make life very difficult for Trading Standards.
[100] But most of the problems that we get are not caused by deliberate cheating, they're caused by genuine mistakes.
[101] What I'd like you to remember is this.
[102] People who work in shops are perfectly ordinary people, aren't they?
[103] Just like you and me.
[104] And we all make mistakes sometimes.
[105] Erm I freely admit that I do that myself.
[106] I've no doubt Bernard does.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [107] We all do.
[108] However efficient we [...] think that we are, if we're honest with ourselves we have to admit we all sometimes make a mistake.
[109] And of course the same is true of shop assistants so do please make allowances for human error.
[110] And the next time you buy something from a shop and find there's something wrong with it don't just jump to conclusions that you've been deliberately cheated.
[111] You may have been of course.
[112] But it's much more likely to be due to human error.
[113] Now out of those four hundred complaints that we receive every week, if you take away all those which are the customer's own fault and all those which are caused by genuine mistakes you're still left with a lot of problems which are caused either by ignorance of the law or misinterpretation of the law.
[114] Do any of you know what the law is called that gives you your rights when you buy [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [115] Consumer Protection Act.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [116] Sale of Goods Act.
(PS1VF) [117] Pardon?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [118] Sale of Goods Act.
(PS1VF) [119] Sale of Goods Act.
[120] Well done sir.
[121] Go to the top of the class.
[122] [laugh] Sale of Goods Act.
[123] Right.
[124] Okay.
[125] Now, so, the name of the actual Act of Parliament is Sale of Goods Act er and that's the law that gives you and me and everybody in Britain our basic rights every time we buy something from a shop or in a sale or a market stall or by post through a mail order catalogue.
[126] It's called the Sale of Goods Act.
[127] Another phrase that's often used for the same thing is your statutory rights.
[128] So if you see that phrase written down anywhere you'll know it means Sale of Goods Act.
[129] That phrase, your statutory rights is often put in guarantees.
[130] I don't know whether you ever take the trouble to read the guarantee.
[131] I know a lot of people don't bother.
[132] For one thing they're often in very tiny print.
[133] For another they're often full of legal [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [cough]
(PS1VF) [134] which is a bit difficult to sort out.
[135] But if you do read the guarantee you will nearly always find a sentence that says this guarantee does not affect your statutory rights.
[136] Have you ever noticed that?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [137] It's an interesting phrase that.
[138] You may have wondered well why is that phrase put in the guarantee?
[139] Well the reason it's put there is simply to remind you that the guarantee is always a plus or an extra.
[140] It's never intended to be a substitute or a replacement for your statutory rights.
[141] And even if you tore the guarantee up and threw it away erm a you've still statutory rights, anyway, given to you under the Sale of Goods Act.
[142] So a guarantee is totally separate and nothing to do really with your statutory rights.
[143] Now we've had a Sale of Goods Act in Britain for a long time.
[144] The first one came out in eighteen ninety three.
[145] So you could say for exactly a hundred years we've had a basic law designed to give us rights every time we go shopping.
[146] But despite the fact we've had that law for so long you'll find that not many people [laughing] know about it [] .
[147] Erm it is if you like a closely guarded secret.
[148] Obviously the law has been updated since eighteen ninety three.
[149] The one we have now is called the Sale of Goods Act nin nineteen seventy nine.
[150] Now the Sale of Goods Act is good erm as far as it goes but it's [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [cough]
(PS1VF) [151] by no means perfect and there are some loopholes in it that we'll have a look at in a moment.
[152] Right.
[153] So let's just have a look then at what our statutory rights are under the Sale of Goods Act.
[154] Erm and this is the reason why I brought this tape recorder, and I was saying to Bernard a moment ago, one of the most embarrassing things that can happen erm when talking to a group like this is when you pressed a button er whether it's a, a tape recorder a video machine or whatever, you pressed a button full of confidence in all the latest technology and there's an embarrassing silence.
[155] And I can, the number of times this has happened to me with school video machines
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [156] is beyond belief.
[157] Erm I had one the other day where er it was s supposed to be, it was described as a brand new video machine and we got the most perfect picture, beautifully clear picture, but no sound whatever.
[158] Even when the sound button was pressed we couldn't get any sound volume m sound out of it whatever.
