Survey on Collecting Imaginary Objects
Tetralogue and the Fate of Truth

A Warning About Amazon Marketplace

My new laptop arrives this week, and blogging will be disrupted while I configure it for my purposes. In the meantime, a short cautionary tale.

I had originally bought a new laptop over a year ago from Amazon Marketplace. It arrived, and I used it for a month or two before a fault developed in the screen. I returned it to the vendor… and never saw it again. Amazon wouldn’t give us any details of the vendor, and told us to contact them via the email contact forms. We sent these to the vendor every week. Eventually it became apparent he didn’t even have it anymore.

In the UK, when you purchase with a credit card you have additional consumer rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Agreement 1974 that means when you can’t resolve a problem with the vendor, you can claim from the credit card who are ‘jointly and severally liable’. So we claimed via Barclaycard. They paid us some titbits (without ever admitting liability) but ultimately we had to take it to the Financial Services Ombudsman for resolution. The Ombudsman ruled against us last week: buying from Amazon Marketplace did not constitute a creditor-debtor arrangement with the vendor, so our consumer rights were null and void.

Surprised that everything could go so wrong with a purchase from a big name company like Amazon and a big name credit card like Barclaycard, I mentioned it to a contact at the BBC who passed it on to Radio 4’s consumer affairs show You and Yours. They ran my story on Friday. Amazon then ‘generously’ decided to pay us the cost of the laptop. So we did eventually get our money back… but only as PR damage control. I advise everyone to be cautious about big purchases on Amazon Marketplace, as Amazon do not take full responsibility for these transactions, and in the UK they disrupt your consumer rights. As ever, caveat emptor.

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