CCT decision – defective wrist watch
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CCT decision – defective wrist watch

A customer purchased a wrist watch for €1,000 as a gift for her husband. The following day she noticed that the watch was not functioning well. The watch was returned to the seller who, upon inspecting it, noticed that a part of the watch was not closed properly. A few days later the watch’s defect recurred and it was therefore returned to the seller again.

After checking it, the seller confirmed that the watch was defective and offered to change its internal mechanism. The consumer did not accept the seller’s offer and instead requested to have the watch replaced with a new one or to receive a refund.

At this point the seller told the customer that the type of watch she had bought was no longer in production and he could only offer a credit note for the value of the watch. The seller argued that as per the terms and conditions of the guarantee, he could only give her a credit note.

The consumer refused the seller’s offer and filed a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs at the MCCAA. Conciliation was carried out but an amicable solution could not be reached. The consumer then opted to take the case to the Consumer Claims Tribunal.

The tribunal considered the seller’s argument that since he could not replace the defective watch with a new one, according to the conditions of the guarantee he was only obliged to offer a credit note. The tribunal noted that while it did not have the guarantee’s document to confirm this claim, it was a fact that the watch was defective. Since it could not be replaced with a new one, the consumer had the right to request the cancellation of the sale.

The tribunal also reported that the seller’s claim that offering a credit note fulfilled his legal obligation did not have a legal basis. Even the option of replacing the watch’s mechanism was not viable, as such a remedy would diminish the watch’s value.

For these reasons the tribunal upheld the consumer’s claim and ruled that the seller should pay the consumer €1,000 as well as bear the expenses of the tribunal sitting.

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