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Rights of a consumer when dealing with faulty goods in Poland?

InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
18 Jul 2012 #1
If this has already been covered, the link would be appreciated.

In a nutshell:

Bought an electronic item from well-known chain here in Poland. It went wrong in 5 days. Shop said they would send it for repair, gave me the paperwork, said it would be back in 2 weeks.

Nothing heard from them,

I contacted the manufacturer - they checked and said they have not received the item from the shop.

What course of action should I take? (The shop say they cannot verify anything at the moment and are awaiting a call back from the manufacturer's repair dept.)
Avalon 4 | 1,068
18 Jul 2012 #2
Is the item battery powered or plug in?
Wroclaw Boy
18 Jul 2012 #3
What course of action should I take?

Pratice patients i should think.
pip 10 | 1,659
18 Jul 2012 #4
this happened to us before. i don't understand why all electrical in this flipping country breaks down. do we get grade b electronics? anyway. do you speak Polish? this would be helpful- but throwing English around may work too. But that said, they are pretty useless and will probably shift the blame. we had something take 3 months. it was pathetic.

i would simply call them or visit them regularly until they figure out that you are serious. in our situation my husband gave them a blast- it didn't do anything.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
18 Jul 2012 #5
Is the item battery powered or plug in?

Battery and/or mains recharge.

Pratice patients i should think.

Looks that way so far.

i would simply call them or visit them regularly until they figure out that you are serious. in our situation my husband gave them a blast- it didn't do anything.

I visited them - they have told me the item is not lost, it was just delayed in getting to the service people for reasons unknown. However, the service people say they haven't got it and never received it. The shop says the computer states they do have it. But that's unlikely, because the manufacturer and service department are two separate organisations. At best, it looks like the service department for the shop have it and are yet to send it to the manufacturer's service department. At worst , it looks like two weeks down the drain waiting and the item is simply lost somewhere but the shop are saying otherwise while they try to find it. The shop just told me to call their 801 number (not sure if that's free or a special call charge rate) and enquire there as they "cannot help me as they are just the shop". If the item ever turns up repaired, it is there that I have to go to collect it.

The current advice from them is basically "Tough, whoever told you two weeks was lying, and it will be another one or two weeks until it is repaired. It is not lost though, don't worry."

Two shop assistants who speak English told me they think I should have received a new one and not had to wait for this one to be repaired, because it was just a few days old when the faults were discovered. But the manager did not agree and insists I wait for a repair. I would not be surprised that when it comes back in maybe 2 weeks or 2 months it will still have at least one of the three faults and will spend its life going back and forth to the service/repair there.

I now know of at least two national chains where not to shop in Poland for anything electrical.

I do however recommend Auchan, and now wish I had purchased the item there (they were not selling it then, but they are now.)
jon357 72 | 21,047
18 Jul 2012 #6
Out of interest, which chain is it?

Neither Media Saturn or Euro RTV have good reputations.
Avalon 4 | 1,068
18 Jul 2012 #7
Shoppers with faulty goods are being routinely denied repairs or replacements because they are not told about their rights under a guarantee scheme.

EU law creates a minimum period of two years in which a faulty product can be returned, and in England and Wales the figure is six years.

But many High Street stores are denying customers these rights, either because the staff don't know the law or because they think they can get away with it.

Generally, retailers hide behind the offer of a standard one-year guarantee and refuse to do anything when this lapses. Consumer experts say this means they are failing to abide by the law.

Most shoppers are in the dark about their rights and often simply throw out a faulty product.

They have 14 days to repair, failing which they must replace or give you a full refund.

Directive 1999/44/EC, May 1999
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
18 Jul 2012 #8
They couldn't give a monkey's!

I believe it to be the case that Poland are not opted in to that EU directive thing - or so I was told by a Pole last year I think it was.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,430
18 Jul 2012 #9
Nope, Poland is part of it - the recent increase to 2 years warranty was part of that directive.

Anyway - if you don't get any satisfaction - is your friend. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the judgement to come through - and doesn't require much effort on your part (except getting a Polish speaker to write it).

What you have to do is send them a letter by registered post demanding the repair to be completed. If they don't respond within 7 days, send a second letter (and make sure you keep the proof of postage for both letters). After 7 working days, you're free to go straight to the court - and it will be a formality. Once you get the judgement, it's pretty straightforward - you appoint a bailiff, and they'll sort it all out for you.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
18 Jul 2012 #10
Thank you, much appreciated.

