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Which? has carried out an undercover investigation on high street electrical shops and found they are conning us by illegally refusing to take responsibility for faulty goods.

The consumer champion went to ten major stores with a broken video recorder, 18 months old, and found that eight of them refused to accept it, putting the onus on manufacturers. Those who failed included Comet, Currys, Dixons and Tempo.

So what's this all about? Apparently, under UK law, shops that supply you with goods not of satisfactory quality are obliged to take them back anything up to six years later. However, when the VCR was touted about, assistants waffled on about one-year guarantees and refused to have anything to do with it. A few offered warrantees and all that, but if anyone doesn't know by now that these are a complete rip-off, they need shooting.

Anyway, this is supposed to get us all foaming at the mouth with indignation but quite frankly this law doesn't make any sense. The law is based on whether they last as long as they can be reasonably expected to. And let's be honest, modern electrical goods are designed to fall apart or blow up exactly one year after they are bought. That way we have to buy another one and everyone's happy (because buying things makes you happy, because you're a capitalist).

If someone walked into the Reg store and with a five-year-old PC and told us if was our responsibility to sort it out, we'd joint point and laugh. Quite right too.

Still, if you're spoiling for a fight with irritating shop assistants this weekend, here's your chance. ®

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