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In August of 2022 I purchased an electric bike to get me to and from work. The cost was £2600.

It was ordered from Europe and delivered to the UK. I had to take a day off from work to receive the bike. I am self-employed and, as such, if I’m not working I don’t get paid.

On the 17th day of possession, on my way to work, the bike suddenly lost its electrical power. It was fully charged.

It is still possible to ride the bike but, without the electrical assistance it became unusable in practice. A journey that was normally taking me under 30 minutes, became a 110 minute journey on the day it failed.

I contacted the company. I couldn't find a telephone number so communication was via email.

Over the next ten days I was asked to take numerous photos and to dry terminals etc but none of the suggestions fixed the issue. They didn’t send anyone out to attempt to resolve the problem or even offer such a solution.

I had to get a taxi to and from work during this time. I was doing this before I purchased the bike as I leave home before public transport is available.

The company offered a 14 day, no quibble, refund should I not be happy with it. After the 10 day of failed fixing attempts, I asked to be refunded and was informed that this was not possible as it was three days out of the 14 day period.

Fortunately, I paid for the item via PayPal. I contacted them and opened a dispute. I sent them all the email correspondence and they found in my favour and reimbursed me.

The bike company contacted me to arrange collection. I informed them that that was not a problem but it had to be the weekend, as both myself and my partner worked all week. I could not afford to take further time off work.

The collection company they use will not come to my address at weekends! They insist on arriving every Thursday morning when nobody is home. I’m aware of this because they leave cards and phone messages.

I informed both companies that I would not have any time off until Christmas. Despite this they continued to send someone to my address every Thursday. When I did have time off, there was no correspondence or attempt to make a collection.

By now I was a little peeved and I sent an email to the company stating that I was not going to correspond with them any further unless I received notification that it was to be collected on a weekend.

They kept sending somebody on Thursdays and then asked if I could meet the collection company somewhere more convenient to themselves! They wanted me to take the bike to work again and meet somebody there. I have since purchased a non-electric bike to get to work so informed them that this was not possible.

It is almost 6 months since I reported the defective bike and it is still taking up room in my small dwelling. I’m afraid to leave it outside just in case it gets damaged or stolen. It’s a lot of money for me to lose.

My questions are: how long do I have to keep the bike in storage when I have made every attempt to return it? Am I entitled to remuneration for the taxis I had to take for the 10 days?

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    I think your question is on-topic here (others may disagree), but you might get a better answer on law.stackexchange.com as going a bit more into precise details of the law around rejected goods and compensation. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 14:30
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    You haven't made "every attempt to return it," if you had, you'd have found a weekday at some point in the last 6 months that would have worked for them to collect it. No, you're not entitled to compensation for taxi rides.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 14:30
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    Rants are not on-topic. Finally, at the very end, you ask a legal question.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 16:50
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    There's lots of things you haven't tried yet. Leave the bike with a neighbour. Lock the bike somewhere the collector can get at it. Get someone to take it to work for you. Get the collectors to pick it up before you go to work or after you get home. Get someone you know to sit in your house on a Thursday and give them the bike. Offer to deliver the bike to the HQ of the collection company. I could go on. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 17:22
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    You mentioned telling them you wouldn't have any time off till Christmas, but there has now been one Christmas since you rejected the bike. Why didn't they manage to collect it then? Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 0:53

3 Answers 3

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My questions are: how long do I have to keep the bike in storage when I have made every attempt to return it?

I would say until you return it. From the story you described it doesn't sound like you've made every attempt to return it, quite the opposite. You don't really need to go above and beyond to allow the company to collect it, but do be honest with yourself when you're making such a claim.

Am I entitled to remuneration for the taxis I had to take for the 10 days?

No. I'd also suggest that you may owe that company some money for their repeated efforts to collect the bike and your repeated refusals to cooperate.

Expecting others to work on the weekends is unreasonable. Take 2 hours off and be there one Thursday when they come to pick it up.