I have just been on the blower to a nice chap at the shop's HQ and he said, and you'll love this: "The 14 days only counts from when the manufacturer receives the item for service, not when we traffic [their word] the item to them. The warranty card will say how many days from when the courier collects the item is the limit before the 14 days starts."

The manufacturer has just again emailed me to say they haven't got the item from the shop, and what's the "waybill" number of the parcel with my item. The shop say the manufacturer's courier took ithe item from their warehouse yesterday.

So - forget all about the 14 days in any meaningful sense - their apparent get out of jail card for the retailer is that the 14 days only starts from when the manufacturer/repairer receives the item and acknowledges same. In other words, the manufacturer and/or a shop can together (razem!) be economical with the truth regarding any dates given in order that they keep within the rules.

Apparently it's all in the small print that it's not the date you hand the item back to the shop for repair, but the date Mr Repairman lays hands on your item, that begins the 14 days. It also sounds like the 14 days does not include transit time in returning the item to you.

Of course, because I don't speak more than the odd disjointed word of Polish and the retailer hotline chap spoke good but not perfect English, I could have got this all wrong. But I did summarise it and repeat it back to him, and didn't sound like I've misunderstood their position. Whether that position is strictly to the letter of the directive I am not qualified to know or say, but I can say "14 days"?? LMAO.

I am going to recommend Auchan again or Simply, their local supermarkets chain.

Bought a kettle - sealed in a box with factory cellophane. As I opened the box, the kettle lid popped up and would not close again. The lugs were not working.

Took it back to Simply a couple of hours after purchase, and found a staff member on the shop floor - a smiley-type, courteous person who didn't speak any English but saw the problem and exchanged the kettle for me in seconds. She then opened the replacement box to make sure the replacement one was OK. I speak barely a word of Polish and the lady in Simply spoke no English and yet it was all sorted inside of about 3 minutes.

Contrast that to a certain other supermarket chain where you queue for ages and customer service are then quite awkward, even rude or sarcastic sometimes.

Contrast that to the electrical chain in the above OP, where it was only the manufacturer of the item i bought that showed any courtesy, emailing me to say they have now found the item but unfortunately no word on when it will be repaired or replaced,

If I buy anything else and certainly any big ticket item, I will know where to buy it from and where to avoid, based on my own experiences here.
pip 10 | 1,659
20 Jul 2012 #11
that is good information. I have had so many things break down within the first month it is stupid. and then dealing with the store- luckily I am married to a Pole who does not take no for an answer.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
20 Jul 2012 #12
Well, I don't know what they're like in Warsaw, but here in Wroc these are my experiences :o)
Avalon 4 | 1,068
20 Jul 2012 #13
Of course, because I don't speak more than the odd disjointed word of Polish and the retailer hotline chap spoke good but not perfect English, I could have got this all wrong.

You could always go to the EU website and print off the directive in Polish, then be assertive when you present this at the counter.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
20 Jul 2012 #14
Good idea, I'll try to find the link and print it off. Although it was probably just his limited English rather than willful rudeness (and of course I know I should speak Polish if I am here in Poland) the manager of the electrical chain said to me "No, I am not going to help you more with this, you must wait for service" when I asked him to please call the manufacturer for confirmation that the item was missing in transit. Thankfully, the manufacturer's agent in Warsaw then found the item after email ping-pong with me. However - in England the unit would have been swapped over if returned so quickly, almost certainly. Instead I have the inconvenience of not having what I paid for, for an extended period now. And. to make matters worse, a superior model is now available at a different retailer for 10% less.
eberhart 13 | 120
20 Jul 2012 #15
I have had this happen multiple times. CarreFour lost a router I bought and after a month with no clue where it was they gave me credit for a new one after I argued for about an hour...I think he honestly wanted me to just say "oh ok" and leave with nothing. iSpot (Apple shop) sold me a faulty from the box hard drive and wouldn't take it back after 2 hours...said I had to send it to service. I ended up getting it handled through the manufacturer directly and swore to never shop in an iSpot again. They said "we just sell them" and acted like they had no responsibility at all as a retailer. It's criminal.

Things don't break more's just that in most developed nations shops replace things that are bad within a reasonable time frame. Here everything "goes to service" even if you bought it and opened it right then to find it not working. Polish customer service is horrid by any standard and it rooted in the cultural behavior of not taking responsibility or admitting fault.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
20 Jul 2012 #16
They said "we just sell them" and acted like they had no responsibility at all as a retailer. It's criminal.

