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Consumed By Consumer Law

, , | Right | April 8, 2022

Working with electronics, you often find out more than you ever wanted to about consumer law. One big thing I thought everyone knew about consumer law is that it is very country-specific. A few of the countries I deal with have fantastic consumer protections, and others… not so much.

During an IT repair call, we’re narrowing in on what’s wrong with the device. It looks like it needs to go in for repair.

The caller goes off suddenly.

Caller: “You’re liars because you won’t respect the consumer law for this!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

We’re currently troubleshooting to find the problem, and for a hardware issue, of course, we’d be looking to see if consumer law applied if there was no manufacturing warranty: some manufacturers have limited ones and others don’t. It gets checked at the repair places unless special circumstances apply. Unless I have specific information that tells me it will or won’t, I don’t assume either way.

He finally tells me this is something he bought in the USA. I double-check the file and it tells me he’s calling from a relatively new country; therefore, it might not have the best consumer laws yet.

Me: “I’m sorry. Where were you trying to get that device serviced?”

Caller: “[New Country], obviously!

Me: “And… I beg your pardon, where did you buy it?”

Caller: “America!”

Me: “How long ago?”

Caller: “Five years ago.”

Even if he had gotten it in [New Country], that wouldn’t likely still be considered “reasonable” in operation time, which is between two and four years for most consumer electronics. I pause to get my thoughts in order.

Me: “Just making sure here, you’re saying you want to claim consumer law on this device, that you brought in the USA, in [New Country]. US consumer law?”

Caller: “No, [New Country] consumer law.”

Me: “Sir… you… can’t. Like, when you buy the item, part of the tax on your sale goes from the company to the government. You literally did not pay that tax to [New Country]; you paid it to the US.”

Caller: “I don’t care. I’m a citizen of [New Country]. You need to respect my consumer law.”

For the next twenty minutes, I try to explain that he does not have those consumer protections because he hasn’t paid for them with this device. Finally, I just suggest that if he’s unhappy with my answer, he can go and talk to the consumer law group for [New Country]. I swear the man takes this to think he’s won something for his tone becomes unbearably sarcastic.

Caller: “Oh, thank you. I’m so, so happy someone recommended I go to them!”

Me: “Sir, I did not recommend anything. I simply said it was your right to talk with them.”

Caller: “No, no, you’ve now recommended I go talk to them, I’m going to be very happy to do so. I think they will be very interested in the recording of this call!”

Yes. I hope they are, especially when I tried to explain multiple times that you really don’t have that right. Something tells me the government workers will not have to be as polite as me when they tell him how smart he really is.

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