UK Guitar Buyers - Your Statutory Rights.

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UK Guitar Buyers - Your Statutory Rights.

Post by bruceboomstick » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:26 am

I'm posting this as a general point of information. It's in response to a couple of threads I've seen recently about dodgy guitars.

Apologies in advance for the length of this one (actress and bishop spring to mind.........)

I've recently been through an experience with a defective TV set, during which I learned a lot about UK consumer rights. I'm sure some of the dealers on the forum could post some more detail to it as well.

When you buy something (in our case guitars) a contract of sale exists between yourself and the dealer (Not Tokai UK and not Tokai-Gakki). It is down to the dealer to ensure that the guitar is "fit for purpose" ie it is saleable. If it is not, your comeback is with the DEALER not the manufacturer or the distributor. The legal contract means that if the item is not up to scratch they are legally obliged to replace or refund - any manufacturers guarentees and warranties are provided in addtion to this right (a manufacturer's guarentee is NOT legally binding, a contract of sale is). You may also have repairs conducted yourself, and then charge the dealer for the work - this is often the case in distance selling (and providing that the work is AGREED with the dealer). Dealers are NOT responsible for additional expenses or lost income where goods prove to be deffective.

Secondly It is illegal for dealers to issue unfair terms and conditions of sale - so they can't say no refunds and they can't make the conditions restrictive - so they can't charge you for inspections or verification. Most importantly the burden of proof lies with the dealer - that means they have to prove to you that the item is OK, if you're in any doubt you are entitled to a refund.

Thirdly dealers cannot sell secondhand or b grade stock as new. They cannot sell returned stock as new either (they are not obliged to offer a discount, but they must advetise it as such).

Finally if it goes to court the case always hinges on teh concept of reasonableness. Providing that you acted reasonably throughout the case and that your concerns are legitimate then they will rule in your favour. Reasonableness is a subjective term, but providing you can prove that you done your best to resolbe the issue with the dealer - the you cannot go far wrong. (an example of unresasonabless would be taking an item back to the shop after a year, because the swicth has makes a funny crackle every so often)

The dealer is the final link in the supply chain - whatever mistakes (and mistakes do happen - more often than people think) it's the dealers job check the merchantability of the goods because he is the one who should cop the flak. In fact as far as supply chain management is concerned the dealer is more important than any QC guy at the factory.

So in summary if you buy a UK in the UK (even if you live in darkest peru) the transaction is covered by UK law,. If you're not happy then go back to the dealer and make him (or her) put it right - by either replacing or refunding the item. Manufacturers and distributors are under no obligation to become involved, however if you are haveing problems with the dealer many do (as happened in my case - Thanks Sony UK !!)

I felt I needed to explain that as unless you follow the right procedure (or just moan on forums and do nothing) you won't get the legal protection you are entitled.

Last thing - just a suggestion/

People with guitar issues seem very reluctant to name dealers - Why? (it makes me smell a rat amongst other things), Could we devise a dealer scoring system that people could post to as a sticky? Maybe marks out of 5 for speed of delivery, communication, range of stock etc? I don't believe in naming and shaming, but I get a feeling there may be a rogue out there and it would make sense to know who they were, Equally I think we should actively praise and support the good ones (and there are some on the forum who are just plain great).

Anyway this is just my attempt to try and make the world better - be interested on peoples thoughts

One last point - not sure I posted this in the right place - feel free to move it if necessary.

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Post by Snake » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:40 am

Good post. All in all I have a rough grasp of what is known as 'distance selling', I think I saw a watchdog on it at one stage ages ago! I'm sure a quick google will turn up some good stuff like this. It's good to know (though being within the UK this doesn't affect me) that these rules apply to purchases made by those outside the UK. I had a run in with this when I got something from argos, who seem to make themselves excempt in some way from all laws!! Thats another story.

These rules are different when you are dealing with individuals, or dealers so when buying from ebay know who you are dealing with. Another point, not sure if it was mentioned in the first post, is that you are not actually allowed to say "sold as seen". You see many indivuduals doing this, but dealers who do it can get into trouble (I'm actually going on experience of cars here but I'm sure this would apply to everything). I forgot what I was going to end with there, but I am fairly sure that is right.

