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I recently experienced a failure on a rather expensive piece of sport equipment upon its first use. I purchased the product in the UK and experienced the failure in the UK, 2 weeks after purchase. I believe failure occurred because I had been supplied with the wrong fasteners.

Due to the nature of the product (a surfboard hydrofoil) it promptly sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Chance of recovery is slim to none. I contacted the retailer immediately to inform them of the failure and did not receive a very optimistic response - they asked me to try and find it at low tide. I went hunting but the water is just too deep and murky.

I have supplied the retailer with photos of the damage, a GPS trace for the time of the incident and a video of the failure occurring. Given that there is very little of the product left, is it reasonable to expect the retailer/manufacturer to respect my right to a replacement? If they resist, what can I do about it?

  • Has the retailler or manufacturer agreed (ideally in writing) that you were supplied with the wrong fasteners? – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Jul 22 at 13:41
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere verbally, they have stated that the same product has arrived in store with a differing fastener packs. They also stated that they have an outstanding query about this with the manufacturer. – Gusdor Jul 22 at 13:55
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With the additional information in the comment, the approach most likely to give you a good outcome would be to present this as a dispute between the retailler and the manufacturer. Make a note of who said what and when, and try to obtain written confirmation from the retailler. It sounds like the retailler is currently on your side, which makes your position stronger as your legal contract is with them and they will have obligations under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (I'm assuming you bought the item as a private individual and not as a business).

Note that you may not have a right to replacement. Consumer protection legislation and warranty terms include several ways the supplier can provide redress (usually repair / refund / replace). Since the preference is replacement, you will not be able to argue an inherent design fault with the product. This may give the manufacturer the opportunity to assert that the retailler, or you, specified an incorrect fitting kit - or that it was incorrectly installed.

If the fittings were supplied with the foil, you could argue that it was an issue with these that led to total loss of the rest of the foil. It looks like you currently have grounds to claim this against the retailler.

If there's no satisfactory resolution, consulting the Citizens Advice bureau would be a good place to start.

  • Thank you for this. I wouldn't want to suggest that the design is inherently bad, simply that they put the wrong bits in the box. Either way, I believe it is unreasonable for me to predict the breakage and mitigate the loss. – Gusdor Jul 23 at 13:03

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