Consumer advice on guarantees

Can anyone help with a problem I have?

I bought a Canon printer in late November from Darty. It came with a two year guarantee. From the start it’s caused problems - for example it took ages to configure it to scan documents ( it didn’t do it automatically as you’d expect).

A few days ago I had to change one of the cartridges. I opened the front of the machine up, put the new cartridge in, and the two print heads went to the end of the carriage and got stuck there, No amount of gentle prodding would move them.

I took it back to the shop it came from, and the man behind the counter managed to get the cartridges into a position where they could be removed and replaced. while he was doing this, I could clearly hear him saying to his colleague something about the printer having been misused. He was told that this was absolutely not the case. Apart from pulling at the cartridges to try to free them, there was absolutely no mistreatment involved. I got the impression that he wasn’t convinced, but as he had managed to clear the problem up, I left it at that.

I took the printer home, put two brand new Canon cartridges in, and lo and behold, the print quality was poor to the point of being illegible. I took it back the following day, and was told by the same assistant that it was probably because the heads weren’t aligned properly, and to take it home and manually go through the alignment process. He said that if that didn’t work, to bring it back and he would send it away for repair.

It made no difference of course, and I’m going to take it back tomorrow. My concern is that he’s going to say that he’s going to send it to their repair depot, but I’ll have to pay. I strongly suspect that he’ll claim that I damaged the mechanism, which I completely refute. At no time has he offered to replace the printer under the terms of the guarantee, or to refund the cost.

Any idea about where I stand legally? I need the printer to work, but I am absolutely certain that it was not through any action that I have taken that it doesn’t. Besides, if there is an allegation of misuse, who’s to say that it wasn’t caused by him when he got he carriage to return the first time I took it in?

Has anyone had a similar problem, and how was it resolved? Any advice would be very welcome.

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was the the manufacturer’s standard guarantee?
What are the terms of the guarantee?

[NB usual disclaimer with legal stuff that I don’t live in France or have to get the French legal system to work for me - and we’re not in the EU so increasingly won’t be able to extrapolate from UK to EU and hence French legislation]


Not sure about the “ages to configure” bit - you don’t say if you thought that due to a fault or just badly designed software. I’m assuming the latter so don’t suppose that is going to make for much of a claim (maybe had you bought it online you’d have been better off under the distance selling regs).

It’s going to hinge on whether you fitted the new cartridge correctly, and whether the shop sides with you on that point.

Was it an expensive model or one of the “disposable” ones which cost less than the first set of replacement cartridges?

OTOH we bought an HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281 last year from Darty and we are absolutely delighted with it.
As @ptf said, the cheaper “throw away” models are just that. Cheap, but expensive to run if using significant amounts of ink for printing.
See what sort of deal you can do to to get something more substantial in return if you have a serious printing requirement.

The ages to configure was a software problem, but that’s not what the current issue is.

I put the cartridge in, pushed it back a bit and it clicked into place. I’ve done it dozens of times before.

It was a cheap model, but to me that’s immaterial. It’s less than three months old, and regardless of cost it’s not unreasonable to expect it to work, at least for the period of the guarantee.

I’m grateful for your reply, but it’s not a question about the quality, or otherwise, of cheap Canon printers. It’s about the retailer’s legal responsibility under the terms of the guarantee.

I accept the fact that cheap printers have their limitations, but my question wasn’t about that. Rather it was about whether Darty have a right to either not provide a replacement or not give me my money back.

To be honest I haven’t looked into the small print, but regardless of that, the thing is less than three months old, so even under the normal conditions of sale it’s not fit for purpose.

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Agree, but it is also about the practicality of persuading the retailer/manufacturer to make good on their responsibility.

In the UK (and I believe also in France) the contract is formed between the purchaser (you) and the seller (the shop you bought it from). Manufacturers guarantees are extra and above the basic legal protections although in practice it is usually the manufacturer that does any repair. There’s an EU directive somewhere which says all electrical goods should have a 2-year warranty which, I suspect, is where that time period comes from in this case.

