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Faulty Goods

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 12 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Faulty Goods Consumer Protection Act

It's happened to us all…you buy something at the shop, get it home and plug it in, only to discover it won't work. But under the law, there are things you can do about it.

The Law

When it comes to complaining about faulty goods, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 is quite specific. It deems that goods must be safe, fit the description that's given of them and be both of "satisfactory" quality and fit for the purpose for which they're intended. If they have to be installed or assembled, there should be adequate instructions. Finally, if you're shown a sample first, what you're sold must match that sample.

For anything purchased after October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act will apply. This act encompasses:
The Sale of Goods Act 1979
The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999

In general the information below still applies but read more about the new act here

It's worth noting that responsibility lies with the retailer, not the manufacturer. Under the law, "retailer" is any non-private seller - even retail web sites are included.

When You Find A Fault

The first thing to do if you purchase a faulty item is tell the retailer. You're allowed a "reasonable" amount of time to check that the goods are satisfactory (there's no concrete time given as "reasonable"; it means different things in different situations). The best advice is to check the item immediately and return it as soon as possible if there's a problem. If the goods aren't satisfactory, you can "reject" them and get your money back (but be aware that this right is also only for a "reasonable" time).

Instead of having your money refunded, you can accept a replacement or a repair, or even legally claim compensation (which in this case would just mean the cost of replacement or repair, effectively the same as a refund). If you allow the retailer to repair the item and it still doesn't work, you may still be able to get a refund.

After A Reasonable Time

If a fault appears after that nebulous "reasonable time" has elapsed, don't despair. If it's in the first six months, and it's not because of fair wear and tear, accidental damage or misuse, then the retailer must still repair or replace the item. If he demurs, he has to prove the item wasn't faulty in the first place, or that it couldn't be expected to last that long. Often he'll choose to replace rather than repair it.

If more than six months have gone by, things change. You might still get a repair or replacement, but now you'll have to prove that the item was faulty when you bought it if the retailer disputes your claim.

Where delivery costs are involved, the retailer has to pay them, and repairs must be carried out within a "reasonable" time. If it's impossible to replace or repair the item, you can claim a refund of some, or possibly even all, of the purchase price (depending on how much the item has been used). However, if the fault causes personal harm or damage (a fire, for instance), then it falls under "product liability," which is the manufacturer's responsibility. First, though, go to the retailer; if they're unable tell you who the manufacturer is, then the liability becomes theirs.

Second-hand, Sales and Auctions

Every right given above also applies to second-hand goods, although you do need to factor in a few things, such as the price you paid, and a lower expectation of quality.

Sale goods confer the same rights as non-sale goods. The only difference comes if the price was reduced due to a fault that was pointed out to you or should have been quite obvious. In that case you lose your rights.

The law also covers new goods bought at auction. Second-hand auction items are treated differently. They're covered only for auctions you couldn't attend. But if you could have attended, and the item's faults were publicly noted, then you lose your rights.

Finally, if you purchase an item from a private seller, most of the above rights don't apply - it's much more of a case of buyer beware. But even in a private sale, the goods can't be misrepresented to you. If that happens, then you might be able to claim compensation.

What Next?

If you have bought something that has turned out to be faulty read our guide on How to Complain before you take it back to the retailer.

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[Add a Comment]
SimonD - Your Question:
I have been struggling to get a refund from Currys for a faulty washing machine. After 8 days we found it to be faulty - switching itself off mid cycle - we reported this to Currys in writing asking for a refund using our short term right to reject. Now Currys are finally responding to me they are telling me that they:"reserve the right to confirm the fault through the channel of the authorised service agent (in this instance Samsung). From there you would be eligible for a refund/exchange."Is this accurate? Do I need to get a Samsung engineer to confirm the washing machine is faulty before I can claim a refund?

