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Case 360 - DIY Store unable to give customer product advice

Issue

The enquirer was in a DIY store and asked for some advice on which spotlights to buy as her electrician had given her a connection block size and she wanted to know where to look for the connection box. She also wanted some general advice on what the difference was between various spotlights on the shelf. The store assistant said he could not give any advice due to health and safety because if he did and then the enquirer relied on it and something went wrong he would be liable.

Panel opinion

Nothing in health and safety at work regulations prevents shop assistants providing product information. This company has a general policy that staff do not give detailed advice on matters that they feel are technical in nature unless they are trained to do so – but they do employ an electrician part-time in store to do this. Instead of explaining this policy or involving the electrician, the assistant gave the less than illuminating excuse of ‘health and safety’.

2015-05-12