[159] So in the end I said to the chairman oh I'll, we'll leave the, we'll forget the video.
[160] I'll make do with slides.
[161] And I pressed the button of the slide projector again full of confidence.
[162] The first slide jammed straight away.
[163] Hopelessly jammed.
[164] And in trying to free the jammed slide the whole of the carousel tipped upside down
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh] [laugh]
(PS1VF) [165] and all my beautifully arranged slides all arranged the right way up and all in the right order all tipped all over the floor.
[166] So it was a pretty poor start really I felt to the talk.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [167] And then the class started to fight.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [168] And then the class started to fight.
[169] And I'm sure things like that don't happen in your school.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [170] Right.
[171] Er okay.
[172] Now.
[173] So we'll press this then full of confidence and see what happens.
[174] This is a typical problem that would come into one of our advice centres where a consumer has bought something,f failed to get any satisfaction from the shop and then has gone to the advice centre to er has found and tries to find the nearest Citizen's Advice Bureau or Advice Centre to try to get advice.
[175] [tape playing] [cough] Right.
[176] Well you all sat listening to that with riveted [laughing] atten riveted attention [] .
[177] Erm let's just pause a moment there because there's a bit of legal language there that we need to sort out.
[178] First of all you will notice that the erm consumer adviser used the word contract which is an important word to remember.
[179] And I think that a lot of shoppers tend to forget that every time you buy anything from a shop, even if all you spent is ten pence, it doesn't matter how little money you've spent, but every time you buy anything from a shop you have a contract with the shop and the shop has a contract with you.
[180] As a result of that contract of course you have some rights er but the shop have some rights as well.
[181] I think one of the problems is, that a lot of shoppers don't realize that they're entering into a contract and we don't realize it for the simple reason that most people have, as soon as you hear the word contract you have a mental image of a legal document that you sign, don't you?
[182] If you, if you buy a house you sign a contract.
[183] And most people think that's what a contract is.
[184] But in shopping it's not like that is it?
[185] You wouldn't normally sign a legal document.
[186] Well I suppose you would if you were buying the goods on credit but normally, for an everyday transaction buying some food for example, you wouldn't normally sign a legal document.
[187] You might not even say anything if it's a self-service store.
[188] In a self-service store you choose the goods that you want.
[189] You take the goods to the checkout.
[190] You hand over your money at the checkout.
[191] The, the goods are then handed to you.
[192] You walk out of the shop and the goods are then your property.
[193] And it seems, on the face of it quite simple and quite straightforward doesn't it?
[194] But it's not as simple as it appears.
[195] Because just by that simple act of handing over your money at the checkout and receiving the goods in exchange, just by doing that, you have entered into a contract with the shop and as, as a result of that contract you've got the three rights which the consumer advisor mentioned on the tape.
[196] Let's, let's just have a look at what those phrases mean in plain [laughing] Eng in plain English [] .
[197] Merchantable qualities.
[198] That phrase sounds a bit old-fashioned nowadays.
[199] The word merchantable isn't one that's, isn't normally used much today.
[200] It sounds old-fashioned because that's the phrase that's used in the original Sale of Goods Act of eighteen ninety three.
[201] I think today we would use a phrase like reasonable quality, satisfactory quality, or acceptable quality.
[202] So all that phrase means, in plain English, is that the goods should be of a reasonable standard and in particular it means that the goods should not be broken or damaged or faulty and whatever you've bought should work.
[203] It's very annoying isn't it if you buy something from a shop and find it won't work?
[204] Especially if you don't realize that till you've got, till you've got home and you realize you've got to go through all the hassle of going back to the shop to complain.
[205] So whatever you've bought shouldn't be broken or damaged or faulty and it should work.
[206] An example of that would be [sigh] if you bought a new pocket calculator and then find it won't work then the legal position is the shop have broken their contract with you, because they've sold you a pocket calculator which is not of merchantable quality, and you should be entitled to money back in a case like that.
[207] But you, besides that you've got two other rights.
[208] You've got the right whatever you've bought should be as described, which brings us back to your problem of the C D described as Slavonic dances when really it was country and western.
[209] So again, the shop have broken their contract with you.
[210] Or if, what would be another example?
[211] If you bought some shoes described as leather and they turned out to be made of plastic then clearly you've bought some shoes which are not as described.
