Consumer rights

I know there are guys and gals out there who can give me some advice so here goes.

Last January we bought a washing machine on the internet from a well known supplier who offered a Gooddeal, good price and delivered on time with a 12 month guarantee for parts. We declined the supplementary insurance for 3-5 years as we felt there shouldn't have been a problem. However, in the middle of last month the machine started playing up. Programmes not working, not spinning, not emptying out etc. Did all the usual things, cleaned filter, unplugged and replugged but all to no avail. Phoned the supplier who said we were only covered for parts and would have to phone the manufacturer to arrange for a technician to come and diagnose the problem at out expense as we didn't take the supplementary insurance which would have covered the call out, he would then order any parts necessary. I have written to the internet supplier to point out that my contract is with them and not the manufacturer who, in my opinion, has supplied a faulty machine and I want it replaced or repaired at their expense. Am I right in assuming something has to be fit for purpose and is covered for a year under European law and the sale of goods act?

Needless to say I am waiting for a reply to my letter but would like to know where I stand before I get involved in phoning a mediator.

Thanks Brian, I'll dig a bit further. There's a lot of legalese in there which I shall have to decipher !!!

This is what you need to know about the product liability law that came into effect in 2001 that is largely being ignored. We used the French version of this when our brand new washing machine shuddered to a halt second time it was used. Despite the seller telling us that he had no liability we threw this lot at him and told him that we would begin a civil action. The machine was replaced that day. So, sorry I do not know where my OH has the French version and she is away until the end of her month, including the laptop it is on and is out of contact until Wednesday. Look a bit or get a bit of help and you will find this:

'A buyer may also benefit from contractual warranties. The French Consumer Code provides that the seller may offer a "commercial warranty" to the buyer in addition to other legal warranties (such as latent defects and product safety) that remain applicable in any case (Articles L. 211-15 and 211-16 of the French Consumer Code).

While as a general rule the producer cannot limit or exclude its liability to the injured person by contract (Article 1386-15 of the French Civil Code), contractual provisions limiting liability between professionals are valid as long as: (i) they relate to damage caused to property not used by the injured party mainly for its own private use (Article 1386-15, paragraph 2, of the French Civil Code); (ii) the defect does not result from an intentional act (or omission) or from the supplier's gross negligence (which French case law defines as negligence of extreme severity bordering on wilful misconduct and denoting the unfitness of the defaulting obliger to fulfil its contractual duty); (iii) the clause limiting liability does not make the core obligations of the defaulting party meaningless—i.e., the maximum amount of the indemnification contractually defined must not be so low that it contradicts the core obligation of the contract; and (iv) the contract containing the clause limiting the warranty against hidden defects is concluded between professionals of the "same speciality" (which is narrowly interpreted by case law) and does not involve a consumer.'