CHOICE membership

Dick Smith / Kogan

Online purchase of Elliptical Cross Trainer.

On second day of use, acute knee pain and lower back pain developed in the user (my slim wife).

She asked me to adjust the seat etc to alleviate the stress on her knees and back.
However, any adjustment causes the seat to move the body further away from the handlebars, which exacerbates the pressure on the lower back as the user leans further forward.

But in the lowest position, the knees are bent at way too an acute angle, causing the end of femur bone to press hard into the knee cap (patella) eventually causing very sharp pain.

As a registered nurse of 38 yrs experience, I spotted that the machine is poorly designed.
The user should NOT have to lean out so far to grasp the handlebars, and any seat adjustment to give relief to knees, should NOT move the user further away from handlebars. Humans do not have the arm reach of an Orangutan.

I contacted Dick Smith and they agreed initially to refund the machine on return.
Before I could send it, they emailed to say they wouldn’t refund because the machine is not damaged or faulty, but we could have a store credit.

Meanwhile if we do send the machine back, we would have paid a total of $110 freight (more probably as we do not get the discount rates that Dick Smith enjoys for bulk parcel mail-outs.)

The issue we have is that under the terms of the contract, we had no option other than to say “I’ve changed my mind.” But the reason we changed our mind is that the machine has a design fault (in my opinion) and is not fit for the purpose for which we bought it.

My reason for posting here is two-fold:

  1. To warn users of similar situations where a heavy item is ordered, and return would cost as much as
    a third of the item cost.
  2. To alert potential purchasers to the terms of refund: that you may not get your money back, but be
    asked to accept store credit if the item was not damaged or faulty at delivery.

So currently we are stuck with a machine we cannot use and no way to get a refund.

Has anyone else had such an experience with Dick Smith/Kogan in general, or more specifically with heavy Health & Body (Gym) equipment - items that are costly to return"
Ivan

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It is a difficult one and appreciate you possibly spent a significant amount on the Elliptical Cross Trainer.

While in your own circumstances the design may not suit your own bodies causing pain aggravation, a product is unlikely to be designed to suit all uses or each user. This is why when purchasing some products is it best to try before one buys to make sure that the design suits one’s own body and particular use.

Using another example, say you bought a pair of shoes without trying them on and after wearing them you find that the shoe rubs on your corn causing pain. If you found this would be the case, would the shoe have a design fault or would the shape of your own foot with corns possibly the cause the trouble you are finding? This will possibly answer your question in relation to whether the Elliptical Cross Trainer was generally fit for purpose or whether it is a major fault under the Australian Consumer Law.

I tend to agree that the issue is a change of mind rather than a major fault under the Australian Consumer Law. Dick Smith/Kogan can rightly implement their own change of mind policy.

If the product marketing materials/manuals etc state that it is guaranteed to suit every user and use, then this could be seen as being misleading and an avenue to pursue under the Australian Consumer Law.

There are risks with buying products online, especially products like you have bought where it wasn’t tested before purchase and it was hoped that it would be suitable for yourselves. Maybe next time with major purchases, look instore and try out the devices/appliances when making a purchase decision…and then using this to search for the best price/most convenient method of purchase.

Change of minds sit outside the ACL and Dick Smith/Kogan are within their rights to ask for you to pay for its return.

If it was fell under the ACL, it could be a different situation.

An option may be try to sell it second hand - you will take a financial hit but a least you are in control of the outcome.

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With your extensive nursing experience I’m sure you would have been aware that there is no piece of equipment is suitable for everyone because peoples’ morphology can vary hugely. Equipment suitable for you would not be equally suitable for your svelte wife, and visa versa.

As @phb has said

Unless you can point to a large number of complaints indicating that there is a design fault, I am afraid Dick Smith/Kogan’s is not liable under the ACL because your wife can not use the equipment.

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If you specifically told a sales rep that you needed a machine with a reach “not longer than…” and you were sold this one, you have a claim as not fit for purpose. If you didn’t, it’s buyer beware.

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