Our Response:
It it's within 30 days of purchase, you have an automatic right to reject it for a full refund. Stick to your guns and insist on this. After 30 days - but before 6 months, they retailer has to prove that an item is not faulty - and they can ask an engineer to take a look to provide evidence of this; you should not be put to any inconvenience in them doing so.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 12-Sep-18 @ 12:45 PM
I have been struggling to get a refund from Currys for a faulty washing machine. After 8 days we found it to be faulty - switching itself off mid cycle - we reported this to Currys in writing asking for a refund using our short term right to reject. Now Currys are finally responding to me they are telling me that they: "reserve the right to confirm the fault through the channel of the authorised service agent (in this instance Samsung). From there you would be eligible for a refund/exchange." Is this accurate? Do I need to get a Samsung engineer to confirm the washing machine is faulty before I can claim a refund?
SimonD - 12-Sep-18 @ 11:14 AM
I have just had a fire caused by a faulty power supply everything in my radio shack hoby room is ruined ! About 5k of equipment. Bought from retailer in last 4 weeks.What can I do to cover this cost ? Who Is liable ? Thanks urgent advice needed . Neil
Neilrigz - 12-Jun-18 @ 3:02 AM
Icecream - Your Question:
Purchased bike from tredz. Installed pedals as to their guidelines after 3 rides of less than 40 miles pedal detached whilst riding. Crank destroyed and needs replacing no threads left. Complained to be told my fault that I must have cross threaded the pedal when fitting. Offered new crank at cost price refused this but offered to take it free and I would bear cost of fitting. Told no they have now passed complaint to manufacturer

Our Response:
If it's less than 30 days since you purchased it the retailer should take it back. See our guide to the Consumer Rights Act here . You could try trading standards if you're not happy with the retailer's response.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 23-May-18 @ 3:14 PM
Purchased bike from tredz. Installed pedals as to their guidelines after 3 rides of less than 40 miles pedal detached whilst riding. Crank destroyed and needs replacing no threads left. Complained to be told my fault that i must have cross threaded the pedal when fitting. Offered new crank at cost price refused this but offered to take it free and i would bear cost of fitting. Told no they have now passed complaint to manufacturer
Icecream - 22-May-18 @ 11:51 AM
We bought our son a self-assembly fitness trainer for his birthday. He spent almost his entire birthday assembling it, only to find the computerised display doesn't actually work. It's a large showroom retailer - and I'm in no doubt we have a case to get it replaced, but it's no longer in it's original packaging and even if they replace it, we've got to spend another day assembling it. I could do with some help and advice please! Many thanks
FumingDavid - 4-May-18 @ 9:35 AM
Richi - Your Question:
Hi, we purchased a VERY expensive fireplace in November, a fault occurred with this at the end of December, and it is only now (end of March) that this is being replaced - just in time for spring, yay! The retailer/installer made some obvious mistakes in installation which gave the manufacturer wriggle room to argue that these mistakes may have caused the fault. I had asked both the retailer and the manufacturer for either guestures of goodwill to compensate us for the inconvenience (the false chimney breast has to come down to replace the unit and we have had to take numerous days off to allow for engineer visits, I also need to paint the chimney breast again). Both retailer and manufacturer have refused to provide any compensation stating the other is at fault. Write it off as experience or take action?

Our Response:
We can't advise on whether you should take action or not, but if you want compensation and the retailer is refusing, then you should try the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:15 PM
Hi, we purchased a VERY expensive fireplace in November, a fault occurred with this at the end of December, and it is only now (end of March) that this is being replaced - just in time for spring, yay!The retailer/installer made some obvious mistakes in installation which gave the manufacturer wriggle room to argue that these mistakes may have caused the fault.I had asked both the retailer and the manufacturer for either guestures of goodwill to compensate us for the inconvenience (the false chimney breast has to come down to replace the unit and we have had to take numerous days off to allow for engineer visits, I also need to paint the chimney breast again).Both retailer and manufacturer have refused to provide any compensation stating the other is at fault.Write it off as experience or take action?
Richi - 26-Mar-18 @ 4:11 PM
TomoF - Your Question:
I have been married for 3 years, last year one of the diamonds fell out of my wedding ring, I took it back to the jewellers, they said the claws were bent, it was replaced, but I had to pay the cost as they said it was over a year so it was out of guarantee. Another 3 diamonds have fallen out of my ring since then, this is just a year after the first diamond fell out, 4 now in total. I don't wear my rings in the shower, in bed or while cleaning. I've also just had a baby so I wasn't able to wear my rings for nearly a year!! I'm just wondering what our my rights? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

