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Buy a faulty product. Can retailer force you to take a refurbished replacement?

  • 17-09-2022 5:26pm
    Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭

    Hypothetical question as I believe legal advice on real cases might be forbidden.

    Bought a Google Nest Cam Floodlight from Irish Google online store. It arrived 2nd August and I had it installed a few days later. Three days after this the battery on the camera died. It turns out that the floodlight wasn't charging it. Got on to customer service. It took a month to get a replacement dispatched. Each time I received an email I responded immediately but Google support took several days to reply on their end. So a month after I notified them of the faulty product the dispatch a replacement. To my shock they dispatched a refurbished replacement. Back onto customer support several times only to be told that I will NOT get a new device. It must be a refurbished one. One live chat literally shut down the chat and wouldn’t entertain the idea of a new replacement. They seem to have the exact same statement that they copy and paste about refurbished replacement.

    My question is do I have to accept a refurbished one? My original one was faulty when delivered to me. I would understand refurbished if it became faulty after a few months. I have never had in my possession a fully functioning "new product". I bought a "new model". I'd imagine had I bought a refurbished one I would have gotten it cheaper that a non refurbished brand new one.

    Before I go down the long & winding road that is the small claims court I am looking for opinions (or better still facts) on where I stand. Can they force a refurbished replacement when the new one was faulty out of the box?

    The killer for me is that I notified them of the fault within 14 days of receiving it. Had I thought they would force refurbished on me I would have returned it under the 14 day cooling off period. Though I suppose I'd have to pay €20 for registered delivery out of my own pocket.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated

    Edit: had I bought from a bricks and mortar shop they would have handed out a brand new one & not a refurbished one


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,225 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    What do you mean by 'Irish Google online store'?

    It would seem strange that they would force a refurb on you. How do you know that it is refurbished?

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Each country has their own Google store online. This would mean that my contract is with Google Commerce Limited in Dublin 4. The big advantage for me is because they are based in Dublin then it's the Dublin small Claims court that handles it. If the Google office was Galway then I'd have to travel to Galway to go to their local small claims court.

    I know its refurbished because they told me that it is refurbished. It would be illegal to sell someone a refurbished product and imply that it is a new product. I assume the same follows replacements. I have an email telling me that they dispatched a refurbished product "Your replacement Nest Cam with floodlight (wired) (Refurbished) was dispatched on 13 September 2022 via ECX1." I have been onto three different support chats & they each copy & paste this "We have a finite number of new devices manufactured, but we can assure our replacement devices undergo a comprehensive process to ensure the highest standard of quality before they are shipped. So they are saying that their replacement devices undergo a comprehensive process to ensure the highest standard of quality. The same quality process that my faulty product originally passed. This doesn't reassure me too much tbh 😀

    They are making no secret that it is refurbished. My question to anyone that might be in the know is can they insist on a refurbished product when the original one didn't developed a fault over time but was in fact sold & delivered faulty. An item I have never been able to use as a new goods?.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,398 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    Give the usual remedy under the sale of goods act is Repair, Replace or refund and that the choice of remedy is at the choice of the vendor?

    I see nothing in legislation that prevents a vendor from supplying a refurbished product as long as it is in "as-new" condition in lieu of a repair.

    Given that the vendor can quite legitimately repair your current item and return it you? And incur a period of time where you have no item, whilst it is away? I don't see where you can reasonably claim that a refurbished exchange item places you at a disadvantage versus a repaired item.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    I bought my product 29th July, received it 2nd August, reported it faulty as soon as installed & a replacement was delivered 15th September. I had no working floodlight camera for the first 7 weeks. I do believe I am at a disadvantage here

    Edit: Am I not entitled to even one day of a working "new" product? I mean why wouldn't I just buy a refurbished one in the first place for a lower price

    Don't I have a right to a refund?

    Again I stress, this was faulty when sold to me. It didn't develop a fault at a later stage

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,398 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    You missed the 14 day return window, that is included in distance selling regs precisely to allow inspection and acceptance of goods.

    Your missing that window isn't an error or omission on the part of Google. They have made IMO a reasonable effort to remedy the situation. If you believe they haven't? You will need to establish in SOGA where they have failed in their obligation and also why their proposed remedy is at odds with the legislation.

    If you do take an SCC case? Can I ask that you update the thread? Not as a smart arsed or sarcastic pop on my part, but as genuine curiousity.

    If Google do offer you a "new" replacement it would be solelyas a GWG and not due to any SOGA obligation on their part. And as such if you take an action that results in the SCC directing a new exchange, I'd appreciate reading it.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    I notified them within the 14 days that it was faulty and I wanted a replacement. It took another month of poor customer support to get my replacement to me. I believe I notified them on the 12th day. The first I heard about refurbished was after another 5 or 6 weeks after that

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,398 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    Did you notify them of an issue, or did you refuse to accept the product and arrange a return?

