My fridge is broken but John Lewis can’t give me a time to fix it

Last May, l bought a fridge from John Lewis. All was well until the seal around the door began to come away.

l now can’t keep food in the fridge as it goes off quickly as there’s a gap around the door.

I have tried to deal with John Lewis who have not been pleasant. They made me an appointment later this month between 6am until 6pm but I am unable to do that as l have cancer and will be having my chemo in the morning.

This has been going on for months now and they can’t guarantee any times for me. What can I do? 

Ms B, London

A John Lewis customer's fridge seal broke, leaving her with food that rots nearly immediately

A John Lewis customer's fridge seal broke, leaving her with food that rots nearly immediately

A John Lewis customer’s fridge seal broke, leaving her with food that rots nearly immediately

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Not only are we in the grips of a pandemic but you are also facing a horrible disease.

Whilst having a faulty fridge is not the worst of your worries, it is certainly causing unnecessary stress. 

Initially, as you say, the fridge was fine but the seal started coming away last December.

As a result, you started eating mainly tinned food as anything that went in the fridge would go off very quickly.

It has now been nearly a year that you have been trying to sort the issue out.  

You called John Lewis at the time but also underwent major surgery then and so were unable to dedicate your time to get hold of them whilst you recovered.

Earlier this year, after finally getting through to someone, you were told the department store would give you £50 as a goodwill gesture for you to buy a small fridge from one of their branches.

Obviously, this was not what you wanted to hear. When you requested someone replace the fridge or fix it, you were told someone could come anytime between 6am and 6pm on certain days.

You said you were unable to commit to that timeframe as you have many hospital appointments for chemotherapy to attend. 

Recovering post-chemo leaves you needing rest so you have been trying to get the firm to agree to a smaller time slot – something that they have repeatedly refused to do for you.  

However, after This is Money got in touch with John Lewis you’ve been told you will get a new fridge installed at a time convenient to you and a Waitrose delivery of food.

John Lewis has apologised to Ms B and said it is replacing her fridge & buying her a food shop

John Lewis has apologised to Ms B and said it is replacing her fridge & buying her a food shop

John Lewis has apologised to Ms B and said it is replacing her fridge & buying her a food shop

A John Lewis spokesperson replies: We are very sorry that the service Ms B received fell short of the high standards we set ourselves and we have called her to apologise.

Ms B will have her current fridge collected and a replacement delivered on 22 October.

We have spoken to Ms B and will call her on the 22 to check everything is okay and to arrange for some Waitrose food to then be delivered to her to fill her new fridge with.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Fortunately, in this situation, the company rectified the issue – albeit months after it initially began.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that someone purchases a pricey item that then falls short of expectation.  

There are steps consumers can take if they have received a faulty product which is defined as something that is not of satisfactory quality, not fit for purpose or not as described.

If what you’ve bought doesn’t live up to the above specifications, then the retailer that sold it to you is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act.

This means that your statutory consumer rights are against the retailer, not the manufacturer.

In the first instance, consumers are advised to write to the customer services department politely and objectively, so you have a written record as evidence. If you are not happy with the response, then you can escalate your complaint.

Quote the relevant laws to the retailer and say whether you want a refund, repair or replacement.

In Ms B’s case, her fridge became faulty 30 days after she bought it, meaning she had to give the retailer an opportunity to repair or replace it before she could claim a refund. 

If it was within the 30 days, she would have had a right to a quick refund.  

If a fault becomes known after six months of purchase, the retailer can make a deduction from any refund for fair use if an attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful.

However, all customers have up to six years to take a claim to the small claims court for faulty goods in England.

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