Our Response:
At this stage, depending on the cost of the ring, you might be able to claim compensation - but you'd probably have to take a private legal action. See our guide to the guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for more information.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 28-Feb-18 @ 11:14 AM
I have been married for 3 years, last year one of the diamonds fell out of my weddingring, I took it back to the jewellers, they said the claws were bent, it was replaced, but I had to pay the cost as they said it was over a year so it was out of guarantee. Another 3 diamonds have fallen out of my ring since then, this is just a year after the first diamond fell out, 4 now in total. I don't wear my rings in the shower, in bed or while cleaning. I've also just had a baby so I wasn't able to wear my rings for nearly a year!! I'm just wondering what our my rights? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
TomoF - 26-Feb-18 @ 10:24 PM
Dakota1936 - Your Question:
My wife and I bought a leather sofa from well known sofa company. The coloir and leather "coating" is coming off, they came out twice within the first year to repair it. It is now in a worse state than ever. I would like to reject it and have a full refund as it is clealry not fir for purpose,

Our Response:
The retailer can usually choose whether to offer repair or replacement etc. Please see our Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for more information
ConsumerRightsExpert - 9-Feb-18 @ 3:04 PM
My wife and i bought a leather sofa from well known sofa company. The coloir and leather "coating" is coming off, they came out twice within the first year to repair it. It is now in a worse state than ever. I would like to reject it and have a full refund asit is clealry not fir for purpose,
Dakota1936 - 8-Feb-18 @ 10:00 PM
Hi I bought a new gas fire and surround from a local shop at the end of February, 2017. I Had the fire installed by a gas safe registered engineer at the beginning of March and the fire was used half a dozen times until the weather warmed up, therefore it has not been used for the last 5 or 6 months. We have now come to use the fire and it workeda few times although it took ages for the fire to light but the last time it was used it kept going out, and now although the pilot light works the fire will not light up at all. Do we go back to the shop where it was bought and tell them it isn't working, ring up the manufacturer or ring up the gas engineer who installed it?
Welshdragon54 - 22-Nov-17 @ 3:04 PM
I bought 2 sofas on one the frame at the bottom is damaged the other has damage to 3 separate parts of the leather I phoned the shop the morning after delivery and sent photos of the damage it was 4 weeks b4 someone came to look . I was told both could be repaired but my sofas are 2 tone leather so I was told the arm and right along the back would have to be recoveredtaking 5 to 6 hrs which would be done in my home if they can source a matching leatherfor my sofa. I declined and was told he would send a report and sterling would be in touch in 7 days.What are my rights as to a replacement or refund .we pair £600 deposit and doing interest free creditalthough we could pay that off if it causes more problems .
Teresa - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:41 PM
Seato - Your Question:
I have a tv from a catalogue which I have had to return as it is broken, they want to give me my money back but I want a new tv the same as the returned one, when I looked at the tv in the catalogue it is £100 dearer than 6 months ago. Can I refuse the money and insist on a tv ?