[212] A sheep if you buy a sheepskin coat from a market stall then it should be [...] sheepskin not made of manmade fibres and not made of any other animal.
[213] Fit for the purpose.
[214] That phrase always makes me smile because er my wife recently bought a pair of tights with three legs in the tights.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [215] [laugh] [laughing] And I assure you [] she would have every right to go back to the shop and say look these tights are not fit for their purpose.
[216] Er but seriously that phrase doesn't just mean
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [217] fit for the purpose in the general sense, it also means fit for the purpose in any particular sense you had made known to the shop.
[218] For example if you went into a bicycle shop and said can you sell me a bike suitable for a seven year old child?
[219] Well that, I think that was a quite specific request.
[220] Or if you went into a D I Y shop, not me because I'm the world's worst D I Y person.
[221] But if you did and said can you sell me some erm emulsion paint, which is non-drip, and they sell you some matt paint, which drips, then clearly they've sold you something which was not fit for the purpose that you had specified.
[222] So those three things are called your statutory rights and you've got them as long as you buy the goods from a shop or a trader or someone who's in business.
[223] Alright?
[224] Erm but, and this is a very big but, if you buy privately erm you don't have those three rights any more.
[225] Buying privately means if you buy from an ordinary member of the public not a shop.
[226] For example the classified ads column in the Nottingham Evening Post.
[227] The column where people advertise second hand bikes, second hand sewing machines, second hand cars and all the rest of it.
[228] Where you're not buying from a trader, you're buying from an ordinary member of the public.
[229] We call that buying privately.
[230] If you buy privately you lose that right straight away.
[231] [pen on paper] [cough] And you also lose that.
[232] [pen on paper] So what it means is if you buy privately instead of having three statutory rights you've only got one.
[233] So you'll see straight away erm by buying privately your, your legal protection is far more limited than it was before.
[234] A good example of that is a car.
[235] If you buy a second hand car from a car dealer you would have your three statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act.
[236] But a lot of people buy a second hand car privately, and there are pages of these in the Nottingham Evening Post every day you know where people are paying a few hundred pounds, or it may be a few thousand pounds, for a second hand car.
[237] Now if you do that the only right you've got, in law, is that the car should be as described.
[238] [cough] That would mean that any statement made about the car should ha w should be true.
[239] For example a statement about the number of miles it's done, or the number it's had.
[240] Those statements should be true but erm you wouldn't have the right that it was of merchantable quality.
[241] So you'll see straight away, frankly, you haven't got much legal protection if you buy privately.
[242] And if you do buy a car privately and it turns out to have problems with it, there is very little, if anything the Trading Standards Department could do to help you.
[243] Erm simply because your rights are so limited.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [244] Could I just a
(PS1VF) [245] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [246] ask a question there? [...]
(PS1VF) [247] Yes.
[248] Do.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [249] difference between a trader and a private person.
(PS1VF) [250] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [251] You know you read the, the columns and you buy a second hand car and you buy one this week and you read the column next week
(PS1VF) [252] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [253] and you see the same telephone number, [...] you know different model
(PS1VF) [254] Well it is
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [255] and so it goes on.
(PS1VF) [256] it is sim because of the big difference between the Sales Of Goods Act and buying privately, for that reason it is an offence for a trader erm to pretend not to be a trader.
[257] If I can put it that way.
[258] Now you'll find there are a lot of perfectly honest traders in the Evening Post and the honest ones have put T in brackets to indicate that they are a trader.
[259] Now an unscrupulous one will, as I've said, will pretend not be a trader.
[260] Now that is an offence and the Trading Standards keep a very, and, and of course the Evening Post themselves, keep a very close check on those phone numbers and it's much easier to do it nowadays with computers.
[261] We keep a close check on all those phone numbers to find out, are there any traders masquerading as private sellers.
[262] But that's an important point.
[263] But do remember, what we've talked about so far is the Sale Of Goods Act.
[264] [pen on paper] ... But when buying a car, or anything from a trader, you are also protected by another law [cough] called the Trade Descriptions Act ... which, and we've had that law since nineteen sixty eight.
[265] So we've had that law for a long time.
[266] What the Trade Descriptions Act says is it's a criminal offence for any trader to describe his goods in a false or misleading way.
[267] Okay?
