COVID-19 EU/UK Home Trialling

COVID-19 EU/UK Home Trialling

I’ve noticed that some manufacturers or their agents are posting articles to Facebook Groups indicating that products can be home trialled, under new schemes, with dealers closed. A brilliant time to be doing so, with so much time at home!

Clearly the HiFi market needs to be kept buoyant during these tough times and what better way to be trying HiFi now! A lot of HiFi should be tried at home anyway…I’m testing out some headphones myself at the moment – the brilliant LDAC Bluetooth capable Sony WH-1000XM3 ,which I’ll be reviewing soon as well.

The premise of home trialling being a new scheme, is not so. So I thought I’d produce this quick article for reasons of eliminating undue prominence and presenting a neutral view, for the benefit of consumers who may want to try products of those brands with no such stated home trial schemes. Also for other manufacturers who may stand to loose out to consumers who may only buy products included in these schemes, and not know regulations (or need a refresh on them)…….

COVID-19 EU/UK Home Trialling
COVID-19 EU/UK Home Trialling

Distance selling rules in the UK/EU allow consumers the right to cancel orders for a FULL refund if they have bought them online or over the phone and have not had a chance to physically inspect goods. In the EU, directives apply to ALL EU countries, so be sure to check the local rules where you are.

In the UK, The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations (2000) no longer applies in UK law, and were replaced by The Consumer Contracts Regulations (2013). The new law allows you to cancel your order 14 days after receiving the goods for a FULL refund, with no reasons being needed to be provided. This will include where you have tested the products, akin to home trial.

Sometimes dealers will say they charge a restocking fee if you use a product, but in the UK this is illegal and falls foul of the 2013 legislation and the intention to allow home trials of products that can’t be used or trialled in store.

COVID-19 EU/UK Home Trialling

If you bought something and you get a batch of goods, then time runs from when you received the last item of the batch. These rules don’t apply to easily perishable items like CDs, once you remove the seal. Clearly HiFi products are not perishable, but quite obviously the products do need to be returned in the same condition.

As part of these stated home trial schemes, HiFi dealers or manufacturers or their agents may extend the time periods, so check the terms and conditions as to what is included.

My view is that home trialling is almost essential for premium Audiophile HiFi, regardless of the coronavirus predicament. The reason being that the room plays such an important part in how products sound.

So long as the brand you want is in stock at the moment, and the product can be distance sold to you whether involving a dealer or not, why not try! It matters not that there is a stated scheme or not….so long as you are serious about trying and buying…..Go for it!

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Written by Simon Price

I'm an audio lover who likes sharing experiences of faithfully reproduced audio in a CREDIBLE, BALANCED and ENGAGING way. I’m interested in products; their looks, functionality and features, and most importantly how they sound! My reviews keep technicalities easy, as I believe great audio is non exclusive and to be enjoyed by all! It's all about the music!

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