A reader’s query about a faulty Brown Thomas clock
Pricewatch: What to do with a timepiece that slows down every two years like clockwork
In giving two replacements for a clock that started running slowly, Brown Thomas went well beyond its duty. Photograph: Eric Luke
“I purchased a Newgate clock in Brown Thomas in Cork in 2011 at a cost of €100,” begins an email from a reader called Mary. Fast forward two years to 2013. The clock “started to lose time”, her mail continues. So she went back to Brown Thomas and “they agreed it was faulty and changed it for a new one”, Mary says. “By the way, it had a one-year guarantee,” she adds.
“It worked perfectly for another two years and again the same problem cropped up in 2015. I returned to Brown Thomas again and again the clock was deemed faulty and I was given a new one.”
All good so far, she says “apart from the annoyance and the hassle of having to return it”.
So, last week you’ll never guess what happened? Oh, right, you will. The clock started losing time again. For the third time, Mary went back into Brown Thomas. “This time I was told by a member of staff that they don’t stock those clocks anymore. She said she needed to speak to a manager. She returned 15 minutes later and handed me a sheet of paper with the telephone address in the UK and the email address of the manufacturer, saying that I had to contact them myself.
“I emailed customer service with my complaint. They said they couldn’t help. As a gesture of goodwill they offered me 50 per cent off another clock. Is this reasonable? Should BTs be sorting the problem? They sold it to me. I would appreciate your advice.”
Okay, here’s the thing. Mary bought the clock six years ago and paid €100 for it. In giving her two replacements, Brown Thomas went well beyond what it had to do. And the manufacturer by offering her a 50 per cent discount is also going above and beyond what it is legally obliged to do too, given the time lag between her buying the first clock and today.