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    @user253751 last time I checked the UK had pretty solid labor laws and quite extensive social safety network. In any case, the OP is self-employed, so the decision when to work is entirely up to them (that's the definition of "self-employed")
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 16:44
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    You don't have to make "every attempt to return it". Not in the UK. You have to allow the company to pick up the bike at a time that is convenient to you. And meanwhile you have to keep the bike in s safe place.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 17:54
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    @gnasher729 I'm not familiar with the UK consumption laws on the matter, I was just responding to the OPs claim. They may not have to make every effort, but they claimed they did - and I don't think that claim holds water.
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 18:00
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    @user253751 Nobody, and I mean nobody, takes 2 hours off work for an extremely valid reason and then loses their home and their life. Be realistic please...
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 0:27
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    @user253751 If taking 2 hours off would lose your home, then don't spend £2600 on a bike!
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 1:47
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Formally speaking, you've exercised a short-term right of rejection for faulty goods under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as you did so within 30 days.

s20 states:

(7)From the time when the right is exercised— (a)the trader has a duty to give the consumer a refund, subject to subsection (18), and (b)the consumer has a duty to make the goods available for collection by the trader or (if there is an agreement for the consumer to return rejected goods) to return them as agreed.

The only legal case or other reference I can find that touches on what exactly is meant by "the consumer has a duty to make the goods available for collection by the trader" is Johnston and Johnston versus R&J Leather (Scotland) Limited.

It's quite an extreme example of a retailer being difficult about collection, so not exactly the same as your situation. Also there are different legal jurisdictions in the UK - Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. Though the Consumer Rights Act applies nationwide, other aspects of the legal background may vary if you're in a different jurisdiction to Scotland where this case was. However it's likely to be at least relevant to any court in the UK and is still useful reading:

[29] The duty to make the goods available cannot be without limit of time or unqualified. In considering the nature and extent of the duty to retain goods which have been rejected, the court is entitled to take into account a number of factors, including but not restricted to

  • the timescale within which rejection was intimated;
  • the nature of the goods;
  • the practicality of providing storage;
  • the nature, extent and frequency of communications sent by the consumers to the seller;
  • any response, or lack of response, from the sellers;
  • the length of time for which goods were retained; and
  • whether proceedings have been raised.

[30] It may be necessary, or at least appropriate, in some cases for the consumer to intimate that, in the absence of removal, the goods will be otherwise disposed of. But circumstances may arise in which the actings (or inaction) of the seller are in such terms as to entitle the consumer to do as he or she wishes.

So in your case this will come down to an assessment of whether you have behaved reasonably in making the goods available for collection only at a weekend. If it genuinely would cost you money to make them available on a Thursday, you would probably be in the right here. But maybe you should more seriously consider other options and propose them to the seller, such as those mentioned in the comments on your question.

Am I entitled to remuneration for the taxis I had to take for the 10 days?

Maybe. Your argument for this is weakened by the fact that you were taking taxis before buying the bike. On the other hand you might argue that if not for buying the bike from them, you would have bought something elsewhere earlier. As a matter of practicality, if they are not based in the UK then you will find it difficult to pursue them for that money anyway.

Overall I think you would be taking a bit of a risk to dispose of the bike, but the risk diminishes over time and if you can demonstrate you really have made every reasonable effort to make it available for collection. You should certainly warn them before you dispose of it. It might also be an idea to tell them you'll start charging for storage if they don't collect it soon.

I would recommend continuing to chase them, if only to create a paper trail you can later rely on. When you write to them:

  • Remind them that you have been trying to sort this out for months.
  • That you consider them responsible for having supplied faulty goods in the first place.
  • Outline the costs you want to claim (taxi fares, maybe storage) and explain why.
  • Emphasise the constraints on collection and encourage them to find alternatives, maybe suggest some of your own.
  • Note that you cannot store it indefinitely and that you will reluctantly have to dispose of it if no other solution is forthcoming.
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You are an "involuntary bailee" under the Torts (Interference With Goods) Act. If you want to get rid of the bike, you have to write to them telling them that if they don't collect the bike, you will sell it.

If they still don't collect it, then you can sell the bike for a fair price (so no selling it to a friend for £1). The money you make belongs to the bike company.

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    They have attempted to collect it. However the OP has not handed it over when they come to collect it. No court is going to find for someone who has attached difficult conditions to the collection. Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 19:09
  • "Come at a weekend" is not a particularly difficult condition. Many delivery companies operate at weekends, they just might charge more money for it. Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 20:15
  • I spent a while trying to figure out whether the OP is an involuntary bailee or not. I'm confused about whether the clause in the CRA about making it available (that I quoted in my answer) trumps that or not. Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 20:22

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