[268] So if for example a dishonest car dealer said bargain, thirty thousand miles only, when really it had done ninety thousand miles then that would be a criminal offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.
[269] Because he's claiming the car is something which it clearly is not.
[270] Or if a jeweller said, you know, the rings in my window are made of gold when really they were not made of gold at all, then that would be a false trade description.
[271] On the streets of Nottingham, just before last Christmas, there was some street traders selling coats er which they described as sheepskin.
[272] We suspected they were not made of sheepskin at all er and we took some of them away and analyzed them to find out what exactly are they made of.
[273] And they turned out to be made of manmade fibres.
[274] So those gentlemen were not only infringing the Sale of Goods Act they were committing a criminal offence as well by infringing the Trade Descriptions Act so they ended up being prosecuted by Trading Standards.
[275] But I, I do feel the Trade Descriptions Act is a is a very important er piece of consumer protection designed of course to protect not only you and me as consumer but also designed to protect traders against unfair trading practices.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [276] Excuse me.
[277] Can you tell me erm how that applies, say if you went and bought an i article of clothing from a market stall
(PS1VF) [278] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [279] and there were no facilities for you try it on
(PS1VF) [280] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [281] and when you got it home you found it didn't fit?
(PS1VF) [282] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [283] What are your rights then?
(PS1VF) [284] If you buy from a market stall that counts as b that counts in exactly the same way as buying from any other er high street retailer.
[285] So in other words you're covered by the, well you're covered by both the Sale of Goods Act and the Trade Descriptions Act.
[286] So, but where I know it is a bit difficult with clothes because a market stall erm you don't, you don't normally get a chance to try the clothes on erm and you're never absolutely sure are these clothes, is this garment going to fit or not?
[287] So I, I always think it, feel it's a good idea to say to the stallholder, stallholder look, erm if I take this home and try it on and find it won't, doesn't fit can I bring it back?
[288] And if I can what are you going to offer me?
[289] And I think it's much better to get a clear understanding from the market stall at that stage rather than leave it till later.
[290] Okay?
[291] M I mean, let's be fair I mean most of the stallholders that I've found in Nottinghamshire erm are perfectly honest and reputable and many of them been there many years anyway.
[292] And of course if they're doing the job probably should be licensed by the local authority in any case.
[293] The real problem comes, not from market stalls, the real problem comes from these people who sell things out of suitcases.
[294] You know alleged to be gold or silver from suitcases.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [295] Now what should make you very suspicious is a soon as a policeman appears
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [296] they disappear like lightning.
[297] Now that, that should w alert you that, hallo, there's something very fishy here.
[298] So do be very wary please about buying anything from a street trader.
[299] Now let's just have a look at some problem areas.
[300] Er oh, before we do that let's just n just listen to a few more seconds of this tape.
[301] [tape recording] So I think you'll agree those two things are important as well.
[302] That if you change your mind remember you're not entitled to anything.
[303] And the other point made by the consumer adviser is try to have a good look at what you've chosen before you walk out of the shop.
[304] Now I know that's easier said than done.
[305] [laughing] You can't always do it [] but try to if you can.
[306] Because what the Sale of Goods Act goes on to say is that if the goods contain a fault which is so obvious you should have noticed the fault while you were in the shop, or the shop assistant pointed out the fault to you while you were in the shop, then I don't think you can really demand money back on that basis.
[307] So what it means is, you've got to have wits about you when you go shopping haven't you?
[308] I'm sure you've said this to your, your class before now.
[309] Use your wits.
[310] Use your commonsense.
[311] Use your gumption as they say in Yorkshire and above all pay attention to the way in which the goods are described to you.
[312] If the goods are described to you as seconds, shopsoiled, slightly imperfect, if any phrase like that is used I think your own commonsense should tell you there's something wrong with these goods and that presumably is the reason why they're reduced in price.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [313] You've just answered the question.
(PS1VF) [314] I've just answered the question, okay.
[315] So the way in which goods are described's important.
[316] Now then erm time is an important part of shopping problems isn't it?
[317] People often say to me how much time have I got in which I can complain about faulty goods?
[318] Er and I wish I could give you, you know, a nice clear cut, definite answer but the Sale of Goods Act is rather vague on that point.
[319] And that I think, I feel is one of the loopholes in the Sale of Goods Act, because it doesn't lay down a definite time limit.
