Listeners’ problems this week were a faulty iPhone – who should replace it?; and Holiday Insurance – does it cover a premature birth?
And here are my notes:
As a general rule, the law places the obligation to replace or repair any faulty item on the retailer. This is in the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, 1980. The 1980 Act applies specifically to consumers, because unlike business customers, we are not in a position to bargain with large companies such as phone companies. However, where it is explicitly provided for in the contract, some of the terms of the 1980 Act can be contracted out of. I haven’t seen our listener’s contract, but I presume that this obligation is explicitly excluded in it.
Less than 28 days – device is faulty (excluding iPhone)
If you find that your phone or broadband device is not working properly you have 28 days to return it to one of our Meteor stores listed here. Exchanges and refunds of faulty phones (excluding iPhones) will be provided within 28 days of the purchase date and where the fault can be verified in store. All returns should be accompanied with a valid receipt, all packaging the phone came in, any associated accessories and the phone manual. Your manufacturer’s warranty will be deemed void should the phone be physically damaged (including moisture damaged). Please read the manufacturer’s manual for details of warranty T’s&C’s.
I contacted Meteor and they said the reason for this exclusion is that it is passed on from Apple themselves. The relevant section of Apple’s own Terms & Conditions is:
If you submit a valid claim under this warranty, Apple will, at its option:
(i) repair the Apple Product using new or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, or
(ii) replace the Apple Product with a product that is at least functionally equivalent to the Apple Product and is formed from new and/or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, or
(iii) refund your purchase price in exchange for the return of your Apple Product.
Apple are famous for wanting to keep everything in-house. They’ve been derided in the past as “control freaks” because of this. They don’t want just any old shop selling their products, and they certainly don’t want any old shop trying to repair them. So this system, where they take on the obligations of the retailer, is really just another manifestation of that attitude.
However, EU law can;t be contracted out of in this way, so the “cooling off period”, discussed by us before, still applies. You can bring your phone back to the store for any reason or for no reason, and get a full refund. You don’t have to send it to Apple:
Less than 14 days:
If for any reasons you are not happy with your new phone or broadband device, under the Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights Regulations 2013 you have the right to cancel your contract by providing us with a clear written statement (letter by post or e-mail) to this effect, within fourteen days of the date you acquire possession of the phone or broadband device . You may use the notice published on the “Cooling off” section of our web site for this purpose. If you cancel your contract we will reimburse you all payments including costs of delivery, without undue delay and in no case less than 14 days from the date we are informed of your decision to cancel this contract. We will carry out the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of such reimbursement.”
For non iPhone customers, any faulty phone is the retailer’s responsibility.
I was contacted by one of the two insurers our listener had contacted (I mistakenly named Multitrip in the slot. In fact, it was Insure and Go, who were extremely helpful ) and they told me that they do not require customers to notify them of pregnancy until very close to the delivery date. Our listener is comfortably within that period. They also told me that while they don’t cover ordinary pregnancy health expenses, such as non-emergency doctors visits, they do cover premature births. So, in the event that our listener has her baby prematurely, not only will she be covered for the delivery, but care for the baby will also be covered. This is obviously very important to know, because premature babies usually do require significant treatment or at least hospital support. They told me that this cover has on occasion included arranging for a prematurely born child to be repatriated afterwards.
Most insurers will treat a premature birth as a medical emergency, so the cover will usually be the same, but there are conditions which can vary between providers. For example, I saw one that required that you get confirmation from a doctor that you are fit to travel no more than five days prior to the start of the trip. Others require only that you not travel against a doctor’s advice. In general, the cheaper the policy, the more strings attached, so be sure to get clarity on what you’re covered for before signing up.