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7 responses

  1. Laura Diggle


    we bought a £700 tent in March and there were problems with the poles not coming apart without extreme force. We asked for an exchange and exchanged for a different tent of the same brand. we went camping in cornwall in august and after 2 days the awning broke and the tent flysheet ripped. we contacted the company with details and dates, they said there was nothing they could do because when we were camping there was ‘severe’ weather and they also suggested that we tensioned our guy ropes too tightly. I replied, arguing that other tents in our field withstood the weather well, including cheap tents. Also we have camped in worse weather in our previous tent without problems. The retailer then said they would contact the manufacturer who refused to admit fault but offered to foot half the repair bill. Is this the best we can expect? We are so disappointed in the tent that we do not want to go camping in it again, we would only try to sell it after repair, to try to recoup some of the money.


    • George

      No this is not the best you can expect. As you can see from my article above the Sale of Goods Act covers you in this respect. For the first 6 months the onus is on the retailer to prove that the goods are of satisfactory quality, not on you to prove that they are not! The retailer has to prove that the guys ropes were too tight and that the weather conditions were so serve that the no reasonable tent could withstand that. After the six month period the onus is on you to prove the tent had an inherent fault.

      If the retailer is not prepared to refund your money then take them to court. The threat of small claims action should be enough to change the retailer mind. It wouldn’t cost you much to raise an action, in fact you can start it online if it is for a fixed amount. More info about Small Claims.

      The things is if the retailer is being intransigent then you have to show him that you know your rights and, not only that, you are willing to pursue the matter further. Your claim is certainly not vexatious so it would definitely go to court if the retailer didn’t give you your money back. So go back armed with this info and see what he says.


  2. Stuart Rae

    We decided to purchased a new tent for the weekend just past. We’re a small family of 3 and had previously camped in my small 3 man tent which I’ve had for years. However 3 people in a 3 man tent can get rather cramped to say the least, especially when there’s the possibility of rain or showers. We decided to take advantage of the special offers on the go to purchase a family sized tent in time for the weekend.

    I purchased the tent from an outdoor shop in my local town. Unfortunately they didn’t have the one I wanted in stock, although I could have ordered one, but I wanted it in time for the weekend, as we were booked onto a site with some friends. However I decided to purchase a similar sized one of a different make on the recommendation of the shop assistant, which was cheaper, and not my preferred make (though I was assured it was of good quality).

    Ideally we would have tried erecting the tent prior to going on a camping trip, but that wasn’t possible on this occasion. Whilst pushing the poles through the cover sheet to erect it for the first time, the wind got up slightly and blew the sheet. There was a ripping sound, and we noted that the sheet was caught at the joint of one of the poles, catching and snagging the material as it was blown in the wind. The rip was relatively small and is possibly repairable, and we were able to carry on and erect it fully. Taking the tent down and going home wasn’t an option as 1/ we’d paid for the site 2/ travelled over 40 miles to get there. 3/ It would have spoiled the entire weekend for all concerned! 4/ It was well after 4pm on Saturday afternoon and we’d never have made it back before the shop closed in any case.

    The tent stood the elements fine for the night and was dismantled the following morning without further incident. It is ironic that it turns out that our friends tent is the exact same make and model that I had wanted to purchase (but was out of stock) in the shop. We also noted that there’s was of a better quality, better finished off and has a higher waterproof rating etc.

    Our friends had exactly the same thing happen to them when purchasing a previous tent, and got their money back okay before going online to purchase their current one. I’ve now heard similar stories from others. Everyone has advised us to return the tent to the shop and ask to order and pay for the upgrade of the one I actually wanted in the first place, as the tent should never have ripped so easily on the first and only time we’ve used it.

    Unfortunately the shop are saying that they can either send the tent away for repair, or we can repair it ourselves. They are not prepared to negotiate a replacement or upgrade – unless they find a ‘true’ fault on closer inspection!

    I’ve left it with the shop to get back to me and let me know what is happening, but have been assured that it’s very unlikely that I will get my preferred choice of replacing it with the better quality tent (I’m more than happy to pay the difference!). My wife (who needs a bit of persuading to go camping in the first place) is now saying that she won’t trust this tent again even if they do repair it. Therefore it’s already doomed after spending one night in it. She also noted the quality improvement in our friends tent.

    Where do we stand? I could just accept what the shop says, but in my opinion it shouldn’t rip before we’ve even got it up for the first time. Packing it up as soon as the accident happened and returning it to the shop wasn’t an option for the reasons stated above, though I suspect that the shop may be taking the view that we shouldn’t have carried on with it once the fault was discovered. I’m expecting a phone call from the shop and would like to know my rights as it’s almost certain they will try to ‘fob me off’.

    Thanks for any assistance.


    • George

      Well your rights are that the goods must be of satisfactory quality, free from minor defects, fit for purpose. If the goods are not so then you can claim for your money back. The first 6 months of the life of the product the onus is on the retailer to prove that the goods were of satisfactory quality etc. So if you decide to take the retailer to court he would have to prove that the tent was of satisfactory quality etc when you purchased it. To do this he would have to firstly appear at small claims court and provide evidence to prove this. This obviously has a cost not only in time to the retailer in terms of time but also he would have to probably have to hire an expert and a lawyer. Being that you could take an action in the small claims court your cost levels are considerably lower. The reason that I mention all this is that this puts you a position to negotiate with the retailer. If he thinks that you would almost certainly take him to court then he may well either refund or replace/repair the tent just to get you out of his hair.


  3. Stuart Rae

    Thanks for the quick resposnse. I haven’t hears anything further yet.


  4. mr shawn frizzell

    hi there my sister in law whom has mental ilness purchased a 900 pound tent after erecting it in her garden to see how it goes she took it away with her and her boyfreind for a single night ,unfortunately the night there was inclement weather and she found water ingress and a flooded bathtub floor ,upon returning she spoke to the retailer and they blank refused to reimberse her or replace it because it is now used and has dirt on it ,unhappy with that she also contacted the manufacturer but they told her she needs to obtain a rreport of the tents issues from a third party , i contacted one of the larger retailers/ speciallists in this part of the world and they told us under warenty rules thye should honour the rules ,now we have no idea what to do as she will not pay out for an inspection and she does not have transport to get to any speciallist.
    i personally would chase up the retailer and ask them to follw the comsumer rights The Sale of Goods Act 1974 and see where it gets her ,as she suffers mental health i think i am going to have to do this for her but i fear they will not talk to me as i wasnt the purvchaser ?.


    • George

      Definitely would recommend returning it but your rights are now under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – same as the SOGA. Goods must be fit for purpose and free from minor defects.


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