[320] All it says is if you do buy something from a shop and realize it's faulty, what you should do is take it back to the shop who sold it to you, together with your receipt if you've still got it or some other proof of purchase.
[321] Do that as soon as you can and within a reasonable time, says the Sale of Goods Act.
[322] Now the problem comes of course, well that's all very well but how do you define what is a reasonable time?
[323] Because I think, what is a reasonable time, is going to vary from one product to another.
[324] With shoes, I would say you'd normally know pretty quickly.
[325] Are the shoes faulty or not?
[326] Because if the shoes are faulty they're going to pretty quickly feel very uncomfortable.
[327] With shoes I think you're going to know pretty quickly.
[328] But if it's something mechanical, like a car, erm stereo equipment, erm a home computer something like that, a washing machine, it could be a long time before a mechanical fault became apparent.
[329] So what is a reasonable time to complain will, I think, vary from one product to another.
[330] So the only general advice I can give you is you do need to act promptly.
[331] If you find some if you realize you've bought something and it's faulty return it to the shop who sold it to you as soon as you can.
[332] The quicker you do that the better chances will be of getting your money back.
[333] But the longer you leave it the worse [laughing] your chances are going to get [] .
[334] Because there must come a point somewhere in time where the shop will say well you've now had these goods so long they're no longer our responsibility.
[335] They're your responsibility.
[336] [cough] If we take the simple example of shoes.
[337] If, if you buy a p a new pair of shoes and realize they're faulty and you go back the next day and say I bought these shoes from you yesterday, I've still got my receipt, I believe the shoes are faulty, can I have my money back?
[338] I think you'll agree you're in a much stronger position that if you left it for months, and then went back.
[339] You know I think that weak does weaken your case considerably.
[340] So time is an important part of all this.
[341] Erm I've got a heading here, sales.
[342] A lot of people here think they have no rights when buying goods in a sale and it's quite mistaken to think that, you've still, even though you bought the goods in a sale you should still have your three statutory rights.
[343] In fact as far as the law is concerned it's really irrelevant that you bought the goods in a sale.
[344] All that matters as far as the law is concerned is, did you buy the goods from a shop?
[345] If you did, are the goods faulty?
[346] And were they faulty at the time that you the shop sold then to you?
[347] That's all that really matters as far as the law is concerned.
[348] Erm it is quite unfair, and illegal, for a shop to try to duck out of their responsibilities to you by pointing to a sign that says no refunds, no money refunded.
[349] No money refunded on sale goods.
[350] All those signs are illegal.
[351] And when you think about it they must be illegal, cos if a shop puts up a sign saying no money refunded they are, are trying to take away your statutory rights.
[352] You should always be entitled to a refund provided the goods are faulty.
[353] That's the point.
[354] So don't be put off by a sign that says no money refunded.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [355] They, they pardon?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [356] What about the ones where they say well we'll repair it for you?
[357] ... Or we'll put it right for you?
(PS1VF) [358] Well they can certainly offer you a repair, and of course if you wish to have a repair done that's entirely up to you.
[359] You can choose that if you wish.
[360] But if the goods are faulty what you're entitled to by law is money back.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [361] A cash refund in other words.
[362] So that you're, in other words you either, you're, by having the money back in your hand you are then restored to the position you were in before you bought the goods in the first place.
[363] All you're en all you can insist on, all you can demand is money back.
[364] Now if the shop want to offer you an alternative that's up to them and you can of course accept if you wish.
[365] Erm but all you can demand is money back.
[366] Okay?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [367] S some shops put conditions on that, don't they?
[368] The they say things like no refunds given unless you produce a valid receipt.
[369] Now when I shop
(PS1VF) [370] Well
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [371] I keep the valid, a receipt
(PS1VF) [372] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [373] and I've realized that.
[374] I'm asking what's the legal position in that?
(PS1VF) [375] I think, I think a shop, if you look at from the shop's point of view erm I think it is quite understandable and natural that they would, they would either like a receipt or at least they would like to see some evi
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [376] Proof of purchase.
(PS1VF) [377] some evidence
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [378] Mm.
(PS1VF) [379] that you bought the goods from them, I think that's reasonable.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [380] Yes I, I, I accept
(PS1VF) [381] Erm
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [382] that.
