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Trident Gas Fire Company Demise

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spike01 | 21:39 Fri 22nd Feb 2008 | Law
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I bought a Trident Excel Gas Fire just over 5 years ago. Last Autumn (just under 5 years from purchase date),it went defective (would not light) The shop that sold and installed the fire, stated that they could not repair the fire as they could not obtain spares since the Trident Company went into liquidation earlier in 2007. They have a number of other customers in the same situation, and they are hoping that the company will be bought up and will make spares available once again, when they will be able to carry out repairs. This has not yet happened, but there are rumours this may happen this year. What is the legal position with the retailer/installer. Do they have a responsibility to replace the fire if they cannot repair it? They have sold me a product which I cannot get repaired (unless spares once again become available), and my only other option is to purchase another fire. The original price was �800 and todays replacement cost would be between �850 -�1000.

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A retailer is expected to repair or replace a defective item (free of charge) for up to 6 years after the sale if the problem is due to an 'inherent fault'. (i.e. if the problem was caused by poor quality parts or by poor manufacturing standards).

For the first 6 months after purchase, there is an automatic assumption (unless there is clear evidence to the contrary) that any defect is due to an inherent fault. Thereafter, the customer must show that (based upon the balance of probabilities) the most likely cause of the problem is an inherent fault.

You've got two problems. Firstly, the foregoing doesn't apply to expendable items. (e.g. you can't buy a car and expect the vendor to keep replacing the wiper blades for 6 years). It might well be argued that the parts which create ignition are not really expected to last 6 years.

Secondly, it could be hard to show that the problem is due to an inherent fault. There are other possible causes, after all this time, why the gas fire might not light. (I had a new gas fire fitted, because I couldn't get a small spare part for the old one. It worked for one day before the cat piddled on it and it's never worked again!).

Apart from your rights relating to defects caused by inherent faults, you've got no claim against the retailer. Thousands of people bought Betamax video recorders and then found that they were useless because the format wasn't supported. Thousands more have bought HD DVD machines, only to find that Blu-ray has won the battle and their machines will be redundant. Others bought Kodak Instant Picture cameras, only to find that they couldn't buy film for them because Polaroid took legal action against Kodak. Not one of those customers had any rights against the retailers. Unfortunately, you're almost certainly in a similar position.

Chris
Brilliant answer, Chris.
You may be pleased to hear that fuel effect fires ltd purchased trident fires some time back, fuel effect fires used tridents power flue componants and as such had to buy the company to keep their own product range in production, you are also entitled to 5 years reasonable wear and tear on your fire, except for perishable componants such as pilot assmeblys and ceramic/ fibre based parts.

Fuel effect fires (FEF) can be contacted on:
01246 823333
Question Author
Thanks to both for the answers, especially wdyhollywood. I have rung FEF, who have confirmed they have taken over Trident. They can supply spares, dependant on the make and model, and are optimistic of suplying a spare for my Trident Excel. I have contacted my retailer (who did not know FEF had finally taken over Trident, although thay did know it was a possibility). They will get their service engineer to visit next week to do a service/investigation, and then hopefully identify and obtain the required spare(s) from FEF and fix the fire. I will keep you informed. Again many thanks.

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