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Title: Faulty Helmet

Date: 10 July 2013

Question

In November 2011 I bought a Schuberth C3 helmet. I tried various sizes and the salesman helped me to select the correct size by showing me how to twist the helmet and try to rock it on my head. When we were both satisfied with the fit I bought the helmet (size 56/57).

In March 2012 I wore it on the bike for the first time.

I discovered that the catches which hold the flip front shut did not engage when closing it with one hand, although at point of purchase and at home, it had closed and locked when I had used two hands to close it. As months went by it didn’t get better, so I looked closely and found that wearing the helmet pushed the shell’s cheek “wings” outward, preventing the locking mechanisms on the hinged section from engaging the pegs on the shell. This was clearly not safe so I contacted Schuberth.

They told me that the 56/57 shell was also used for size 58/59, a larger size which had less padding and thinner cheek pads. They recommended that I bought a set of the thinner 58/59 cheek pads. So I bought a set and fitted them but it was no better and the front would still not lock in the “one-handed operation” contrary to the claims in their literature.

Following much correspondence and personal visits the result of their investigations is that there is “nothing wrong with it” and I “shouldn’t have bought it if it didn’t fit!” They ignored the fact that their salesman had led me to select that size.

What can I do?

Mr P, by e-mail

Answer

I would suggest before any legal action is contemplated that you (if not done so already) send a formal complaint letter to the seller and the manufacturer setting out the safety problems you have found and a chronology of the events. It does seem that you have been a victim of poor service and a strongly worded complaint letter may provide you with either a refund or a satisfactory replacement.

If this is not successful you are entitled to make a claim in the small claims track. Unfortunately, when the loss suffered amounts to less than £10,000.00 a solicitor is unlikely to take the claim on as they will not be entitled to their costs. However the small claims track is relatively user friendly and to start a claim you will need to pay the issue fee of £60.00 and follow the process detailed here: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.

In the event you are not successful you will only lose your issue fee and potentially the opponent’s legal fees of £80.00.

I can however anticipate a strong legal argument which may arise against your claim. You did try the helmet on and although I understand you were aided by the salesmen you did chose to buy the product and as you state yourself you were satisfied with the fit at the point purchase. A judge may rule that you had an adequate opportunity to test the operation and fit of the helmet and as such you are not afforded protection under Section 14 (implied term about fitness and quality) of the Sale of Goods Act.

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