[383] I just
(PS1VF) [384] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [385] wondering what the legal position was on that.
[386] Are they legally entitled to say that in fact?
(PS1VF) [387] They are legally entitled to say either a receipt or some other evidence of purchase .
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [388] Right.
[389] Fine
(PS1VF) [390] But what I'm, what I'd like to stress to you is don't abandon hope erm sounds like a religious text actually.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [391] Don't abandon hope just because you think oh dear, I can't find my receipt.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [392] Mm.
(PS1VF) [393] Because in practice there are alternative ways of proving purchase aren't there?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [394] Mm.
(PS1VF) [395] I mean if you've still got the original bag or the wrapper or, or the box or the price
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [396] Yeah.
(PS1VF) [397] tag.
[398] In practice a lot of shops will accept that.
[399] If you paid by cheque or credit card, again you would have some evidence that you spent that money.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [400] We had a problem with the electrical place, Dixons erm over something rather different like that.
[401] We bought our daughter a, a cassette player one Christmas erm she opened it, threw the box away.
[402] Four days later it packed up.
[403] Dixons refused to exchange it because we didn't return it in the original packaging.
[404] ... They did exchange it in the end but I had to be very insistent and it took three months.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [405] Mm.
(PS1VF) [406] Mm. ...
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [407] They said that I should return it in its box, with the receipt.
[408] I didn't have the box.
[409] I did have the
(PS1VF) [410] D
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [411] receipt.
(PS1VF) [412] You did have the receipt?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [413] Oh yes.
(PS1VF) [414] Well I, I think that should have been sufficient myself .
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [415] Mm.
[416] It was in the end but it took
(PS1VF) [417] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [418] letters to Head Office to
(PS1VF) [419] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [420] do it.
(PS1VF) [421] Yes.
[422] And I think you'll agree, it is a difficult I mean I always stress this point about attitude, that a lot of problems that we get in our advice centres have been made worse because the customer has caused er you know argument or a scene
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [423] Mm.
(PS1VF) [424] in the shop.
[425] Erm and it does make it very difficult then for Trading Standards then to pick up the pieces.
[426] And I know it's very easy for me to stand here and say you know try to keep calm and polite and reasonable.
[427] And that brings us back to your point, that there are times when you, you, you know you have, in order to get your statutory rights you've got to be pretty firm.
[428] And I feel that it, it is a difficult bala in practice it is difficult balance to achieve, to be polite, but to be firm at the same time ... erm but and there are times when that has to be done.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [429] [...] .
(PS1VF) [430] Now while we're on this point about what exactly am I entitled to, erm we ought to say a word about credit notes cos there are a lot of shops who say well erm you know it is it isn't company policy to, it isn't our policy to offer refunds, but we're quite happy to offer you a credit note.
[431] A lot of customers accept that because they don't really know what their statutory rights are.
[432] But that brings us back to the point we were stressing a moment ago, if the goods are faulty you're entitled to money back, a cash refund.
[433] Er you need only accept a credit note if the problem is your own fault in some way.
[434] For example if you've changed your mind and decide you didn't want the goods or if you had damaged the goods and the shop offer you a credit note, I think you really have to accept that with good grace, cos it is really your fault.
[435] But if the goods are faulty you'd have the right to decline the credit note and ask for money back.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [436] I if I could just come in there you mentioned this er if you changed your mind on goods, and you seemed to be defining the legal position.
[437] You've got you know some of the well known er shops like Marks and Spencers who will take things back and don't ask for a [...] .
(PS1VF) [438] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [439] Is this just
(PS1VF) [440] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [441] a matter of customer [...] ?
(PS1VF) [442] With Marks and Spencers it is a matter of customer relations.
[443] They, they are going beyond what they have to do by law, and all credit to them for doing that.
[444] But the reason why they do that of course is they would like you to keep coming back
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [445] and trading with them as a happier and satisfied customer.
[446] After all a reputable retailer doesn't want a lot of dissatisfied customers walking about.
[447] He'll want you, quite naturally, to keep on trading with him.
[448] But, and, but Marks and Spencers are really going, and there are plenty of other firms beside them who do it, but they are going beyond what they strictly have to do by law.
