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I purchased an LG TV from Argos on 26/05/2015.

Problems began around six months ago, with a dot surrounded by a circle flickering in a specific place on the backlight (not the pixels themselves, only the backlight). Increasing the backlight to maximum brightness made the problem go away so I could live with it and avoid the annoying replacement process for a little while. Recently it began showing at max backlight and grew to two dots nearby each other. Then today it grew to a completely black screen.

I contacted LG directly over the phone eight days ago, bypassing the retailer because I assumed they were off the hook after two years and ten months, and it should be the manufacturer assuming responsibility. Initially I was told I'd be granted a goodwill repair, once I'd sent proof of purchase. I sent proof of purchase on the same day.

They called back two days later but I missed it, and I followed up after the weekend, three days ago. I was told they wouldn't be granting a repair or anything, and that their warranty is for one year only.

With the unfortunate coincidence of the TV completely breaking down just over a week after I contacted the manufacturer, I rang them again today and updated them on the TV's demise, again I was told their warranty is for one year only. When I asked, "if it breaks down after one year and one day, you have no responsibility?" the agent flat out agreed.

I then followed up with the retailer to check all options, and was told I'd need to have it assessed by a TV specialist. I assume that's going be quite expensive relative to the original purchase price, with no indication of any guaranteed minimum return.

What are my options when:

  • I purchased it brand new
  • It's in pristine condition
  • It's completely broken (besides sound) after 2 years and 10 months
  • The problems began when it was around 2 years and 4 months old
  • I "need" a potentially expensive TV specialist assessment to proceed with the retailer
  • A cursory Google shows countless consumers boasting of 5 - 10 year TV lifespans
  • Official-looking Googled results state expected lifespans of 20 - 30 years for LED and LCD TVs

Is the LG agent correct in stating that LG has no legal responsibility for this?

Are there other (cheap/free) avenues to pursue this?

Do I have to get the TV assessed to proceed with other avenues?


RESOLUTION:

After sending a formal email before the TV completely broke down, which I didn't mention above, an LG agent contacted me to apologise for the trouble and say they had booked in a repair for next month. It turned out to be a typo and the collection was this month instead. They collected the TV a week ago and returned it yesterday in perfect working order.

For reference, the email I sent was:

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been informed that despite previous assurances that I would be granted a goodwill repair, after receipt of my proof of purchase that assurance has been revoked and the decision has been made not to repair the faulty TV.

The backlight of the TV constantly flickers in a specific area, it's impossible not to notice, and makes for a very uncomfortable viewing experience.

I have been using this TV since purchasing it brand new 2 years and 10 months ago. The problem began approximately 6 months ago and has become progressively worse, almost completely ruining the viewing experience, and in doing so, rendering the television almost useless.

The expected lifetime of a TV is more than 3 years. The fault is caused by a manufacturing defect, as the entire unit is still in pristine condition. The only way you could justifiably avoid responsibility for this issue is if it was caused by me, but as stated above, the unit is demonstrably in pristine condition.

Therefore, having been sold a faulty unit, I should be compensated with a repair, replacement, or partial refund substantial enough to purchase another television of the same specifications.

I await a better decision, and expect not to hear that "the warranty is one year", because I am certain that doesn't mean the unit can break down when it's one year and one day old and leave you with no responsibility.

Regards,

[Name]

Their response was:

[...]

I am a member of the customer resolutions team and I will try to help you with your problem.

Please let me begin by extending my sincere apologies to you for the experience you’ve had trying to get your TV repaired with us.

I hope you can understand that we offer a one year limited repair warranty on all of our TVs and as such your TV would be classed as out of warranty.

I appreciate that you’ve had a number of correspondences with our agents and may have been told on one occasion that you would receive a repair as a gesture of goodwill.

I would like to reiterate this sentiment and confirm that I have personally booked your TV to one of our couriers myself for a goodwill repair.

[...]

It is unclear why they chose to make an exception in this case, but I no longer have any complaints about them.

  • You could just...buy a new TV. – Stackstuck Mar 29 '18 at 17:57
  • @Stackstuck good one. I object to buying a TV from a reputable brand that only lasts 30 months before malfunctioning. – Dom Mar 29 '18 at 18:06
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    ...so get a different brand of TV. – Stackstuck Mar 29 '18 at 18:17
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    Usually a product like this comes with an express warranty for a fixed period of time. Normally a warranty arising as a matter of law only applies to the condition it is in when purchased and it would as a practical matter be hard to prove that it was defective when purchased after that many months without an expert witness. But, I am not in a position to cite chapter and verse of the authority supporting this analysis since I don't have a good UK/EU primary law reference database. – ohwilleke Mar 29 '18 at 20:02
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    It’s disappointing that consumer protection is so weak in other jurisdictions that the first response would be ‘just buy a new TV’! – sjy Mar 30 '18 at 3:43
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The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is your friend here.