Yes, the electrical chain manager said something pretty much like that. They used to say that in the UK, too, but these days people know their rights there.

rooted in the cultural behavior of not taking responsibility or admitting fault.

Oh boy have I noticed that since I've been here, it really does seem to be far more common than in the UK.
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,024
20 Jul 2012 #17
My orange mobile phone has just stopped allowing me to send texts or read what is in the texts that are sent to me. I called orange today but was on hold for so long I hung up. I'll try again tomorrow when I get free calls.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
20 Jul 2012 #18
You might have used up all your text message storage space. Try deleting some messages and see if things start to work again. Or it could be the message centre network access number has become corrupted and needs to be reconfigured.
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,024
20 Jul 2012 #19
Yes that could be it since it says message corrupt whenever a text message arrives? What has to be done?
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
21 Jul 2012 #20
If you have space for messages and it is still not working, Orange may try sending you a message to reconfigure your phone - if it can get through, They will advise further or ask for the phone to be returned for repair which may or may not be chargeable - check before you send the phone.

The faulty product was given back to the shop for "service" (serwis) over 4 weeks ago.

The manufacturer said they received the item in mid July.

No one has contacted me and the item is either still with the manufacturer's repair department or in transit.

So much for the 14 days rule !

Will avoid that shop for any future purchases, they suck big time.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,430
2 Aug 2012 #21
The faulty product was given back to the shop for "service" (serwis) over 4 weeks ago.

What to do is simple - write a letter to the shop and post it by registered delivery, informing them that you want it back or the money back and they've got 14 days from the date of postage. After 14 days, if you don't get a result - write another one, giving them 7 days. After both letters go unanswered (as they will) - go straight here - - and file a case. They're normally resolved within 3-4 weeks and don't require you to actually attend court.

You can also deal with it via -
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
2 Aug 2012 #22
Thanks for your advice, D.

I don't have the knowledge or energy to get all that sorted, but I do appreciate your advice. I have learnt my lesson not to shop there again for anything more expensive than an AA battery. Their name suggests they have branches across Europe, frankly I don't why anyone would shop there on this example of their customer care, perhaps it's just Poland where there's a shortage of such retailers.

The manufacturer has just emailed after I queried things - it has been repaired and is awaiting transit back to the shop "in a few days".

Be interesting to see if the unit comes back either not fully repaired or the problems return soon enough and with the accessory repaired or exchanged that was also faulty. If not, the unit will then need to be returned again. Rinse and repeat until the end of the warranty.
Buggsy 8 | 98
2 Aug 2012 #23
Bought an electronic item from well-known chain here in Poland

I guess after seeing one of them deceiving adverts or flyers stuffed in the letter box where they all claim 0% interest on installments, items being reduced from a price

that never was, promising up to 40% savings and a small print u can't read. Guess when u understand where they get the ideas from you'll never fall for such cliches.

I don't know if I am allowed to name and shame on our forum. After wanting to replace some of our old electric home appliances a few years ago and failing to get a clear

explanation for the 2 year warranty from most of the famous high street electric shops we decided not to purchase from them.
The same shop with 5 outlets in town had different interpretations as to how they handle faulty goods.
I dug deeper and later found out that they are all franchises and the way they are run is quite shocking to say the least.

Consumers' rights in such franchises are almost nonexistent. They are all busy trying to make as much as they can.
It's better to buy from local recommended electric shops and speak to the owner before u purchase what u want than to swallow the bait.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
2 Aug 2012 #24
I dug deeper and later found out that they are all franchises

They're franchises are they - I think one of the big supermarkets here is also a franchise and that IS why their customer care varies so much. Thanks for pointing that out.
2 Aug 2012 #25
I have learnt my lesson not to shop there again for anything more expensive than an AA battery.

After buying a fridge which was sold as "a very quiet model" and finding out that it was louder than the ten-year old fridge it was replacing, I now go to Saturn to look at things, get a salesman to talk me through the pros and cons of whatever I'm after and then tell them that I'll be buying it online because I never buy anything at Saturn after they ripped me off once.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
2 Aug 2012 #26
:o)) I shall do the same although it wasn't Saturn unless they are the same co as the franchise I bought from. But I now have no intention of going anywhere in future except Auchan (great service so far) and online, as you have.

