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RECORDED DELIVERY


Ikea Ltd

2 Drury Way

North Circular Road

London NW10 0TH




Dear Sir


HARDWOOD GARDEN CHAIRS

We have two hardwood garden chairs that we bought from you that do not conform to contract.


1. An initial annoying faulty on both chairs is that the ball clip which is supposed to hold the bottom of the back on the bar that joins the rear legs so that it is possible to pick the chair up to move it without the chair folding up has never worked from the beginning.

2. In addition the screws broke in the hinges at the front end of the arms on both chairs, which we replaced ourselves.

3. In addition on one chair leg there is a crack in the wood near where a bolt goes through which supports the seat. This has been stable, but to any ordinary person it is clear that that particular piece of wood should have been rejected.

4. But the major issue is that one chair has cracked and failed so allowing the person who was sitting in it to fall to the ground. We are all lucky that they do not appear to have been hurt. The other chair is cracking and has a very loose key piece of wood in the same place at the rear of the seat, and so will obviously also collapse in a catastrophic way in the very near future. Due to one person already falling to the ground, it is too dangerous to use the other chair on which the same key piece of wood has also cracked and upon which the key piece of wood in the same place has also nearly separated. We have a duty to try to minimise any potential injury. It is clear to any carpenter that the same thing will happen very soon. Specifically the cross piece at the back of the seat is attached to the side pieces by means of two dowels at each end. On the chair that has collapsed completely both dowels have broken and the wood that surrounds them has cracked. On the other chair one dowel at each end has cracked so allowing the piece of wood to pivot on the remaining dowel. Double the load  is now on the remaining dowel, so it must break soon. Note that this fault happened last September, but because it is so awkward to get to the store, we only went there last Sunday. Both chairs have failed in exactly the same places.


A consumer is entitled to goods of satisfactory quality, taking account of any description, the price and other relevant circumstances. If an item has a fault that is present at the time of sale then the consumer can complain once it is discovered; as I am now doing.


These two chairs fail to meet the requirements of Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) with regard to safety, durability and satisfactory quality that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account that the chairs are hardwood chairs (chosen for its long life) and the price (approx £69 each), not a sum of money that one would expect to pay for something “temporary”. No reasonable person would expect a chair to only have a life of some 2 or 3 years of light use. Note that the  chairs are garden chairs which would inherently only be sat upon during a warm day during the summer, which is how we have used them. As we work all week, and so can only sit on the chairs on the weekend, even if we sat on them every day of every weekend of a 3 month summer, this still would only add up to less than 90 days of use.


Note that this is not a case of fair wear and tear (the product has cracked and failed after light use); misuse or accidental damage (the chair is in excellent order except for faults as noted above); nor that we have decided that we do not want them: we bought hardwood chairs so that they would have a long life without rotting, and we like the shape of the chairs very much.


As the three main faults have materialised in the same way in two identical chairs of the same design then the fault must have been present at the time of sale. Note that the parts that have failed are not subject to wear as such, they are non moving parts.


If a product that was faulty at the time of sale is returned to the retailer (which is what we endeavoured to do by visiting the Brent Cross Store and speaking to your staff, including a manager called Michelle last Sunday, but she would not accept them) then I, as a consumer, am legally entitled to, arguably a full refund, but certainly a reasonable amount of compensation (for up to six years from the date of sale). Under the Regulations, I, as a consumer, can choose to request instead a repair or replacement.


I request a replacement of the chairs with similar (albeit without the same design flaws) hardwood folding garden chairs with high (>2 ft from top of seat to top of back) curved backs and with arms.


BLINDS

We have two 2m wide window blinds that we bought from you that do not conform to contract.


The roller that is supposed to hold the string of the Venetian style blinds so that the blind can be held at any height does not hold all the strings, so that the blinds can only be held in a stationary position while crooked.


A consumer is entitled to goods of satisfactory quality, taking account of any description, the price and other relevant circumstances. If an item has a fault that is present at the time of sale then the consumer can complain once it is discovered as I am now doing.


These two blinds also fail to meet the requirements of Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) with regard to durability and satisfactory quality that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price (approx £36 each), not a sum of money that one would expect to pay for something “temporary”.


