After consulting and gathering legal information I finally threatened my retailer (http://www.LaptopsDirect.co.uk
) with court action and a fine, and they instead decided to give me a partial refund settlement out of court, given that I've had good use out of it for 15 months (fair enough). They wouldn't repair the laptop, so a partial refund was the only option.
Because I had had the 15 months of normal use out of the laptop before it died, the partial refund was calculated from that. Two years is the claimed lifespan of a laptop. However, I finally managed to claim back £575 from the £1169 figure originally paid, which is just under half of the original amount. Unfortunately the laptop also had to be sent back to them as part of the deal, which sucks, so I can't sell the laptop for spare parts, even.
Basically, for all Europeans, there is a little known law called the "Sale of Goods Law 1979 (as ammended)", which states that consumers have legal rights for up to six years for defects not relating to wear or tear for any products purchased under European Law, this apparently being the responsibility of the retailer ('LaptopsDirect' in my case) and not the manufacturer ('Fujitsu'). This is separate to the Guarantee/Warranty, as you are still protected by the SoG law (as mentioned for up to six years from the point of sale) even after the warranty has expired.
This allows you to obtain a repair or partial refund where you've had normal use of the goods for a while. A full refund is only ever possible if the goods are found to be defective immediately after buying them, or after little use, and that the relevant parties were informed and challenged quickly upon finding the defect. Once you are deemed to have 'accepted' the goods, your rights are limited in the first instance to claiming a repair or possibly a replacement or partial refund. Additionally, any defect that has been caused as a result of misuse or mere wear and tear will not have a legal claim under the SoG Act. "Consumables" (such as batteries, etc.) are not covered, either.
However, in this case with the M3438G, it appears that there is a severe and inherent defect with the graphics card and the thermal module on the Fujitsu Amilo M3438G laptop, and is NOT user-related NOR normal "WEAR AND TEAR". - To date, I have seen and know of 20 DIFFERENT people with the EXACT same problem with the EXACT same model of laptop, from several forums (Amilo-Forum, NotebookForums, NotebookReview, and of course this Fujitsu-Siemens Support forum). If this is but a cross-section of M3438G users with the problem, it's highly likely there are many other sufferers out there, too.
M0rt, a fellow user on these forums, had the exact same fault with his M3438G and had it repaired (luckily under warranty) by Fujitsu. He kindly gave me the official Fujitsu engineer's repair report after it was repaired and sent back to him, and he has given permission to show it, as displayed below. I have censored personal data.
The faults are circled.
Regards the legal aspects, if you are in the UK, then http://www.ConsumerDirect.gov.uk
give excellent advice to initiate formal complaints, lobbying for an early result, and will then otherwise pass you on to Trading Standards if the response from the retailer is negative, who will then take over your case and advise you further.
So basically it's about chasing up the retailer rather than Fujitsu themselves to get the problem fixed.
(continued next post, due to forum message size limitation...)