Friday, December 30, 2011

Dick Smith and the CGA

So, my Freeview receiver died over Xmas. First the picture disappeared, then the sound went too. It's a  Dick Smith-branded Freeview box, model G7503. It's about two years old.

I went to Dick Smiths Wyndham St on Thurs 29 Dec 2011, and talked with a staff member and explained issue with device, I had tested the leads, and cable, all of which worked fine on other devices.

He asked if I had bought extended warranty. I said no, He said then they weren't able to do anything to help. I asked about their obligations under Consumer Guarantees Act, and was it reasonable to expect this device to only last two years, as I didn't think so, and he referred me to their head office, saying they would be available as it was a usual work day. I called the number he suggested, no answer. I called the 0800 number on Dick Smith website, no answer for their repairs/technical dept either.

I did some research online, tried asking for advice on Twitter and Facebook. I also posted on Dick Smith's Facebook page about this. There has been no response via Twitter or Facebook from Dicks Smith, although their staff are posting to their FB page over the xmas holidays  - on Dec 26 and Dec 28.

Hadyn Green of Consumer NZ told me via Twitter that he thought it was a simple CGA claim. I also looked up the CGA on Consumer NZ's site, which has some very helpful information. Basically, the device should be fit for the intended purpose, for the expected life of the device and is covered under the CGA warranty. I did not expect this Freeview box to only last two years.

I posted a question about the boxes on Geekzone, and discovered this was a common problem with this model of Freeview box, at the two year mark. A number of folk with this problem had returned them to Dick Smith and had them replaced under the CGA.

Today (Dec 30) I went back to Dick Smith, this time to their Queen St store. The first staff member I talked to listened and looked at me blankly, pointed at another staff member and wandered off to get them.

I eventually got to talk to Ben, who did know what the CGA was, and listened to my issue and agreed to send it off for assessment. He took my details and logged the issue and said it would take 14 working days, or probably longer due to the xmas holidays. So I will probably hear back from Dick Smith in late January. Wish me luck.

I will also try and find out if Dick Smith train their shop staff on the CGA. Because, based on the staff I've dealt with, they clearly do not. I've also heard a variety on anecdotal experiences that suggest many retailers try and dodge their CGA obligations.

ADDED... I got this message via Facebook from a former co-worker, who is a tech journalist and ex editor of NZ PC World... "Had a similar experience at Harvey Norman. Was buying something and the sales guy asked us to buy an extended warranty. We said no, it was covered by the CGA. He said yeah, but we'd have to take them to court to get them to honour it."

ADDED heard this about Dick Smith via someone on Twitter... "I had a big dude called Ali at Newmarket [Dick Smith] go all MMA [mixed martial arts] and try to smash me when trying to return a MP3 player lol...Took Customer Service to a new and scary level!!! He was a pretty big dude as well. My advice.. duck and weave!!"

Glad the guy I spoke to at DS Queen St this morning didn' t take that approach. And that he knew what the CGA was.

UPDATED 5 Jan 2012: When I went to Dick Smith Queen St on Dec 30, they told me they would send it off for assessment and that would take up to 14 working days, plus more for the xmas break. So I wasn't expecting a response til late January.

However, I got a phone call from Ben at DS Queen St today, and they had decided to replace it, after assessing it. They gave me a new Freeview box (at no cost to me), a Sommet SHDNZ3. So, hopefully it goes.

Dick Smith replied to my Facebook message yesterday, asking if the issue had been resolved. I said no, and detailed what had happened with Ben at their DS Queen St. I also asked if they provide training to their staff on the CGA

They replied today, saying "We certainly do give training in regards to our obligations under the CGA. Unfortunately in this case it seems our staff member did not follow the correct procedure. It is great to see Ben at our Queen St store followed the correct procedure. As you would know we are entitled to access the product before making the decision to replace/refund etc. Ben would have contacted you by now to let you know that we have accessed the product and will be replacing it for you."

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