Last year, we bought a new blender. An attractive (as blenders go) glass jug, a Moulinex one with an ice crusher. Actually I thought it was last summer that we bought it; it was only in checking my blog that I realised it was as recently as November 2009.
The reason I wanted to know when we bought it is that it started to leak.
Actually, it leaked a tiny bit even when it was fairly new. Just a dribble; enough to be mildly annoying, but not enough to worry about. It worked well, and that's what mattered. I made soups and smoothies, and - more recently - humus and almond milk.
But the leak got worse. I thought perhaps I hadn't screwed the base part into the jug well enough when I removed it for cleaning. Then I noticed that one of the black clips holding it in place had broken. Daniel said that the gasket probably needed replacing, or at least reinforcing. I thought a gasket was a complicated part of a car engine so I was a little surprised to find that it was just a plastic ring.
Since the leaking was getting worse and worse, I thought I'd construct a suitable gasket. It was only when I tried to fit it that I realised another of the black clip things was coming loose. No wonder the base would not stay in place properly, making any liquids leak straight out.
When we realised the blender was only seven months old, we decided to take it back to Orphanides, where we bought it in the electrical department. Thanks to my rough and ready filing techniques (at least I keep everything of this kind) I managed to find the receipt fairly easily. I even found the original box it came in. We showed the saleswoman what the problem was, and she agreed that it was broken. At only seven months old, it was well within the two-year warranty. Richard filled in a pink slip thing, and the woman said she would phone in about ten days. She said it would be mended.
I was a little disappointed as I'd hoped either for a replacement or a refund (enabling us to buy a new one) - but it was only fair to allow them to attempt to mend it first. Not that we thought it could possibly be mended.
So, for a couple of weeks I used the not-so-good blender that works with the food processor.
Two weeks after we'd taken it in, I commented that we hadn't heard anything about the blender. 'Ah!' said Richard, 'I forgot. They phoned a few days ago and said it was ready. About twenty euros...'
Twenty euros? For something under warranty? That seemed a bit excessive. And despite it being a remarkably busy day yesterday (supermarket shop at 9am - NOT at Orphanides but Metro; bring-and-share lunch for 20 at our house to say farewell to some colleagues; other friends invited for an evening meal....) we thought we'd better go and collect the repaired blender at once.
The blender was there. There was a young man in charge this time, who showed us the repair - which in fact was a completely new jug -part. With all three black clips intact. 'Twenty-three euros', he said.
'But it's only seven months old,' Richard protested. 'It should still be under warranty'.
'Ah,' said the young man. 'The warranty covers electrical faults. If you just scratch the jug, that's your fault and not covered.'
'But we didn't scratch it,' Richard told him.
I really don't like protracted discussions of this sort so I wandered off to look at some other things in the shop. Five minutes later, I saw the young man on the phone talking animatedly in Greek. Another five minutes later, and Richard had the blender - and didn't have to pay anything. Evidently it was worth arguing. The young man had told him he couldn't do anything, because it wasn't an electrical problem. So Richard had asked to speak to the managing director. The young man called his supervisor, who apparently said it was fine, and no, we didn't need to pay anything.
It's good to know that consumer rights are upheld in Cyprus, at least sometimes, if one pushes hard enough.
It's also very good to have a fully-functioning blender.