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NUSYSTEMS just made my shitlist
by Bruce Ure at 16:23 09/01/08 (Blogs::Bruce)
I ordered some headphones, of the in-ear type, from NuSystems, having found them there at a good price.
As any fule kno, items ordered on the interweb are subject to the Distance Selling Regulations, which are designed to give the consumer the opportunity to inspect the goods when they have arrived, and to cancel the contract of sale should they decide, within a set time period, that in fact they do not want them after all.

Certain goods or categories of goods are exempt from the DSR. One such category is "goods which by their nature can not be returned", for example underwear, or colonic irrigation tubes.

It turns out that in-ear headphones are frequently placed in this category. I'm not sure, to be honest, who decides what is and what isn't in the category, and I am sure an exhaustive list would be impractical, and so a certain amount of common sense is assigned to the retailer to inform the customer if they believe goods fall into this category.

When I placed the order with NuSystems, I was obliged to tick a checkbox saying I'd read and agreed to their Terms and Conditions. In said T&Cs is a clause that states that if any of the goods which you have ordered fall in the category of goods which can not by their nature be returned, you will be notified of this in your order acceptance email.

When I received said email, there was no mention that the goods I had ordered were excluded from the right-to-return policy.

I mailed the supplier a few days after I'd received the 'phones. They were crap. You could see they were crap without opening the package but I opened it anyway, out of curiosity. So I said I was cancelling the contract and would they please refund my money including the delivery charge.

To cut a long story short, I got an email saying I couldn't return them because I had opened them and they were goods which by their nature can not be returned, because they go in your ear.

There then followed a long exchange of emails in which I pointed them at their own Terms and Conditions and explained my rights very clearly, and they repeatedly refused to acknowledge I was right, or they were wrong.

At first I was willing to return the goods before the refund, but so arsey were they that I decided to stick to the letter of the law, and insisted they refund me before I returned the goods, as was my right.

There then followed another series of emails, in which they again refused to acknowledge that I could possibly be right about this; they said Trading Standards had told them they were able to insist the goods were returned first, and despite me pointing out the phrase in the DSR where it explicitly states that a retailer can not withhold a refund until they receive the goods back, they refused to believe me, and threatened me with their solicitors, and essentially became even more rude and patronising.

So I sent them a Letter Before Action and told then I wasn't willing to discuss it any further -- refund me or defend yourself in court.

They still prevaricated but eventually I got a call from a lackey who tried to argue how unfair it was (oh boo-hoo) but agreed to refund me anyway.

Which they did.

And then I sent them back their 'phones.

What a textbook example of how NOT to deal with an arising issue. Not only would I rather stick pins in my eyes than ever deal with NuSystems again, but I will obviously not be recommending them, to say the least, to anyone else.


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