By the way, I would happily share the good and bad experiences I have had with different dealers (though it's pretty limited and only one was Tokai related!)

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Post by Schocker » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:03 am

Good points, Bruce.

Having read the other threads to which you allude, I think that dealer was not named out of fairness, in that he was being given the benefit of the doubt until it became apparent that the matter was not being resolved. I can understand the reluctance to name names publicly in such an instance, although if you PM the poster involved in this matter he will divulge the details. You often read posts on other forums claiming "Big Store USA" ripped me off and then a day later a sheepish retraction, so perhaps this diplomacy was a reasonable judgement.

Also, as you say, it is the part of the chain which deals with the customer which is responsible for their satisfaction with a product; however, as you found with Sony, sometimes manufacturer intervention is helpful. You'd hope it wouldn't be necessary but unfortunately it sometimes seems to be.

I think in this case, and with cases involving guitars, people can be quite keen to establish brand loyalty and hence the 'big name'-bashing goes on. We are all (generally justifiably!) proud of our Tokais and often comparisons with other brands are made, with the oft-quoted "better than a Gibson" being a prime example. It's probably healthy that we're reminded that the company and its products are not infallible. In the interests of fairness, once more, I think if we're okay with people saying things along the lines of "I played a Gibson and it was terrible! Ooh, they make some dogs!! But then I tried a Tokai and it was the most beautifully crafted instrument I've ever picked up..." then we've got to accept the occasional (if it's fair) criticism of Tokai.

(Btw, my ES-100 IS better than any Gibson I tried!! But that's not the point here!)

I post this just as a footnote to your post, which was very comprehensive and laid out the situation as one would hope it would be played out. It's easy for the customer to have their rights eroded by dealer malpractice, so well-written reminders are extremely valid.

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Post by Deadman » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:30 am

I would have thought that all of this would be common sense to anyone in the UK (no offence intended towards supreme).

Honestly if I have a gripe then I ALWAYS get my money back straight away, no matter what the item is. Know your rights and you can't go wrong.

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Post by bruceboomstick » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:59 am

Good footnote - I agree dealers should be given a chance to put mistakes right - on one thread there was a lot of reluctance to do that. I'm always impressed by stories of dealers that go out of their way to solve a problem - I once had a dodgy crash helmet and the shop not only changed it they gave me the next model up (guess where I get all my bike stuff now !!)

From my own point of view I can honestly say that over the years I've only ever encountered guitar dealers who have been nothing short of excellent - if they sold a bad guitar they'd be more upset than the customer. We're lucky in that many of the people in the supply chain are as passionate about guitars as most buyers are (most of them are players after all).

Brand loyalty is definitely a bad thing - but I don't think I've ever encountered anyone on the forum whose a "Tokai Slave" in fact most people seem to play all sorts of guitar and are pretty open about that. Personnally I have a huge wishlist that features a wide array of stuff...........Ibanez, ESP, PRS, even Gibson appear on it!!!!

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Post by bruceboomstick » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:02 am

I had a run in with this when I got something from argos, who seem to make themselves excempt in some way from all laws!!
You know the anthrax song "I am the Law" everyone thinks it's bout Judge Dredd, it's actually about a bloke who works at Argos. :D :D :D
(I'm actually going on experience of cars here but I'm sure this would apply to everything).
It does - the key phrase I think is "Fit for Purpose" so if you buy golf glubs the end shouldn't fall off (as mine did - that was A*G*S purchase as well - they did change them though !!)

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Post by sneakyjapan » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:07 am

thank you but.....could you find out the laws for japan please?

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Post by guitarslinger » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:25 am

Good post. - in addition...

We do a lot of mail order and one other point to note is that a customer buying by mail order over the internet for example can return the item defective or not within 7 days. Although obviously it has to be returned in the condition it arrived. :lol:

It is also checking out whether brands come with any warranty also. Washburn for instance offer a lifetime limited warranty - and have taken guitars back a couple of years old for a pick up failure! Don't think Tokai's is official, but we've had nothing but the best of help from Bob in the past.


