Dixons Retail has forked out £59m to convince German venture capitalist mutares AG to take loss-making web shop PIXmania off its hands. And so ends the retail firm's costly flirtation with the online gadget souk seven years after it coughed €266m for a 77 per cent stake in the biz and a little over a year after it bought the …
No great loss
I've never known anyone to say anything pleasant about their returns process. I bought a camera from them for my parents which packed up after 3 months, I duly sent it over to Paris (you have to) which cost £22, where it was examined by Canon, who produced an entire report saying that it wasn't covered under warranty. When I queried what exactly was wrong that it wasn't covered under warranty Pixmania said that they would email me the report but it would cost £20, so I asked for the camera back, that'll be £30 postage please. Eventually I just gave up and bought my parents a new camera, far easier than dealing with that bunch of rip off merchants.
Re: No great loss
Lloyd, disputes over distance consumer sales within the EU are always triable in the courts of the country in which the consumer made the purchase. You're also covered by s75 of the Consumer Credit Act: if you paid by credit card and it was more than £100, your card provider would be jointly liable for the whole purchase price less a pro-rata deduction for use of the item based on fair expected lifetime (which is anything up to six years depending on the price paid). You may have a retrospective claim against your credit card provider - often they just cough up straight away over the phone. Alternatively, principles of European consumer law are virtually identical between major western European countries, both have to follow, e.g. the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and a minimum period of two years of 'conformity to contract', i.e suitability, and often durability etc are required of consumer goods across the EU.
In reality, under accepted international norms of contract law, you were owed a warranty AND the ordinary protections of the consumer law of France and the EU (as well as the s75 protections mentioned above): indeed this is precisely what you paid for, and weren't granted. These are very simple facts you can bring to a small claims court in the UK for a fee of £20. Bring the whole story. Provide the evidence you already have, and no more. And I do believe the judge will poo all over Pixmania and grant your claim against them, which you can then have fun enforcing, either through a bailiff or other means. That's if ringing your credit card provider and telling them what happened, won't work.
All of this assumes you didn't drop/abuse the camera, of course.
Re: No great loss
Of course I am being a bit reckless here in not warning you that the judge will decide what happened on a balance of probabilities, i.e. what was likely to have been true. So if there is any reason why he might think you used the thing as a football, you might not have any luck.
A claim would be on the basis that the item failed to fulfil minimum standards of reasonable durability. By swearing in court that the thing was treated with care, you've probably travelled most of the route of establishing that.
I had pix-mania take over 30 days to ship 2 monitors they said were in stock. this is after phoning up and complaining every day for 2 weeks after the initial ship date came and went.
I'm generally not a person who get happiness from companies going under go out of business but I may make an exception.
Never really trusted them
After they insisted on customers sending copies of their passports when making an order.
I bought a TV from Pixmania, 8 years ago. Cheaper than any local ships, postage included. Still going strong (unfortunately, I'm looking for an excuse to replace it :) ). YMMV
Dixons comes across as an acquirer with no skill...
I'd have given it a go for just £50m
I like these business arrangements, but wish I'd known about it.
For just £50m, I'd have gladly taken on the company and done my best to turn it around. First I'd make sure to make myself the boss and pay myself a modest salary, and then get my friends and family to help out (all on modest salaries too - certainly no more than six figures).
We'd then all try our best at running the company for a few months before realising it was harder than we expected (well, if Dixons couldn't do it how could we?), claim a few expenses, sell off some stock cheap to another business and let it fold.
Of course, the above was a joke as it's in no way how any other business would do things when given a wad of cash to rescue a business!
"And so ends the retail firm's costly flirtation with the online gadget souk seven years after it coughed €266m for a 77 per cent stake in the biz and a little over a year after it bought the remaining shares for €10m."
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