In summary, the TV should last a reasonable length of time. For electrical appliances like TVs the courts usually look at that as six years. In the event that the TV breaks down before then, the retailer has two options.

  1. Repair or replace the item. This must be done in a reasonable period of time, typically 28 days.

  2. Offer a full or partial refund. The partial refund may be based on how much use you had from the TV, so if it failed a little less than 3 years after you bought it and the expected lifespan is 6 years, you might expect more than 50% of the purchase price to be refunded.

Usually the best thing to do is mention the Consumer Rights Act to the retailer, and that they have 28 days to rectify the situation.

If they ask for proof that you didn't damage the TV then photos of it in excellent condition are enough. If it goes to court the burden of proof is only "on a balance of probability", i.e. 51% chance you didn't break it and you win. If it looks undamaged then the retailer would need to do their own investigation to counter that evidence.

If the retailer refuses then your best option is Small Claims Court. It doesn't cost much, you don't need a lawyer and they usually just cave in before getting that far anyway.

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    This is more of the answer I was seeking. LG actually contacted me last Friday to say they've booked in a goodwill repair for next month. I'll update the question once the process is complete. I'll probably accept this answer if an even better one doesn't come along before then. – Dom Apr 3 '18 at 16:21
  • Your welcome! . – user Apr 3 '18 at 18:57
  • It is also worth noting that if the item cost more than £100 and you paid any amount (even just a deposit) on a credit card, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader. This means it is just as responsible as the retailer or trader for the goods or service supplied, allowing you to also put your claim to the credit card company. which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/… – Owain Mar 9 at 13:31
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"I contacted LG directly over the phone eight days ago, bypassing the retailer because I assumed they were off the hook after two years and ten months, and it should be the manufacturer assuming responsibility."

Nope. In the EU (and Britain still is), the retailer is the only party with a legal warranty duty (at least 2 years, national law may deviate to the benefit of the customer). The manufacturer may offer any additional warranty, but even if they do that does not absolve the retailer.

The UK does have a longer warranty period than the EU minimum if you can prove the product was faulty, but this is a reversed proof, and it still binds the retailer instead of the manufacturer.

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Under section 9 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods must be of a quality that a reasonable person would consider satisfactory in light of their price and description when sold. Quality includes fitness for purpose, freedom from defects and durability. Under section 19 of the Act, the seller must repair or replace goods which are not of satisfactory quality.

Ultimately, to enforce these rights in court you would have to prove that the TV was not of satisfactory quality when it was sold to you, which may require you to prove that you didn’t cause the fault. Realistically, it’s probably not worth going to court over a TV. But the Citizens Advice Bureau publishes an online self-help guide which provides the following advice in your circumstances:

You may be able to get a repair, replacement or part-refund – contact the seller

Your rights depend on whether the item should’ve lasted this long. You’ll stand a better chance if it was particularly expensive or sold as high quality, premium or top of the range ...

Return the item as soon as you can – your chances are better if you act quickly. Your consumer rights last for up to 6 years, depending on the quality and standard of the item when you bought it ...

The seller may ask you to prove you didn’t cause the fault yourself – they’re allowed to do that.

Note that these remedies are available against the seller, not the manufacturer. Although the retailer has been unwilling to assist you so far, it might be worth taking the first step suggested by the Citizens Advice Bureau:

Use our complaint letter for faulty goods – it contains legal terminology and may help the seller understand that you know your rights.

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LG will give you a manufacturers' warranty for their TV, which will last exactly as long as they decide it last. Some products may have longer manufacturer warranties than others, but there is no legal requirement how long it would have to be. So complaining the manufacturer is unlikely to help unless their warranty says so. Apparently you had one year manufacturer's warranty, so after one year and one day they have no responsibility.

The seller may also give you a warranty, which is entirely up to them.

And then there are your consumer rights. Which mean the product must work for a "reasonable amount of time". What a reasonable amount of time is depends on the product.

Now the reality: The retailer doesn't have to do anything unless you take them to court and win the case. The retailer will avoid this for cases they would know they lose, but also to avoid making customers unhappy.

So your best option may be is to negotiate a deal with the seller. You might get them to sell you a similar model add a good rebate, for example.

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