AO.com messing me about (result!)

After 3 minutes at full power in a 1000W microwave!
[See update at end]

So, got a new microwave from ao.com last month.

I have to say that, overall, they were very efficient and reliable delivering the microwave and delivering and installing the dishwasher we also ordered. Very impressed.

In spite of ticking the relevant box on the order form they did spam me trying to sell an extended warranty, but they shut up when I quoted the The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 at them.

But the microwave was not quite right. We all thought so, but had not done scientific tests. The biggest clue was microwave pop-corn. In a 950W microwave this would usually be 1½ to 2½ minutes. This is a 1000W microwave, but after 4 minutes the bag was still flat! If you microwaved for 10 minutes it would just about cope, but clearly was not right.

I do worry about the safety of this - if this is pumping 1000W somewhere other than the food, where is it going.

By the time we had concluded that it was clearly not right it was nearly Christmas and over the timescale of The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, so I decided that once Christmas was over I would contact AO.

Christmas eve it stopped working totally! I had to go find a microwave at 5pm on Christmas eve. There is, indeed, a Tesco value microwave on the shelf to take away in a shop that was open until 7pm on Christmas eve. Well done Tesco. It is not as big or as powerful nor have the grill and convention oven features or such, but it managed for Christmas day and Boxing day. So I am already inconvenienced and out of pocket. As it happens my son needs a microwave for his new flat, so it will go there eventually.

So, I contacted AO. Their reply was that they would contact Panasonic to inspect it and arrange a repair.

So I explained that I was requiring a replacement - that it was faulty from the start and that I was entitled to require a replacement, or failing that a refund.

Three times now they have stated the way they work is to inspect to decide if a repair or replacement is the course of action to take, so I have ended up having to quote 48B(1)b of Sale of Goods Act 1979 at them yet again and ask when they will arrange replacement.

They argued points in the Sale of Goods Act, suggesting that they get to choose if refund or replacement, and I argued points back at then.

In the end I pointed out that as it was faulty from new, and failed within 6 months, I was in a position to rescind the contract and demand a refund. If I do that I would be able to order a new one which, given their efficiency, I could get the very same day. So if they were not going to offer a replacement that would be similarly convenient, I would rescind the contract.

We'll see what happens, but I am concerned that they are not taking this seriously and considering it all under the optional extra manufacturers warranty rather than my statutory rights. I am, none the less, trying to be polite to them.

Update: After a lot of emails and a lot of quoting the Sale of Goods Act, and (one has to wonder) my blog post and tweet on the matter, I got a call. They are sending a new one for tomorrow and collecting the dead one, and giving a £20 credit. So, finally, we have a result. Well done, albeit a slight struggle.


  1. Companies mostly work like that because they know people will back down, and it's cheaper to throw things back at the manufacturer.

    You might have to push it as far as a letter from a solicitor.. As soon as the legal types get involved they cave pretty quickly as they know they'd lose heavily.

    1. We will see - quoting SoGA may help. Failing that a "notice before action" may do the trick. It is a shame, as I expect failures are a low percentage and if they treated them as efficiently as sales they would be getting a rave review from me.

  2. I'm slightly surprised they're being arsey about it. Most of the larger retailers seem to have realised the best way to deal with this sort of thing is to send a replacement out without fuss and just auction off the customer returns - quicker and cheaper for them and leads to better customer relations and more trade in the longer term.

    Quoting SoGA can be useful though - I had Motorola repair a phone gratis despite originally saying "sorry it's 10 days past its 1 year warranty" by carefully pointing out that the SogA doesn't recognise arbitrary warranty periods, case law suggests consumer electronic goods should be "durable" as per the SoGA for up to 6 years and the EU now mandates a two year warranty anyway. They did ask me to supply an original VAT invoice which the retailer initially was rather tardy about coughing up until I explained that Motorola were being nice and I'd be after the retailer for the repair otherwise (again with the same arguments as to why they couldn't fob me off with "it's out of warranty").

    It does work sometimes :)

  3. In my experience customer service is a thing of the past. The only company I've had any sort of good service from in the last ten years is John Lewis, so I buy from them as much as possible.

  4. Ha, they are insisting that sale of goods act makes it their choice whether repair or replace. I am pretty sure that is not the case, unless, one of those would be disproportionate. I have explained now that I could, instead of requiring repair or replace, rescind the contract for full refund, and order from them for SAME DAY delivery, so a replacement TODAY seems to be the best option for them. We'll see how they react to that.

  5. Sounds like you're going to have fun explaining that if they want the broken one back it needs to be at their expense.

    1. Nope, they are collecting the dead one too, tomorrow. Result!

  6. I have the same issue with AO, new washing machine turned up Tuesday, reluctantly semi installed by very reluctant installers. I was out all day Wednesday, so Thursday morning, I read the instructions and set it to a quick wash as advised in the manual, half way through, flashing red light and error code C37. C37 doesn't exist in the world, I tried several times to see if I had missed something obvious, then phoned AO to arrange a working replacement. This is when the trouble started, their auto dial takes you through toWhirlpool to arrange a service engineer to calll. I didnt want and engineer, I wanted a washing machine that works, I ended up getting through to AO sales, they pick the phone up pretty quick, compared to all the other options. told I' be contacted in four hours, that didnt happen, so today phoned them again, and all I get is the manufacturer will send an engineer out next Wednesday. I then got a tad angry and said if it wasn't sorted today, I'd get a refund, funny thing, they said I couldnt have a refund as I had used the machine. HOW ELSE DO I KNOW IT DOES NOT WORK!? I got it covered by Google on their Google Certified Shops programme, so I hope Google may get something moving, certainly no phone calls from AO to try and placate my anger.


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