    They are both very different things. Notification of an issue rather than initiating a return under distance selling regs,implies acceptance of the item as you didn't return it via distance selling regs.

    The customer service issue and delay in that part? Well that is what I'd aim to push back on Google with. Poor customer experience and a lack of confidence in any replacement item given your experience to date.

    You are being dealt with albeit in an apparently tardy manner, in accordance with SOGA. As such you have no immediate right to a refund.

    Had you returned the camera within 14days you would be dealing with your right to a refund under the distance selling regulations. You may want to push back with Google that, that is what you had intended to do. That may bear fruit for you, if you can make clear that when you contacted them it was to initiate a return for refund as the goods provided were faulty from the outset.

    However, even at that as you elected to await a replacement? It would rely on a GWG from Google.

    Within the SOGA legislation, they have offered an appropriate remedy and you will need to demonstrate to the SCC that either the remedy is at odds with the SOGA legislation or that the remedy as offered leaves you at a disadvantage versus Google just repairing your existing camera.

    Don't fall into the trap of mixing your right to return an item within 14days under distance selling regs with your rights and Google's obligations under SOGA.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    18 Sept, 05:37 (Pacific Time)
    05:37:54 Sleeper12 joined the conversation
    05:37:55 Ricky: Ricky joined the conversation
    05:37:57 Ricky: Hi! Welcome to Camera support. My name is Ricky. For future reference, your case ID is *****. How are you today?
    05:38:19 Sleeper12: Hi Ricky
    05:38:31 Ricky: Sleeper12! I hope you're doing well today. 
    05:38:53 Ricky: I understand that you'd like to return your Google Nest Cam with floodlight that you received 3 days ago, is that correct? 
    05:39:07 Sleeper12: Yes please SN ****
    05:39:53 Ricky: I apologize for the inconvenience. Let me help you with this, Sleeper12. 
    05:40:02 Sleeper12: Great thanks
    05:40:03 Ricky: Is the email address **** the same email address associated with your Nest account? 
    05:40:09 Sleeper12: yes
    05:40:28 Ricky: Did you purchase the camera directly from the Google Store? 
    05:40:36 Sleeper12: Yes I did
    05:41:47 Ricky: From the serial number you provided, I can see that this camera is a replacement. May I know why you want to return the camera? 
    05:43:29 Sleeper12: My original camera never worked so I didn't get to inspect a working model. This is the first working model I have received form Google so my 14 days cooling off period started last Wednesday
    05:45:05 Sleeper12: Also this is a refurbished camera. I don't purchase refurbished goods. It wasn't sold to me as a refurbished camera. It was sold as a new camera
    05:46:49 Ricky: I apologize for the inconvenience, Sleeper12. 
    05:47:05 Sleeper12: That's ok. it's not your fault
    05:48:44 Ricky: I understand that you don't prefer getting a refurbish as a replacement. I'd like to inform you that we have a finite number of new devices manufactured, but we can assure our replacement devices undergo a comprehensive process to ensure the highest standard of quality before they are shipped. 
    05:48:47 Ricky: Google Store return policy is only applicable for the original camera you ordered which was on the 29th of July, and the standard return policy is 15 days from the original purchase date. 
    05:49:16 Ricky: Let me check with my team about other options. 
    05:49:18 Ricky: Bear with me. 
    05:51:44 Sleeper12: EU law allows 14 days cooling off period from the date of receiving a working product. I’m returning it under EU & Irish law rather than under Google return policy. Respectfully Google return policy isn’t my concern.   The first working model I received was last Wednesday. Obviously I couldn't try & inspect the original model as It never worked. I will accept a refund If you can't issue a new model
    05:53:21 Sleeper12: Even with the original model, I did notify Google within the 14 days cooling off period that I didn't want a broken model.
    05:53:55 Sleeper12: It took almost a month to get a replacement issued
    05:55:31 Sleeper12: The customer support didn't give me an option to return it within Google 15 days even though they knew I wanted to return it after 12 days
    05:56:31 Ricky: Thanks for waiting, Sleeper12. 
    05:57:01 Ricky: Did you already return the original camera? 
    05:57:07 Sleeper12: No Problem
    05:57:14 Sleeper12: yes
    05:57:30 Ricky: Thanks for confirming. 
    05:57:41 Ricky: I've coordinated with my team about your request. 
    05:57:56 Sleeper12: great
    05:59:07 Ricky: We'd like you to return the replacement camera along with its accessories (whole unit) using the same shipping labels you used to return the original camera. Once we received your replacement, you can contact us back and we'll proceed with processing your refund. You can then order a new Camera from the Google Store
    06:00:24 Sleeper12: That sounds good. 
    06:01:24 Sleeper12: Can you please email me the shipping labels again in case I dont have them on file
    06:02:28 Ricky: Sure thing! Let me try to regenerate the shipping labels. 
    06:04:36 Sleeper12: You have been very helpfull. One of your colleagues cut off live chat on Wednesday when I had the exact same request. They were very rude. Would you have a link where I can report them? They didn’t leave a link to rate the live chat funny enough
    06:06:49 Ricky: I'm afraid we don't have a link to file a report. What I can do instead is note the incident so that we can take appropriate action to the representative.
    06:07:47 Ricky: I'm working on trying to regenerate the shipping labels and to confirm. Your replacement option for the original camera was the standard exchange where in you return the original camera first then we ship you the replacement, is that correct? 
    06:08:35 Sleeper12: Thank you. I would hate for more clients to be given out incorrect information & have conversation cut off rather than he check if he is actually right or not
    06:09:02 Sleeper12: Yes
    06:09:52 Ricky: Thanks for sharing. We take your feedback very seriously, Sleeper12. 
    06:10:08 Sleeper12: Thank you Ricky
    06:11:45 Ricky: I'm afraid that since we already received your original camera. I can't regenerate the shipping labels to resend the email to you. Please try to check your inbox. I can see that the email is from Google Store and it was sent around the 7th of Sept. It was sent to your email **** and the subject is "Action required: Send your device to get a replacement." 
    06:13:30 Sleeper12: Found it . Thanks
    06:14:37 Ricky: Great! I've also noted on your account to continue with your refund once we receive the replacement back using the same shipping labels. You can use this case number as your reference: ****
    06:16:26 Sleeper12: Thank you Rickey for taking the time & really listening to me. Your colleagues on two separate chats would only copy & paste from a script & insist they were correct. You took the time to really look into the details.
    06:16:56 Sleeper12: I truly mean it when I say thank you very much Ricky
    06:17:21 Ricky: You're very much welcome, Sleeper12. I'm glad that I was able to address your concern today. 
    06:17:22 Ricky: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
    06:18:04 Sleeper12: No Ricky. You have made me a happy man today. Thank you & I hope your day goes well
    06:18:12 Ricky: There’s a short survey coming up. Google Nest would appreciate your feedback about your experience today. Thanks for contacting Google Nest. Have a great day!
    06:18:14 Ricky: Ricky left the conversation

