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Money Problem: ‘My heat pump dryer takes nine hours to dry but there’s apparently no fault – what can I do?’

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If a company says there is no fault with your heat pump dryer but the issue continues, what can you do?

That was the simple version of a question asked by Money blog reader Donna Adams from Dumfries…

“I purchased a new Candy heat pump dryer from AO in December thinking I was making a more environmentally ethical purchase than a cheaper condenser or vented dryer. I carried out research and was satisfied with AO and Candy’s description of drying time being a ‘little longer’.

“Fast forward to February I could stand it no longer and called Candy to discuss a “fault” as it was taking nine hours to dry a small load and three cycles. I was informed this was normal and not a fault. I then called AO, which liaised with Candy to send out an authorised engineer.

“The engineer found no fault but told me he receives many many complaints about this model. I have raised it with both AO and Candy, but they consider the matter closed as there is no fault.”

We asked Scott Dixon, from The Complaints Resolver, to answer this one…

He says the first thing to remember is that your contract is always with the retailer, not the manufacturer.

“You have done everything right. You carried out research and expected drying time to take a little longer,” he says.

The law

Scott says the Consumer Rights Act 2015 right applies. It says goods ought to be:

  • Fit for purpose
  • As described
  • Satisfactory quality
  • Last a reasonable length of time

The act gives you 30 days to reject faulty goods – the onus is on you to prove that the goods are faulty. Once 30 days has elapsed, the onus is on the retailer to prove that the goods were not faulty when sold. After six months it changes again – the onus is on you to prove the goods had inherent faults when it was sold.

“The engineer verbally confirmed an issue and that he receives many complaints about this particular model,” says Scott.

“They will never put this in writing because they are not working for the consumer. They will simply write ‘no faults’ – case closed.

“This is one of many tried and tested fob-offs retailers use to deny you a remedy and 99% of the time it works.”

The crux of your complaint, Scott says, is that the goods are not “as described”, and your experience simply does not match what you or any reasonable person would expect.

Had you known it would take nine hours, you would have made a different decision.

Image:
Scott Dixon, also known as The Complaints Resolver

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What you can do

Scott says: “Google search the make and model of this particular heat pump dryer. It’s likely you will find a forum where others have shared similar experiences. This will prove there are inherent issues and reinforce your case.

“You could also get an independent report from a qualified professional who can offer a written opinion to confirm what the engineer said.

“I take the view that you are entitled to reject the goods as they were not ‘as described’, the goods were misrepresented to you and you were misled into making a transactional decision you would not have otherwise made.

“The Consumer Rights Act 2015, the Misrepresentation Act 1967 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 support this.”

If all this falls on deaf ears, Scott suggests writing to the chief executive of AO, John Roberts (his email address can be found online with a bit of digging).

“It’s unlikely that the CEO will read it, although his escalated complaints team will,” says Scott.

“If all else fails, follow Simple Procedure in Scotland (small claims court in England and Wales).”

Often, sending screenshots of your initial court papers will be enough to resolve a dispute before lodging the official complaint, Scott says.

AO response

After being contacted by Sky News, AO arranged to revisit Ms Adams’s home.

They then told the Money blog: “Following a further inspection, Candy’s engineer confirmed Mrs Adams’s dryer was faulty so we’ve been in touch with her to offer a replacement with our apologies.”

Candy did not respond to a request for comment.

This feature is not intended as financial advice – the aim is to give an overview of the things you should think about. Submit your dilemma or consumer dispute via:

  • The form above – you need to leave a phone number or email address so we can contact you for further details
  • Email news@skynews.com with the subject line “Money blog”
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