Stones fallen out of your jewellery? Don't be fobbed off!

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TheManWithNoName

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I've seen comments online (mainly Facebook) where people have complained about stones falling out of jewellery and felt deflated because Gemporia have stated that they can't help after 6 months because the jewellery is "out of warranty".

THIS IS NONSENSE!

Gemporia more than likely say this because the law states that sellers are responsible for items developing a fault within the first 6 months. The burden of proof falls on the retailer. This is what the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says:

"If a product develops a fault within the first six months after purchase, it’s assumed it has been there since the time of purchase. This means it’s up to the retailer to prove it wasn’t there when you bought it."

Basically, its quicker and more cost effective for businesses to just refund you or replace the item within that 6 month period of responsibility rather than trying to prove that the item wasn't faulty.

After 6 months, that burden of proof shifts onto the buyer instead. The retailer no longer has to prove that the defect wasn't there when you bought it - it is up to the buyer to prove that the fault WAS there when they bought it.

Why do retailers say they can't help AFTER 6 months?

a) Possibly because they hope that people don't know their legal rights (sadly, many don't).
b) Possibly because the item was relatively low value, so people aren't going to pay more than the item is worth just to have it independently assessed to see if the problem was down to design fault.
c) Possibly knowing that some people simply can't be bothered to argue it out, or some people don't like confrontation and don't want to argue it out because they're shy, not confident enough or feel that they're making a nuisance of themselves (even though they're only standing up for their rights).
d) Possibly knowing that some people will just be annoyed, but they'll take it on the chin and go away silently, letting the issue drop.

So what does this mean to people that think they're lumbered with a faulty piece of Jewellery that is no longer fit for purpose because a stone has fallen out? Is that Jewellery now useless? Is it true that retailers are no longer responsible for repairing / replacing / refunding that jewellery?

The answer to both is NO! It just means that you may or may not be automatically entitled to repair / replacement / refund.

There are two laws that you can call upon in order to receive a repair, replacement or refund (full or partial) for FREE after 6 months have passed.

The first law is this:

1. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, an item has to be;

  • Fit for purpose: The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.
  • As described: The goods supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
  • Satisfactory quality: Goods shouldn't be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question. For example, bargain-bucket products won’t be held to as high standards as luxury goods.
So, getting a repair, replacement or refund under this law would depend on the value of the item that you bought.

If you bought a £10 ring, and the stone fell out after 6 months, would this law apply? Highly doubtful - because it could be argued that an item of such low value wouldn't be expected to last for longer than 6 months.

However, if you bought an expensive item of jewellery in the hundreds or thousands of pounds (ie, a £3000 Lorique ring), then it would be more than reasonable to expect an item of such value to last for a considerable amount of time (bearing in mind that Gemporia often refer to expensive jewellery as 'heirloom pieces' - therefore implying that the jewellery is designed to last for many years. Six months is not many years).

If a retailer was to refuse to repair or replace that ring, after 6 months but up to a "reasonable" amount of time (ie, a number of years), then you would have a very strong legal case against them on the basis that the goods were not fit for purpose (because the stone fell out prematurely) and / or not of satisfactory quality (a stone should not fall out without good reason - therefore, were the prongs strong enough? Was the stone cut slightly too large, to the point where didn't fit into the gap it was designed to fit into fully?).

Stand your ground and argue your case out on those grounds. If you still get nowhere, the Small Claims Court is the appropriate next step. It is relatively inexpensive to start Small Claims action, and if you win your case, you are entitled to get the court fee back anyway.

2. The second law is a not-so-well known law that the EU commission introduced a few years ago (this has since transferred over to UK law since Brexit).

After 6 months, up to a period of 6 years (5 years in Scotland), you have the right to a repair, replacement or partial refund of a faulty item - providing that you can provide proof that the item was 'inherently faulty' when you bought it.

This is were some people struggle and the reason why they do not pursue a repair, replacement or partial refund after 6 months - they think that they cannot prove that the item was faulty. However, you can - quite easily.

If you are confident that a stone came out through no fault of your own (ie, you know that you haven't knocked the item or haven't accidentally moved a prong when you cleaned the item), you can take your jewellery to an independent jeweller and ask them to inspect the ring and offer their professional opinion on whether the jewellery had a design flaw. They will charge a nominal fee for an independent report - but they will detail any design flaws that they spot which could have resulted in a stone falling out (ie, they could say that the prongs were too weak, there was not enough prongs to hold a sizeable stone or the stone was cut slightly too big to sit into the setting properly, etc).

That report will provide you with the proof that you need, in order to demonstrate in law, that the jewellery was 'inherently faulty' and out of your control. You can then show a copy to the retailer - and they must offer you either a repair, replacement or partial refund of the item. If they refuse, you can make a claim via the Small Claims Court because you have the evidence, that meets the legal requirement, that proves that the item had a design fault. If a partial refund is offered, then it has to be 'fair and reasonable' based on how long the item would be expected to last and how long you have already owned it.

For example, if you had an item that cost you £300, and it is agreed that the item would be expected to last 5 years, but the stone fell out after two-and-a-half years, then a partial refund of £150 would be 'fair and reasonable'. A 50% refund to reflect you being able to wear it for 50% of its expected lifespan before the stone fell out.

In the event that a refund amount cannot be agreed between both parties, you have the option to take it to the Small Claims Court for them to decide what a fair refund amount would be.

You are also entitled to a refund of the independent assessment report fee from the retailer (unless the report indicates that there was not a design fault - and the stone fell out as a result of you knocking it or something else you did).

These rights apply to anything you buy, from any retailer. So always keep them in mind. I used it a few years ago to get a replacement TV. The TV had a 2 year warranty, but the screen developed a fault after 3 years. I was expecting the retailer to offer a partial refund based on us using it for 3 years before the fault, but in fairness to them, they were really good - and they gave us a brand new replacement TV, free of charge.

If you want more info, make a note of these links:


 
Good info as ever

I have just been refused a chargeback through my bank for an office chair which has developed a fault after 2 months since purchase date.

The company offered neither a refund, repair, or replacement stating "comfort is optional" :)

The bank is requiring an independent expert report on the chair before being willing to help me, chair was £300 odd quid.

A report in this instance is going to be at least £100, sorry this is a bit off-topic
 
Good info as ever

I have just been refused a chargeback through my bank for an office chair which has developed a fault after 2 months since purchase date.

The company offered neither a refund, repair, or replacement stating "comfort is optional" :)

The bank is requiring an independent expert report on the chair before being willing to help me, chair was £300 odd quid.

A report in this instance is going to be at least £100, sorry this is a bit off-topic
Where will you start? This sounds expensive to me will you be able to claim the report cost back?
 
I am not sure tbh Rubia

The problem with it is if I pay for the report I presume the retailer then cover that cost as well

Bit undecided at the moment with it all
 

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