THE Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Jane Hamilton will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Jane Hamilton, property expertJane Hamilton has a few tips on how to create an effective games room
GOT a gaming addict in the family? Adding a gaming room can actually increase the value of your home.
Once thought of as an expensive luxury, the rooms are increasingly popular as a way to give kids and teens a private space, or as a workspace for serious gamers who play for cash or stream on social media.
As the new PlayStation 5 launched this week, gamers including Formula 1 driver and streaming sensation Lando Norris, and YouTube star SpawnPoiint – also known as Chris Jarrett – unveiled their own gaming spaces online.
Searches for lighting design and soundproofing also soared by 47 per cent on trade site Checkatrade, with Brits rushing to transform spare rooms and garage space.
So if you want to build a gaming space of your own, here’s how to get started.
1) The room will need to be dark, so invest in a set of blackout blinds. You can pick up a basic blind from £5 from Ikea.
A darkened room helps gamers to concentrate
2) Consoles, screens and headphones mean you’ll have a tangle of cables. Get an electrician to fit new sockets at around £100 or bury cables in the wall for a sleeker style at an extra £80 cost.
3) Soundproofing allows you to play late without disturbing anyone. Budget around £35 per square metre.
4) Gaming speakers and a chair will surround you in immersive, multi-channel sound for the ultimate experience. Add a projector to add drama to your gaming and play on the big screen.
You can pick up a package from around £300 but you can pay thousands for top-end versions.
5) At around £80, a mini-fridge is an affordable luxury so snacks and drinks are within easy reach.
Buy of the week
This coastal property has a wonderful sea view
OWNING a home in Mumbles is something to shout about.
The scenic Welsh spot tops the league for coastal price rises, up 47 per cent since 2015.
This cottage needs renovation, but has a stunning sea view.
It’s on for £180,000 at zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/56272911
Deal of the week
Grab this lamp for half-price while you can
COP A load of this! Copper accessories give any home an instant update, and this industrial-style copper angled floor lamp was £25, now £12.50 at Wilko.com.
Judge Rinder, legal expert
Judge Rinder attempts to help a family dispute
Q) MY mother-in-law and sisters-in-law stopped speaking to my wife and I almost ten years ago.
Nobody told us one of the sisters died of cancer and we found out only when we visited the family grave to lay flowers for my father-in-law.
My mother-in-law is in her 90s and we do not expect to hear of her passing either.
My problem is she has my wife’s wedding dress that was kept at her house when we fell out, which she would dearly love returned.
I wrote to my mother-in-law recently and asked if she would kindly return it, suggesting a third party could act as an intermediary.
I received no contact whatsoever.
Do I have any options available to get the dress back?
I fear if she passes it may simply be thrown out by the remaining sister. Sam, Warwick
A reader’s wife is trying to retrieve his wedding dress
A) This is an extremely delicate situation.
As a matter of law, your mother-in-law is obliged to return your wife’s wedding dress and, in the meantime, to take decent care of it while it’s at her house.
So far you have done precisely the right thing by asking for the dress back and suggesting that an intermediary goes to collect it.
You could take further legal action but, given the circumstances, if your mother-in-law continues to ignore you, your options are fairly limited.
I would suggest writing to her again (as kindly as you can) asking her to confirm that the dress is being looked after.
You could apply to the small claims court to get the dress back but I’m afraid that this is probably going to be more trouble than it’s worth.
Q) I SPENT £15,000 buying a new kitchen but when we used the “own brand” washing machine for the first time it leaked from the detergent tray.
An engineer advised me it is a design fault with that machine and to ask the kitchen company for a better quality one to be installed, with me offering to pay the difference, which I did.
But the kitchen company said they would not change it as it has been installed and used and if I wanted to exchange because of the design fault I should have done so before installing it.
I cannot see how I could have possibly known it had a design fault before using it?
I have pointed out that the machine has a fault (a recognised fault within the engineering repair industry) and asked for them to take it back on that basis – they have refused and will only offer me their repair free of charge.
Do I have any rights to insist upon an exchange? Andrew, London
A) Yes, you do have a right to insist on an exchange.
You purchased the machine from the kitchen company (they supplied it to you).
According to the Consumer Rights Act, it would almost certainly be up to the kitchen company to prove that the machine did not have a defect when it was sold to you.
I don’t understand how they can possibly do this when it broke down so soon after they supplied it.
It seems to me that they are clearly required to provide you with a new machine or offer you a full refund.
I wonder whether the person you are in communication with understands the law at all.
I recommend writing to the managing director of this kitchen company and explaining the situation in the strongest terms before taking this any further. I suspect this will help.
Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion
Mel Hunter helps another reader dealing with holiday problems
Q) MY wife and I were due to fly to Barbados for a £2,000 P&O cruise on March 13, but the Government advised that anyone over 70 with underlying health conditions should not go on a cruise.
As I have high blood pressure and angina and my wife is asthmatic and diabetic, we could not travel, and tried to contact P&O many times by phone and email to tell them this.
I am still waiting for the money back from the company. I have tried phoning it on numerous occasions but the call goes to voicemail.
I managed to speak twice with a member of staff who assured me we were coming up to the top of the list, but it is now months since we should have sailed. Andy, Cheshire
A) You had serious misgivings about going on a cruise following well-reported cases of coronavirus spreading quickly through a ship.
Indeed, the day before you were due to go, official advice came out from the Chief Medical Officer urging the over-70s and vulnerable travellers not to travel on cruise ships, and for those with existing cruise travel plans to speak to the operator.
In your case this was P&O, who you’d booked with directly, and you did indeed try to contact the company many times, but to no avail.
The cruise did set sail but turned back a few days into its journey.
P&O told me you and your wife were originally categorised as a “no-show”, as the company did not receive notification of your decision not to travel before the cruise began.
This was because you couldn’t get through, despite trying many times.
With me chasing your refund, you finally got the money back, ending more than seven months of stress.
Mel Hunter helped a reader get a refund from P&O
Q) FIVE weeks after receiving my television, it developed a dark shadow at the bottom of the screen.
When I contacted John Lewis, it got on to its repairers. This was two months ago.
I phone and message John Lewis every week. I have now requested a replacement, but it said that is up to Panasonic.
Yet, the retailer is responsible. Dot, Maidstone
A) Like so many readers, you know your rights. It is indeed the retailer, John Lewis, that should have sorted this.
You have 30 days to automatically reject a faulty item. If buying online, you have 14 days after delivery to return an item, even if there’s nothing wrong with it.
As the fault started just outside the 30-day automatic right to reject the TV, the manufacturer was allowed one chance to sort this, within a reasonable time.
But with no progress after two months, you’d been more than patient and it was reasonable to ask for a replacement.
I reminded John Lewis of your rights and a new TV is on its way this week.
A John Lewis spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear of the delays experienced by Mrs Bussey.”
GOT a story? RING HOAR on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
Did you miss our previous article…