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I received a replacement closed-loop (meaning it does not need refilling and has no way of leaking) watercooler from a very well known company as my old one had a failed pump. Within a couple of days, this new watercooler developed a leak and caused a motherboard/CPU failure.

At this point, per the Consumer Rights act, what can I demand of the manufacturer? I've been told mixed things so far. Some people say that I can only ask for a replacement watercooler, and other people says that it is in the act that they must replace the damaged parts also as the cooler was not fit for purpose (and effectively went out in a fit of mutually ensured destruction).

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You are not clear where that motherboard / CPU comes from. Did you buy one cooling system consisting of a watercooler and various other parts, including a motherboard and CPU? In that case, since you don't care what parts that system is made of, just that it works, the cooling system that you bought needs to be fixed.

On the other hand, if your PC was running in the same room as the cooling system and water from the leak dripped onto your PC and damaged it, I suspect that they are not responsible unless the leak was caused through gross negligence (but this is just an opinion).

But in that second case, your home insurance will probably cover the damage to the PC. Not the damage to the water cooler.

Edit: I had got the complete wrong impression what a "water cooler" was - I had thought it was some part of a home cooling system that keeps your home cool in a hot summer :-) Got it now...

Tricky question this. Your water cooler is clearly designed to be put into a computer, and it is quite obvious that a leaking water cooler will inevitably create awful damage to your computer. In other words, this kind of damage when the water cooler is used as intended and breaks is inevitable.

Therefore I would think that a company making such a cooler must take outmost care that it cannot possibly leak. "Not leaking" would be ten times more important than for example "working". Like buying a power supply; the priorities for the maker would be "doesn't kill anyone", "doesn't destroy the computer", "powers the computer", in that order.

I think what happens is outside consumer protection law, but damaging your property through negligence is a tort and they will be liable, because in your case there is a very strong connection between the problem and the inevitability of damage. On the other hand, if you bought a defective vase, and it broke and the water from the vase destroyed your computer, that would much more likely just tough luck (of course they would have to replace the vase).

You probably should first tell the seller and the manufacturer that the computer damage is directly caused by their water cooler, and they should have never sold a water cooler that could leak, and they should pay for the damage. If they refuse to pay up, you'd need to go to small claims court, citizen's advice bureau, or take a lawyer.

  • The computer is custom built, the watercooler is a single unit that fits into the computer to keep it cool. The watercooler is a closed system so it cannot leak, yet it did, and ruined the parts in the computer (it was not operating as it should, even though it was installed correctly/all instructions followed/etc). Unfortunately I'm a student in rented housing without home contents insurance (as it would cost more than I get in a month to pay for it). – Connor Bell Jan 8 '16 at 9:20
  • Thanks for the information, this was pretty much what I wanted to know. They're taking an extremely long time(Compared to what I've experienced before) to respond to the ticket, probably because they're considering their options and bouncing it around. I'll likely update this question with what happened. – Connor Bell Jan 11 '16 at 11:21
  • Just so you know. Most companies have a policies stating they are only liable for the cooler itself, except for corsair. But proving it wasn't installation error. Etc. Is going to be a hard feat. Not to mention if you do manage to take them to court its David vs Golliath. Did anything happen in your case? You said you'd update. – Alex May 1 '17 at 11:14
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Having had a similar problem back when I was living in Spain what I can say is:

If a piece of equipment is faulty you can ask not only a compensation for the equipment itself, but also all the damages it caused. So yes, if the watercooler has broken your motherboard you can get a compensation.

Now, that said, companies will try to make everything possible to blame it on you and not in the equipment. If you installed by yourself they might say that you did something wrong while installing it. They might say that you did a bad usage of it. They might even send a technician to determine the cause of it and definitely will do everything they can to blame it on you.

About regulations as far as I know they are the same in the UK as in Spain, so you can ask for compensation, just good luck dealing with the company.

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