[449] Er but there are of course h n while we're on that point there are, I'm afraid, there are s people who take advantage of Marks and Spencers, erm because they know there's going to be no problem about having goods exchanged so what they do, they buy something from Marks and Spencers wear it on one evening for, for a party or special occasion
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [450] take it back the next day
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [451] and it's th they get the money back [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [452] Now none of you would dream of doing anything like that.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [453] Thank you for that.
[454] I'll [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh] [...] [in background throughout following text]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [455] Erm with, with sales
(PS1VF) [456] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [457] er very often in the shop it says no refund on, on sale goods
(PS1VF) [458] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [459] now i if that is strictly wrong why do the shops put the sale notices up?
(PS1VF) [460] Well as I've said signs like that are illegal.
[461] If you do see a sign like that please, or any words that mean the same thing, like no refunds, no money refunded, no money refunded on sale goods any of those phrases, will you please let Trad your nearest Trading Standards Office know.
[462] And we will get the sign taken down.
[463] They are, are allowed to put a sign that say no goods exchanged.
[464] Or it might say no sale goods exchanged.
[465] That's, that's okay, that's within the law.
[466] But no money refunded is not within the law.
[467] Alright?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [468] Mm.
(PS1VF) [469] [laugh] So do please let, bring it to the attention of Trading Standards.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [470] Since, yes, since you can't exchange the goods then
(PS1VF) [471] No because you don't have a legal right to have the goods exchanged.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [472] But you can take it back and say I want my money?
(PS1VF) [473] You can.
[474] Yes.
[475] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [476] Erm ... but there are a few what I call golden rules to avoid becoming one of these four hundred people every week [laughing] who come into our advice centre [] .
[477] I would say golden rule number one is keep receipts.
[478] Very important.
[479] Unfortunately you can't insist on having a receipt because there's no law that says shops have got to give receipts.
[480] Perhaps there ought to be a law like that, but there isn't at the moment.
[481] So you can't demand one but you can always ask
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [482] [...] way round that?
(PS1VF) [483] You can say can I have a receipt please?
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [484] There is one way round that.
(PS1VF) [485] Right.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [486] If they're VAT registered
(PS1VF) [487] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [488] and you insist on a VAT receipt
(PS1VF) [489] VAT receipt.
[490] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [491] they have got to give you one.
(PS1VF) [492] Okay?
[493] Er it is important as I've said about, we were talking a moment ago
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [494] Pardon?
(PS1VF) [495] about evidence of purchase.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [496] No. [...]
(PS1VF) [497] Erm
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [498] They have got to give a receipt [...]
(PS1VF) [499] It is important because if you do buy something from a shop and realize there's something wrong with it, if you take it back the first thing the shop would say to you is can I see your receipt?
[500] Or they may say have you any proof of purchase?
[501] You don't need to hoard them for years, I know some people who hoard receipts for years.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [502] Every five years or so have a glorious clear out and throw all the old [laughing] [...] []
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [503] [laughing] Y you don't need to get to quite to those lengths but er []
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [504] you certainly do need to keep them for a while.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [505] What I mean by that is er try to have a good look at what you've chosen before you walk out the shop.
[506] Now that was the point I made a few moments ago.
[507] Legal documents, by that I mean be very wary of signing any kind of legal document in a shop.
[508] Let's take the example of a cooker.
[509] If you decide you want to a buy a new cooker and you go to the Gas Showrooms or the Electricity Showrooms and say I'd like to buy that cooker there and I would like to spread the payments over time, normally nowadays twenty four months or thirty six months.
[510] Nothing wrong with that it's a perfectly er respectable and reputable way of shopping, provided of course you know what you're doing and you d you don't get carried away.
[511] But, but a lot of the problems that come into our advice centre have been caused by people signing erm credit agreements and then realizing they can't afford the payments.
[512] Now to go back to the example of the cooker, if you do say that in the showrooms you will certainly be asked to sign a legal document.
[513] A credit agreement.
[514] But be very careful, because once you've signed it it becomes a legally binding document [...] it will be very difficult to back out of it.
[515] You'll need a solicitor [laughing] to get out of it [] believe me.
[516] If you sign the document in your own home, as you would do with a doorstep salesman, er then the law does give you a chance to change your mind, although I hope for goodness sake you would all be very wary about signing any kind of legal document thrust under your nose from a doorstep salesman.