Note that this is not a case of fair wear and tear (the product has failed after light use); misuse or accidental damage; nor that we have decided that we do not want them: we still have to keep the sun out of our room.


As the two faults have materialised in the same way in two identical blinds of the same design then the fault must have been present at the time of sale.


If a product that was faulty at the time of sale is returned to the retailer (which is what we endeavoured to do by visiting the Brent Cross Store and speaking to your staff, including a manager called Michelle today, but she would not accept them) then I, as a consumer, am legally entitled to, arguably a full refund, but certainly a reasonable amount of compensation (for up to six years from the date of sale). Under the Regulations, I, as a consumer, can choose to request instead a repair or replacement.


I request a replacement of the two blinds with similar 2m wide Venetian style blinds.


SUMMARY

Please note that if we do not receive a satisfactory response to this letter by 19th of January I will take the matter to the Small Claims Court without notifying you further. Please also note that if I have to take the matter to the Small Claims Court and the Court decides in my favour, you will then be liable for extra costs.


In the returns department there was a sign from the management inviting feedback about how the store was doing. For your own marketing feedback the returns department with its low ceiling, missing ceiling tiles and crush of people gives a bad impression of Ikea. It feels like the check in counters for the worst form of charter flight. While we were waiting a physical fight broke out between a member of staff and a customer.


While we were at your store we were planning to buy more furniture, but we did not as we felt that Ikea would not look after us if it was of low quality and broke. We also need a new kitchen area in our office which we will put on hold while this issue with yourselves is resolved.


I hope that this issue will be able to be resolved speedily and satisfactorily.



Yours faithfully




Richard Herman


Do not worry about complaining to large companies. Here are two sample letters that I used with Ikea and Boots

Boots UK Ltd

Nottingham

NG2 3AA





Dear Sir


Reading glasses


I have a pair of reading glasses bought from Boots Opticians in Kingston that do not conform to contract.


As background, the glasses are of a frameless design, in which on either side of each lens a threaded shaft (from the nose bridge and from the ear hook) goes through the lens from the front to the back. Onto each shaft is then threaded 3 plastic washers, and a small nut of a decorative style is screwed on to hold everything together.


The issues that I have had with them are as follows:


1. Within 5 weeks of purchase I heard a tiny noise as I was reading in bed. It turned out to be the left nut on the right hand lens and 3 washers falling off onto the pillow. I managed to find all of the tiny pieces and put them back together..

2. Some time later the right hand nose pad fell off and I could not find the piece.

3. Some time later the same left nut on the right hand side fell off again. Unfortunately I could not find all the pieces this time.

4. My wife went in to Boots Opticians in Kingston. In place of the missing original delicate nose pad they put a less attractive larger nose pad, and replaced the still existing pad on the other side with a large one so that they matched.

5. On the shaft on the left side of the right hand lens they put on only two plastic washers, and two nuts. This did not look very good as it did not look the same as the other three original shafts.

6. Over last summer and autumn I tightened by hand the other 3 nuts as I felt them become loose.

7. At the end of last year the right hand nose pad fell off again, and unfortunately I could not find where it went. I did not have time before Christmas to get into Kingston, and I was away in New Zealand for all of January and February.

8. Shortly after arriving in New Zealand I noticed that a stress fracture was forming on the left hand side of the right hand lens from the hole where the shaft goes through the lens. This is the shaft that had been secured with one less plastic washer and with the two nuts by Boots Opticians in Kingston. As after their work the two nuts on that shaft has never become loose, I inferred that they had in fact over tightened the nuts on that shaft, so stressing the plastic lens. Also, presumably  the three plastic washers were in the original design as a cushion, and as Boots Opticians only put on 2 plastic washers, perhaps that also increased the strain on the lens.

9. Shortly before leaving New Zealand the fracture that had been extending out from the hole (where the shaft goes through) reached the edge of the lens, so the lens separated into two pieces.


A consumer is entitled to goods of satisfactory quality, taking account of any description, the price and other relevant circumstances. If an item has a fault that is present at the time of sale then the consumer can complain once it is discovered; as I am now doing.


