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Message 1 of 12

BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

                Six months ago I purchased a BT Branded Broadband Extender from the BT Online Shop. This “failed” in January and I have since then been trying to get it replaced under warranty.  The process is totally flawed to the point where I wonder if they are legitimate under the Sale of Goods act? Their process seems to be



  • Then I spot, in small print on the back of the device a Helpline Number 0808 1006116. ….and someone answers almost promptly.  I explain the problem and they agree that it should be replaced and issue an “RMA” number. I ask what I should do with that and am told that I should pass it to the manufacturer.
  • When I say that it is BT there is a pause and I am asked where I got it from! The BT Online Shop..... and I am told that I should contact them!!! At which point I explode and they become concerned and helpful and say they will “put me through”.  The phone is eventually answered….and I am told that “we don’t deal with returns”. That’s it. No volunteering of another number or contact!
  • So back to the “Helpline” number.  Apologies and again they say they will “put me through”.  The phone is answered and after a few moments of conversation there is amusement at the other end.  It turns out that I have been put through to a Housing Association! Obviously any old number to get you off their back.
  • So I tried the Helpline for a third time. Slightly more sympathetic and they say that would put me through to the BT Shop if they could……but unfortunately they are closed on Friday!
  • And a fourth time at the Helpline.  I wasn’t prepared to risk another failed “transfer” so I asked to speak to their Supervisor or Manager.  I was politely told that was not possible but I could be put through to their “Complaints” line. I waited patiently and after about 20 seconds I realised I had been disconnected!


If it wasn’t so farcical and frustrating it would be funny.  How can any company treat their customers like this and survive?


So my questions is.





Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 2 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

Regardless of who the manufacturer it is BT's responsibility to repair or replace faulty goods as per the Sale of Goods Act. They are the retailer and your contract is with them not the manufacturer. It may be that BT manufacture the item but that is irrelevant as regards you returning the item. It should be returned to the BT shop.


The BT shop may suggest that you should return the item to the manufacturer, which may be a different department of BT but you are under no obligation to do so. You should return it to the BT shop, who must accept it and they should either replace the item or have it repaired.


As you appear to be getting nowhere with this the moderators of the forum have been informed of your problem. Once they have read this they may be able to help. They are a BT UK based team and if they can help they will reply via this thread asking you to contact them via a link. Once you have replied to them by the link, it can at present take up to five working days for them to re-contact you.

Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 3 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

The BT shop has nothing to do with the BT Retail arm of BT. It is in fact run by Dabs, which was bought up by the BT Group some years ago.

In effect, they are no different from Openreach, which is again, part of the BT Group.


BT is not the manufacturer of these products, in fact BT have not manufactured anything for a very long time.


The moderators on this forum would not be able to help in this instance, as its nothing to do with the phone and broadband service.


Dabs (BT Shop) normally issue you with an RMA number, which allows you to return faulty items for testing. Once they have determined that the items are faulty, they issue a replacement.


"If your goods become faulty after delivery, we will always instruct you to contact the manufacturer directly for a warranty repair or replacement. This is often the quickest way to have a fault resolved. For example in some cases, manufacturers provide a special full on-site service and/or telephone help facilities for your convenience. Alternatively you can contact us directly if the goods do not conform to the contract made between us."


Also look at para 8 and 9 of this page.


It says you can return items to them. So if you have been issued with an RMA number, then follow the instructions to return it to them for testing.




Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 4 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

Keith, You may be correct about the moderators being unable to help however the BT shop can not use the clause "If your goods become faulty after delivery, we will always instruct you to contact the manufacturer directly for a warranty repair or replacement. This is often the quickest way to have a fault resolved"


That is a breach of the Sale of Goods Act. The customer has a contract with the shop the goods were bought from, not the manufacturer.


If the customer goes down that route this can diminish their rights should any further problems arise with the goods.


Dabs terms and condition have no bearing here. It is the terms and conditions of the BT shop that count. If they are the retailer Dabs, they should not trade under the name BT shop as this would also be a breach of Consumer Law.


The only relevant T&Cs would be those shown on the BT Shop page and none of those can over ride any consumer laws.


Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 5 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

I think the problem arises because of the complexity of some items like TVs and computers. Sometimes the issue is due to customer mis-operation. Other times its easier to return items to the manufacturer direct, instead of the BT shop doing it.


For small items like wireless kit, once the product helpdesk has issued an RMA, then the BT Shop would normally accept the return.


The overall responsibility is still with the BT shop, as they were the seller.


In this particular case, I would simply request an RMA, and then send the item back to the BT shop, with a covering letter instructing them what you require, either a replacement or a refund.


Distinguished Guru
Distinguished Guru
Message 6 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

The condition of goods when new is without question the responsibility of the retailer. When a fault develops after initial acceptance by the purchaser it gets a bit more complicated and, as I understand it, EU and consumer law produce this rough timetable:


Up to 6 months - under the Sale of Goods Act a fault is generally treated as a manufacturing defect unless the supplier can show that it's down to the customer. It's the retailer's responsibility and a refund still possible.


6-12 months (assuming a 1-year manufacturer's guarantee) - onus increasingly on the customer to prove a manufacturing fault for Sale of Goods Act to apply (and that the retailer is therefore still responsible) and they are likely to have to rely on the manufacturer's guarantee (ie repair or replacement, not a refund).


12-24 months - irrespective of the manufacturer's guarantee (unless it's more than 2 years), under EU law the manufacturer must repair or replace if the customer can show they were not responsible and that the fault developed earlier than might reasonably be expected.


After 24 months - the customer has to rely on any extended guarantee.


So I think the BT Shop is trying to duck its responsibility with the headline "instruction" to return goods to the manufacturer, even though it does recant with the subsequent, disingenuous alternative to contact the Shop if the contract has been broken. There are several virtual shops with well-known names run by third-party outfits, but the BT Shop might be unique in that the third party is owned by the big name you first thought of. If it pays attention to retail customers anything like BT's other big subsidiary does, it's no wonder the OP has had the runaround!

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Recognised Expert
Message 7 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

AFAIK you have upto 6 years in England to make a claim regarding faulty products as long as you can prove there was an issue with the product at point of purchase (ie manufacturing defect)


Distinguished Guru
Distinguished Guru
Message 8 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

You have 6 years (5 in Scotland) to take a claim to court. I doubt that this means you have that long to originate a claim.

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Message 9 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act



Thanks for all the interest and constructive comments.  One of the best forums I have come across.  So where does that leave me?


  • The product is clearly BRANDED BT , but marked "Made in China" i.e the "Manufacturer" is in China...but who?!
  • Clearly my contract is with BT Shop and I should not be told to deal with the "manufacturer" .
  • Thanks for explaining Dabs involvement
  • I would love to "Return" it to BT.......but where? 
  • There is no address on the Invoice. Their email address to "Assistance", as advised in their "Contact Us", is ignored. Youv'e seen my efforts at phone contact!
  • If I send it to Dabs address I suspect it will disappear.


I think it all rather proves my point that BT are acting illegally.  Should I take them to court to get my money back?


Maybe not. I've spent enough time and effort already and there has  got to be a less frustrating and wearing way of sorting this out. But how do you get BT to react?


Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 10 of 12

Re: BT Shop avoids Sale of Goods Act

Did you read this page?


Its all done online, a bit like Amazon.


It appears that you can arrange a collection, once you get the RMA number, which is valid for 14 days.


I would just follow that process, as it not possible to contact the manufacturer in this case.