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Big rise in baby buggy complaints to consumer hotline
Consumer Direct is urging new and expectant parents to be aware of their consumer rights when buying baby buggies, prams and pushchairs, as new figures show a significant increase in complaints.
In the three month period to the end of February 2009, government-funded advice service Consumer Direct received 1219 complaints about baby transport, an increase of 67 per cent on the same period in the previous year. Almost half of these complaints were about products costing over £300.
While many complaints were about customer service issues or business failures, a significant number were about products which were faulty on arrival or which developed faults soon after their first use. Customers reported steering faults, wheels falling off and buggies collapsing, as well as problems such as badly fitting hoods and footrests.
Pushchairs bought on the high street or online must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match their description. If they are not, shoppers may be able to claim a repair, replacement, or a partial or full refund.
Michele Shambrook, Operations Manager for Consumer Direct said: 'Pushchairs can be a big outlay at an expensive time for parents so if things go wrong, it's worth remembering you've got rights. If an item is inherently faulty, it's down to the retailer to put it right by offering you a refund, repair or a replacement.'
Consumer Direct has the following tips for people buying buggies and pushchairs:
* Make sure you check the product as soon as you get it home. If you notice a fault, stop using it. If you return it to the retailer straight away, you should be able to 'reject' it and claim a full refund.
* If you have had some use out of the product before the fault becomes apparent you may lose your right to a full refund, but you could be entitled to a repair, like for like replacement or partial refund.
* Under remedies introduced in 2003, if a fault occurs within the first six months after purchase, it's up to the trader to prove that the fault was not present at the time of sale.
* Any term requiring consumers to inspect the goods on delivery and inform the trader immediately of any faults or else lose the right to a refund or rejection, may potentially be an unfair term and therefore unenforceable.
* When buying a product costing more than £100 and under £30,000, using a credit card will give you extra protection if things go wrong.
* Keep your receipt as proof of purchase as this could help you when making a claim.
Anyone unclear about their rights or unsure how to make a claim can call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit the website at http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
* Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service funded by government and managed by the Office of Fair Trading. It operates in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards Services to offer consumers clear, practical and impartial advice and information.
* Consumer Direct has around 400 trained advisors in 12 contact centres across England, Wales and Scotland.
* The information and advice helpline is available on a single national telephone number - 08454 04 05 06 from 0800 - 1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900 - 1300 Saturday, excluding bank holidays and public holidays.
* A Welsh-speaking Consumer Direct service is available on 08454 04 05 05. Minicom users should call 08451 28 13 84.
* Calls to the Consumer Direct 0845 numbers are charged at no more than four pence per minute from a BT landline and may be free depending on your call plan. Call charges from other landline providers or mobile phones may vary. Please check the rate with your phone service provider.
* Northern Ireland has its own service called ConsumerLine (available on 08456 00 62 62) which is similar to Consumer Direct.
t 020 7211 8133