These reading glasses fail to meet the requirements of Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) with regard to safety, durability and satisfactory quality that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account that the glasses were bought from Boots Opticians (chosen for its reputation and because I had bought a frameless pair of reading glasses of a slightly different design to these which have failed, and which have excellent optical qualities and which I am still using satisfactorily) and the price (approx £18), not a sum of money that one would expect to pay for something “temporary”, such as reading glasses which are available from “The pound store” for example. No reasonable person would expect a pair of reading glasses to only have a life of some months of light use. Note that the reading glasses are only of +1.0 magnification, and are only used by me for occasional use as needed as my eyes slowly change as I get older.


Note that this is not a case of fair wear and tear (the nuts fell of without being touched, as the nose pads fell of without being touched); misuse or accidental damage (the reading glasses are in excellent order except for faults as noted above); nor that I have decided that I do not want them: I bought from Boots Opticians because of Boots’ reputation for quality and because I wanted them to have a long life, and I like the shape of this design of reading glasses very much.


As the nuts have been loose on all four shafts and as the right hand nose pad has fallen off twice and as the faults have materialised in the same way then the fault must have been present at the time of sale. Note that the parts that have failed are not subject to wear as such, as they are non moving parts. In addition, I contend that the stress fracture on the left hand side of the right hand lens was caused by the repair person at Boots Opticians in Kingston not putting in the third plastic washer and to their over tightening the nuts.


If a product that was faulty at the time of sale is returned to the retailer, then I, as a consumer, am legally entitled to, arguably a full refund, but certainly a reasonable amount of compensation (for up to six years from the date of sale). Under the Regulations, I, as a consumer, can choose to request instead a repair or replacement.


Note that I have endeavoured to return to the retailer, Boots Opticians in Kingston. My wife or I have spoken to the staff there four times, when they were repaired once, but no subsequent assistance given. In fact the employee Rita said that the glasses were only for light use, not specified when I bought them, and not to be put in a tube type case, in which they fit perfectly well, which again was not specified when I bought them.


I request a replacement of the reading glasses with the same design from a different manufacturing batch, or similar half height frameless style (albeit without the same design flaws). If you do not have suitable reading glasses, then a refund of the purchase cost of, £18 would be acceptable.


Please note that if I do not receive a satisfactory response to this letter by 31st March 2013 I will write to you again to notify you that  I will take the matter to the Small Claims Court. Please also note that if I have to take the matter to the Small Claims Court and the Court decides in my favour, you will then be liable for extra costs.


To compliment Boots, and to show the level of customer service that one would expect from Boots can  be provided, after an unsuccessful visit to Boots Opticians my wife and I were looking at electric toothbrushes in the same Kingston store. A younger female member of staff wearing a head scarf asked if we needed help. We said that we were only looking with a view to buying elsewhere, as we would not buying anything again in Boots due to the poor service in the Opticians. This female member of staff exhibited excellent customer service, as she said that she would call the manager. Soon Lloyd, the black store manager, came up. Lloyd also exhibited excellent customer service in going to speak to Boots Opticians on our behalf, albeit without success. He suggested that I speak to Paul Hollis when he was next in. I called Mr Hollis and my wife took the glasses in, but he would not do anything. The younger female and Lloyd deserve their regional manager’s commendation for customer care, good salesmanship, and for projecting a good image of Boots.


As further feedback, one member of staff in Boots Opticians called Johnny was very helpful, but Rita was most unpleasant, and you may care to consider if she should be in a customer facing position. Paul Hollis, the manager, was helpful on the phone, but dismissive when my wife took the glasses in.


As mentioned above, while we were at your store we were planning to buy more products, but we did not as we felt that Boots would not look after us if whatever we bought turned out to be of low quality and were to fail. My wife and I have put on hold on further purchases from any Boots store while this issue with yourselves is resolved.


I hope that this issue will be able to be resolved speedily and satisfactorily.



Yours faithfully




Richard Herman

Both of these letters were based upon the principle of the goods not being of merchantable quality. Let me know if they help.