    Seems to be resolved at last.

    Thanks for opinions & feedback guys

  • Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 19,091 Mod ✭✭✭✭byte

    A proper result in the end. It sometimes pays to persevere!

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,922 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    What has the distance selling period got to do with a faulty item?

    If the item has a major fault when it arrives, the consumer is entitled to a replacement the same as what was bought, in this case a brand new, unused cam. The op did not buy a used/refurbished cam.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Distance selling gives you 14 days to change your mind. Doesn't matter if the item is faulty or perfect working condition. You have a right to return the item for a refund within the 14 days.

    A faulty item can be repaired rather than replaced. It is easier to avail of the 14 days distance selling than having the item repaired or a refurbished item forced upon you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,922 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    I agree, sorry, ninja edit, I added to my post.

    The other poster seemed to be saying you were out of luck because you didn’t return it within 14 days. If a fault occurs in the first 6 months, it is accepted that it was there when you bought it so you are entitled to a new cam, same as what you bought.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Refurbished cam rather than a new cam but yes

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,847 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Just to update this thread:

    I followed the instructions Google gave me about tracking number and contacting their delivery agent etc. UPS collected it and it arrived in Germany the following day. From here the tracking details never updated. Google continued to issue me with new tracking number for me to return the item even though I already returned it. Their delivery company has lost the item it seems. To this day it doesn't seem to have been delivered anywhere

    In the end I opened a PayPal dispute. I took great pleasure uploading Google Nest doorbell video and audio footage of the floodlight being collected. Rather than telling PayPal they messed up Google fought it tooth and nail. The dispute was awarded to me. An hour after PayPal notified me that I had won & they would refund the money within 5 days, Google support sent me an email saying that they were issuing a refund & to expect it within 14 days. I'm shocked that they tried to make out that the refund was them issuing the refund as they had originally promised 6 weeks ago. Absolutely no mention of the PayPal dispute that they fought to win and no apology at all.

    I'm very disappointed with Google support. I have heavily bought into their ecosystem over the years and really expected more from them. I can safely say that its the worst customer support experience I've ever seen. It's dragged on for over 3 months and in the end it took PayPal to come to the rescue.

    Despite our wonderful distance laws there is a lot to be said about dealing with a company that you can visit and refuse to leave the premises until they resolve the issue. It's draining dealing with people whose first language isn't English, have to read from a script and probably have never even seen in real life the item they are talking about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 955 ✭✭✭Poncke

    Global company avoiding to accept blame shocker. Why would Google admit they are wrong? They just refund and do not accept any blame. Thats pretty much standard practice. Never admit fault as it can always be used against you.