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Post by supreme » Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:00 am

I will only post once in this thread because of obvious reasons.....

People seem not to have read the thread carefully. Like mentioned a few times in that thread, I traded in my mint flawless Sheraton for this Tokai and paid 200 pounds on top. I found out now my guitar has been sold by the shop, so I can't refund, recollect, that is not an option. They also were not responding to me more than a week so that is why there is a delay in the info I got (because he said he was away and I gave him the benefit of the doubt). Also don't forget I am being advised by Bob Murdoch from UK Tokai to what the next step is.

We are now trying to figure out what to do (the shop owner, Bob Murdoch from UK Tokai and me) because I definitely don't want a Tokai for a long time now....the stuff that happened on this forum are part of my decision not to accept a Tokai BTW. And even if I had accepted, it still is not the type of guitar (Custom) that I originally wanted but a Goldtop which was last on my list....and even that one is still in Japan according to Bob.

People should read the thread a bit more careful before posting stuff like this and then refer to me like I don't know my "statutory" rights. The only person here following the rules is me, trying to deal with it in a civilized manner......
Before posting without knowing what is really going on, you should inform yourself, most of it is in the thread (now locked by sabotaging it with personal attacks) and had you read those things, you would not have written three quarter of your post which are not relevant in my case, but referring to me.

I will not post here for a few days, maybe longer until everything is sorted out and have a replacement, then I will give a final update and then leave.
Only a MIJ Les Paul is good enough.....on second thought, maybe not after receiving my Tokai LC70-80 with many issues....

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Post by bruceboomstick » Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:27 am


Don't take this the wrong way. I didn't start this thread for you to continue yours. I did so becuase I wanted to clarify share useful info with the forum to help people in general (in the light of your thread and others). It's not intened as a response to your thread either - it was just trying to share some hard learned stuff.

I for one am sorry about your experience, I'm aslo very sorry that you've taken offence to this thread. In all honesty when I set out with my rather long post it it was done so with the intention of learning from things and moving in a positive direction. Had I wanted to take part in your thread I would have participated while it was open. This forum is one is the best I know, there is very little bad feeing on it, but right now I a feeling pretty hacked off and the last thing I want to do is for the negative vibe to spread - if you have taken this as a personal attack then I apologise, but please if you wish to continue your rant please start a separate thread.

Ned dunno if you're reading this but could you pull this thread, I didn't want this to go contoversial again

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Post by Schocker » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:15 am

Bruce, I think this thread should stay, as it sets out very neatly some things which UK buyers may have forgotten or not been aware of in the first place. You did a good and succinct job in stating our legal rights.

Supreme, I think your previous thread merely jogged Bruce's memory about these things and hence he was inspired to start this one. I can understand you're a bit raw about your bad time with the Tokai but hopefully other people's good experiences with them may encourage you not to rule them out of your possible future guitar purchases should you encounter an instrument made by them which tickles your fancy. Hopefully you'll have more success with your next acquisition.

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Post by bruceboomstick » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:09 am

Thanks Schocker

I learned a lot of this stuff recently - it's all pretty obvious, but it's good to have some idea of where you stand. Seeing (and who couldn't miss !) the recent threads I figured it would be useful info to put in the forum somewhere - if only to give people a starting point should they need it.

What I certainly didn't want to happen was for the thread to become a continuation of another - as long as it doesn't I'm happy for it to remain. And I certainly didn't want to have pop at anyone (

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Post by QuattroSte » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:47 am

I was going to rant on here but then I realised I would only be helping to destroy a good thread started by a good person with good intentions.

Deep breaths now Stephen.... deeeeeeep breaths............

P.S. I bet someone has no friends :lol: :D :lol:

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Post by SGRocks » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:20 am

I for one am disgusted with the way some of you guys are personally attacking supreme,be it in the open like QuattroSte with his last remark,or in a hidden way like the original poster did.He has any right to post anywhere he likes,just like you.You dont have to respond either, especially not with childish remarks like

QuattroSte wrote:P.S. I bet someone has no friends :lol: :D :lol:

Stop the personal attacks for christs sake!

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Post by bruno » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:31 pm

Bruce... an excelent post, very informative, thank you.