Helpdesk: What are my rights if my new mobile phone fails to work?

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Q: I recently bought a new mobile phone with a new contract, but have since discovered several problems with it.

“There are clearly some software issues (it crashes and freezes all the time) and I can’t even get reception at home. I called my mobile phone provider, who said I should go to the shop I bought it from and they would give me a replacement.

“However, when I went to the shop they said they would send my handset away for repair rather than replacing it. What are my rights? I just want a phone that works!”

SW, Midlothian

A: A spokeswoman for Citizens Advice Scotland said: “If you bought the phone six months ago or less and there’s something wrong with it, your mobile phone provider should accept that there was something wrong at the time of sale. Unless it’s really obvious you caused the problem yourself, the company should offer to put things right. In practice, this usually means repairing or replacing the goods.

“It’s OK for the company to do either of these, but your terms and conditions may specify that they’ll try to repair it before replacing it. Check your terms and conditions to see what the policy is for repairing or replacing faulty phones. If it states that you’re entitled to a repair before they’ll consider a replacement, you can ask for a spare phone to tide you over while it gets repaired – you might have to show that it’s really inconvenient for you to be without your phone, though.

“So – check your terms and conditions and if you don’t manage to get a satisfactory outcome, write to the company recorded delivery setting out what has happened and what you want them to do.

“If you need any further advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.”

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