You (obviously) have a legal right to goods which work when you buy them and, being free of inherent but invisible faults, continue to do so for a reasonable length of time - but the rub is that this does not cover wear & tear or damage and as soon as you get to the first set of replacement cartridges installed by you we start to open the possibility that it is your fault rather than the printer’s (I stress I’m not suggesting that it actually IS your fault, just that it could be).

If the shop is on your side, great - get them to send it back to Canon, if they are really nice they might have something that they can lend you in the meantime.

If the shop is not on your side you might be able to persuade Canon to repair it under their guarantee and cut out the middle man, I’ve had luck with Motorola and a phone which expired after a year doing that.

If neither will play ball you really do have to decide how much you care because getting recompense is going to involve going down a legal route which could be much more than the printer is worth and might not go in your favour.

“How much you care” is clearly going to differ depending on whether it was a 100€ model or a 1000€ model, hence my question.

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For something that fails after three months I’d say a replacement is warranted and, no, Darty should not give you the runaround.

But, as noted above, if they do give you the runaround there normally isn’t much outside taking them to court at the end of the day. Does France have the equivalent of Trading Standards? ( DGCCRF??)

but I think you have to be a member of Que Choisir for them to take up a complaint (just as is the case with Which?)
another possibility (as mentioned by @vero in another thread) using Facebook to complain (on the shop’s page - not the Darty corporate one) but the link to send a message is on the corporate site - maybe a bad review might garner attention :thinking:
The only people to gain from using lawyers are the lawyers…

Sure Graham, the business model is give the printer away at or near cost and milk the ink sales. That’s why the cartridges are so “sophisticated” when they could just be easily OEMed ink tanks.

Tim, I suspect the consumer law that says you have a choice whether you demand a new machine or allow them to try and fix it is EU wide. If you allow them to try and fix it you loose the right to a replacement, they can keep trying to fix it. So I wouldn’t agree to an attempted fix.

Darty’s approach, like all the other vendors, will be 1 - fob off, 2 - offer repair and then after the other two have failed - replace. Which aligns nicely with my approach 1 - polite explanation of the issue 2 - still polite but very firm explanation of the issue and finally 3 - throw a tantrum.

After first deploying this strategy in a post office in Meylan in 1981 it has never let me down. In fact I find the vendor’s respect for you is enhanced after a stroppy session.

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Very helpful advice. However I’m not sure that my language skills run to throwing a tantrum.

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Excellent. Many thanks.

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Call Canon in London 00442076600186
They help you with enormous patience and know how!
Forget useless Darty!!

Thanks. If it comes to that I may well follow your advice.

IIRC, it was a no-no the other way round - buying stuff in UK then shipping it to France and expecting the manufacturer’s UK warranty to apply here. I think Canon UK might take a similar view and refer you back to France and the vendor.

Well, that might work Irmgard but Tim’s “contract” is with Darty, not Canon. Plus, Darty is a far more important Canon customer than Tim. Their consumer division lives or dies through their distributors and dealers. Worth a try though. Just make sure you’re not having a conversation with a “your call is important to us” Bot.

Many thanks to everyone for the advice.
The latest development is that I took it back to the shop this afternoon, for the third time, armed with my phone open on the Darty website page that explains their easy return guarantee deal, expecting to be fobbed off again. In fact a different member of staff listened patiently to my account of events, and immediately agreed to get a replacement printer in from another branch and swap it over. I’m not sure why this couldn’t have happened the first time, but there you are.
I love living in a cultured and civilised country like France, the people are generally lovely and the cheese is unbeatable. However, am I alone in thinking that customer service isn’t one of their particularly strong points?

sadly no, I’ve seen similar comments over the years but I have to say that our experience with customer service has always been a good one.
It’s remarkable how a broad smile and cheery bonjour! will produce results.
Well done!