Chris Croft's Personal Blog

July 19, 2012

Just out of guarantee

Filed under: Assertiveness, Customer Care, Selling and Influencing — chriscroft @ 6:26 pm

I sent out a tip about a problem I had with my Sony TV when it went wrong at 13 months and how Sony didn’t appear to care at all.

Here are some of the most useful replies I received:



Reference your problem with Sony.

I had a similar experience with LG. The on/off system collapsed just after the guarantee period.

Richer sounds – where I had bought it – said they could fix it but would charge shedloads. I quoted the Sale of Goods Act 1893 which requires all goods sold to be “of merchantable quality” and claimed that a £750 television which cannot last 14 months could not meet this requirement. I therefore insisted on its full replacement, free repair or a full refund. (I am not a solicitor, but all sorts of generalist law featured in my professional training.) They backed down, (possibly intimidated and fearful that I might actually be a lawyer who might sue them) and carried out a free repair for which they were going to charge over £200.

The moral of the story is that the product guarantee does not replace our legal rights and these can still be enforced.

Onwards and Upwards!


The CD/DVD drive on my Sony laptop packed up after 11 months and 1 week.

They were superb.
Arranged a courier, gave me a log number, I could watch it as it travelled around between their distribution and repair centres in europe and then it’s journey back to me and because I worked 20 miles away from home they did the collection and return from my office.

I got it back as good as new. All Free.


During the first phone call they said if I’d gone past the magic 12 months they charge 20 euros [i don’t know how i would have paid that!] to ‘open a case’ on their repair management system before they would even discuss it with me. Then I’d be into paid repairs.

Although it can take some time and durability on your part your could complain quoting the Sale of Goods act. It often depends on a very arbitrary subjective judgment and the individuals that deal with your case because it makes moral sense to guarantee an item for a reasonable period that you would expect it to be operational for and a TV isn’t designed to work for a year. Would they put that on their ads – “Sony, Good for a Year” ?

For a washing machine with high energy input and lots of moving parts twelve months might be a reasonable guarantee period but a modern TV should last for ‘years’ and a 12 month warranty is nonsense.

I bought my cheap ‘bedroom’ TVs from Tesco for around £100 – no problems with them after two years plus.

My lounge TV I bought from John Lewis where they offer local price matching and a free five year warranty.


Hello Chris

If you want to cause Sony grief, remind them of the two year mandatory warranty within the EU for faults present when the item was delivered.  The presumption is that a failure in two years means it was there when delivered
My favourite company Apple is in trouble over this in Italy.

Could be fun if you have the time to play!



Re the TV – just because its out of guarantee, doesn’t mean that the retailer  is absolved of all responsibility – there is an EU directive and also the sale of Goods Act which gives you rights for anything up to 6 years.  I’ve used the threat of small claims court in the past to “persuade” retailers to be reasonable – remember it’s the retailer, not the manufacturer you have the contractual relationship with….oh, and if you paid by credit card, the card issuer is also jointly responsible for the quality of goods/services supplied, provided they cost more than £100.

Have a look at

Kind regards,



Yup, and how are Sony doing these days? Not so good. Their failure to be even a player in the iPod / iPhone market is one of the most staggering failures by an incumbent in the history of industry. They invented the Walkman, owned “portable music”, had a great brand, made computers, were the world leader in consumer electronics and even owned a huge amount of content via their investment in movie and music studios. In comes a computer maker into their territory, and they miss the boat completely, despite having 100% of the ingredients needed for success. They were out-competed by Creative, a Singapore-based start-up, for Christ’s sake.
I have a theory about the Japanese. They develop a perfect plan on the assumption that everything will go right – and, because the plan is so good, it usually does. It is then a loss of face to develop the plan for what to do when that goes wrong. Response to customer complaints, and development of a Plan B in response to unexpected competition, both fall into this category. They just don’t think about calculated risk very well.

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