[517] But if you did that the law does give you what they call a cooling off period.
[518] What a lovely phrase.
[519] They give you a cooling off period of seven days in which you can change your mind, have second thoughts, and cancel the credit agreement.
[520] But you don't have that privilege, I'm afraid, if you sign it in Gas Showrooms, Electricity Showrooms or a shop so be very careful
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [521] Or Tenerife.
(PS1VF) [522] Or Tenerife.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [523] So do be very careful about that.
[524] Right.
[525] Now [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [526] [...] the case of checking, the case of checking the goods number two there.
(PS1VF) [527] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [528] That's increasingly difficult these days with shrink-wrapping and [...]
(PS1VF) [529] It is.
[530] I agree.
[531] Yes.
[532] And it always annoys me
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [533] when I want to buy a shirt, that men's shirts are usually all sealed up in a package
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
(PS1VF) [534] with a multitude of pins
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [535] Yeah.
(PS1VF) [536] and it's very difficult to have a close look at the shirt without taking the whole thing to
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [537] Mm.
(PS1VF) [538] pieces.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [539] So you take it pieces.
(PS1VF) [540] But er
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [541] You can it to pieces [...] I don't w I don't want the package [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [542] [...] did that
(PS1VF) [543] What all I wanted [...] .
[544] Yes.
[545] But if you can do that try and do that.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [546] Now this leaflet which I'm going to give you in a moment er is called How To Put Things Right which i i is quite a good title for a leaflet like this.
[547] How to put things right.
[548] But perhaps a better title might be how to prevent things going wrong, on the argument you know that prevention is better than cure and rather than trying to put problems right which have already happened, it might be better to try to prevent them happening in the first place.
[549] And I do feel that by just following a few simple rules like that we can avoid a lot of the problems that come into our advice centre.
[550] Now I want to allow a bit more time for questions so I'll just end if I may with a funny story which, didn't happen to me, it happened to a colleague of mine, erm a young lady, who went to give er a talk like this to group of adults like yourselves and at the end of the meeting the treasurer went up to her and said do we owe you any fee or expenses?
[551] No thank you she said.
[552] No fee and no expenses.
[553] Ah, thank you very much, she said we're very appre very much appreciate the fact that you've given up your time to come and talk to our members you see we can't afford to pay for really good speakers
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [554] [laughing] whereupon of course she [...] off [] .
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [555] Right.
[556] Well thank you very much for listening and if there are any more questions I'll be very pleased to [...] .
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [557] Okay.
[558] Thanks John.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [559] Right.
[560] Finally
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [561] Th the legal documents you know th going back to the cooker.
[562] Do you have the right to take the documents out to look at them a and read them?
[563] Because if you're buying something like
(PS1VF) [564] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [565] that in a shop it's extremely difficult to go through all the
(PS1VF) [566] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [567] bits and pieces and
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [568] Mm mm.
(PS1VF) [569] Yes.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [570] realize what you're doing.
[571] But if I remember correctly on one of the progr on television going back sort of two three months ago, one of the firms, and I think it was an electrical firm, was working a bit of a swift one erm they were getting people to sign a document which purported I think to be erm l l loaning money, hire agreement.
[572] But it wasn't actually, it were something else, and people were finding that their goods were repossessed because they couldn't keep up the payments.
(PS1VF) [573] Mm.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [574] Now can you take the documents [...] ?
(PS1VF) [575] Certainly and I, that's a good very point, a very good question.
[576] Erm let's face it it can be very tempting when the salesman thrusts the document under your nose, just sign here sir or just sign here madam, just a formality you understand, erm we'll fill in [laugh] we'll fill in the details later.
Unknown speaker (FUTPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS1VF) [577] It's very, it's very tempting, especially if it's something that you badly want as happened to me recently when I'd set my heart on buying a new erm video recorder.
[578] And I thought to myself if all I've got to do is put my signature on this piece of paper and without actually paying any money down, any cash down at all, I can a actually walk out of the shop carrying the video recorder.
[579] And it is very tempting when you've set your heart on something like that.
[580] And v very tempting indeed.
[581] But you're, but you're quite right you, you certainly, you certainly have the right to say look, you know, rather than signing this now er I do need some time to think I mean let's face it there's a load of s If you turn it over on the back of the credit agree