When it comes to fridge freezers, I used to have a huge Daewoo fridge with dual coolers or something, Nothing ever seemed to go off in it - even milk well past the use by etc etc. Best fridge I ever had. Had to sell it as it was too huge to move to my flat, Only thing that ever went wrong with it was the chilled water dispenser button broke but they sent the part by post and I fitted it myself.

And still they have not returned the repaired item to me.

What is it now, 6 weeks, I think.

14 days LOL

The manufacturer/repair dept told me a week ago that they still had the item waiting for shipment back, but when I went to the shop today on spec (speculatively) I found that the item was back from the repairers apparently 2 weeks ago.

The shop were supposed to SMS me to say that the item was back, They never did.

Unfortunately, the item is not properly repaired - as I expected.

The shop advise with a shrug that all they can do is send it away for another repair for another 4 or 5 weeks.

I tried to call the shop's HQ on their 801 number - I got cut off each time when I asked if someone speaks English. One chap said "I will put you to someobody who speaks English very good " - I then got the disconnection bleeps.

The shop manager was polite and pleasant but said all he can do is send it again for repair.

He also told me they are NOT a franchise, and all 5 branches here are owned by the HQ.

If you plan on buying electricals or electronics in Poland - ask yourself whether these chains are any good. You might well be better off with a small, independent store, internet shop, or department store or supermarket's electrical department such as Auchan's.

Website with ratings and views on a range of retailers in Poland - might be wise to consult it pre-purchase?
polishmama 3 | 279
22 Aug 2012 #27
Prime example of what Romney was touting about Poland, an unregulated business sector which held prime examples of Capitalism under Republican rule. "It broke on you? Tough. Run around in a circle then buy a new one, you should have done your research ahead of time." I love Poland, I really truly love it, but it is a peeve of mine as well about this particular issue there.

I remember buying a purse a couple of years ago in Wroclaw's mall, taking it home and the zipper breaking. I went to the store the next day with my receipt and getting such a hard time from the staff at the store that I was frankly beyond shocked. I was told that without a receipt, which I held in my hand, I could do nothing. Then, they looked at the receipt and said "You must have bought this at least a month ago so we can't do anything" and when I said to look at the receipt again and that I specifically recalled her face ringing me up at the register the day prior, she said that she didn't remember me and the receipt was a fake. I stood there for a full minute ignored until I got loud and embarrassing (for both myself and her) until they let me get another purse, but stressed that it had to be the same exact one in the same style, color, everything, and if I couldn't find another there, there was nothing they could do.

But, oh yes, let's vote in Romney and deregulate here in the USA, it'll be good for... the megawealthy. All I can tell you, OP, is good luck. You will probably need to buy a new one. And prepare for the same sort of thing happening in the USA, which has already started (try calling a cable, telephone, internet, and cell phone service provider when their service is not working and let me know how long you talked on the phone and how stupid they made you feel for calling because their service was acting up after paying over $500/mo with them for a full bundle service.).
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
22 Aug 2012 #28
Interesting to read that, Polishmama. There are some places here in Poland that respect customers and are not embarrassing shysters. IO just have to learn to not deviate and buy elsewhere.

Sorry you had that experience with your purse - yes it does seem like some store staff are trained or instructed to give customers a hard time. I have seen others suffering similarly here. I only buy from certain shops now if it's a costly purchase.

Probably most of the traders at the Sunday market at the old railway station behave better than some of the stores here - I bought an electrical item from a secondhand stall at that market and when it didn't work properly the stallholder returned my money calmly, with a smile and with no hassle at all. Considering he didn't speak any English and I don't speak any German or Polish (his languages), getting a refund inside of 2 minutes was pretty impressive. I had no receipt and he was just honest enough to remember my face and what I had bought a few weeks earlier.

Perhaps independent traders are the best bet in Poland, the ones with modest premises and honest prices.
polishmama 3 | 279
22 Aug 2012 #29
Yes, I think that brings up a good point. Megachains all over have issues compared to small businesses. I use the purse example and made a generalization, my apologies. I hate generalizations based on one or two situations. I'm quite sure other places don't have the issues I had with the purse. I also ended up buying a Gabor purse that week, which I love to this day with no issues whatsoever.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
25 Aug 2012 #30
Yet again, excellent customer care when I returned a possibly defective electrical item to Auchan. Superb standards with the customer put first, no quibble or nonsense. What a contrast to the other shops and supermarket, like night and day!

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