Our Response:
Usually the retailer can choose whether to refund, replace or repair if it's after 30 days since purchase.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 8-Nov-17 @ 12:35 PM
I have a tv from a catalogue which I have had to return as it is broken, they want to give me my money back but I want a new tv the same as the returned one, when I looked at the tv in the catalogue it is £100 dearer than 6 months ago. Can I refuse the money and insist on a tv?
Seato - 7-Nov-17 @ 1:03 PM
I had a kitchen supplied 5 years ago and the vinyl doors are peeling. I contacted the retailer who informed me the warranty at the time was 4 years. They have offered to issue replacements at cost price. The company were fantastic when I had the kitchen fitted, and it still looks great apart from the doors. They advised me that it is the manufacturer who gives the warranty, and that I do have extra protection under the 'Sales of good act', which i found strange. Apparently they have had numerous issues with the vinyl doors and the manufacturers refuse to budge. Also, i paid for the fitting seperate, although the fitters mainly work for the retailer in question. Does this mean I can claim for the fitting aswell. Thanks
darby1981 - 3-Nov-17 @ 1:04 PM
Purchased a worktop from b&q along with my new kitchen. We had the worktop fitted ourselves. However, we have used the worktop for two weeks, but around the sink the worktop has warped. But&q have viewed the worktop and stated that they will replace - firstly it's under a 1 year guarantee so they must replace however they have stated that they will not pay for fitting. Surely if this is the retailers fault for a faulty worktop, they should pay for fitting? Why should I be out of pocket
Harriet9494 - 10-Oct-17 @ 9:33 PM
I need some advice please.... I bought a new kitchen from howdens in February 2014 and had it fitted in April... very happy with it unti now... the built in Lamona oven hasn't been working right..only cooking one side.!!! Today I gave it a good clean and saw at the very back down the bottom there is actually a hole.!!! It seems to be corrosive.!!! I contacted howdens to be informed I have to purchase a new one at As the guarantee was two years... can you please advise on my rights... THANKYOU
Carlylou - 6-Oct-17 @ 6:39 PM
Hi I bought a leather 2 & 3 seater sofa from Harvey's in Nov 2015,in June 2016 we noticed the leather on the 3 seater had started to fade in colour,Harvey's recovered it in oct 2016 after sending out someone to inspect it,but by July of this year the same fault appeared on both settees and its worse!harveys again have sent an inspector and now they want to recover both settees!im 2 yrs into paying the items on 4 yrs interest free credit,can I refuse the recover and demand a refund and return the settees or order new settees with amount already paid deducted?thanx Val
Val - 1-Oct-17 @ 3:56 PM
Operator1 - Your Question:
Posted on 1st sept 2017 about a corner suite can you offer advice:We bought a corner suite and it was deliverdin june this year (2017) we noticed 3 things wrong right away but due to flying on holiday on the same day.we reported the faults 2 weeks later.Its a leather corner suite ,1 fault was it wasnt right at the bottom under a cushion it looked to slack.causing ripples,2nd fault was the leather under and around the reclining button wassimilar and 3rd a cushion was sagging.2 weeks after the faults was reported an upholsterer was sent to fix them both the leather issues were solved but the seat started sagging again.2 more weeks later he came back and put more foam in or whatever but 4 days later its sagging again and now so is another cushion the suite is approx 14 weeks old can we get our money back or ask for a exchange which would suit us due to the size etc( it wasnt made to measure ) but fits the room nice. Or ask for another repair and a reduction in price and if so what percentage is acceptable the suite cost £2600. Thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
First of all ask! You're still within the 6 months since purchase and you've been inconvenienced already waiting for repairs etc. If If it has been over 30 days since you purchased the product, you can choose for the retailer to either:
Repair the product, or
Replace the product
The retailer can refuse one option over the other if they can show that your choice is disproportionately expensive compared to the alternative.
Refer the retailer to the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Our guide to the act is here
ConsumerRightsExpert - 26-Sep-17 @ 11:59 AM
Posted on 1st sept 2017 about a corner suite can you offer advice: We bought a corner suite and it was deliverdin june this year (2017) we noticed 3 things wrong right away but due to flying on holiday on the same day .we reported the faults 2 weeks later.Its a leather corner suite ,1 fault was it wasnt right at the bottom under a cushion it looked to slack.causing ripples,2nd fault was the leather under and around the reclining button wassimilar and 3rd a cushion was sagging .2 weeks after the faults was reported an upholsterer was sent to fix them both the leather issues were solved but the seat started sagging again .2 more weeks later he came back and put more foam in or whatever but 4 days later its sagging again and now so is another cushion the suite is approx 14 weeks old can we get our money back or ask for a exchange which would suit us due to the size etc( it wasnt made to measure ) but fits the room nice. Or ask for another repair and a reduction in price and if so what percentage is acceptable the suite cost £2600. Thanks for any advice.
Operator1 - 24-Sep-17 @ 7:45 AM
Sarahboo - Your Question:
I purchased a leisure range cooker costing £1000 in September 2014, the fan broke down and needed replacing in December 2015. The engineer advised me it was a common fault with the model and said it may need replacing again. This repair was covered by three year warranty. The fan has since broke down again. Manufacturer told me my warranty expired just nine days ago and that I will have to pay to get it repaired again. If the fault is a recurring fault it will probably need repairing again and again! What are my rights please? Surely a cooker costing this much shouldn't need repairing twice in three years. Would it be reasonable for me to ask for it to be replaced? Or at the very least repaired free of charge? Can you advise me please? Thanks

Our Response:
Some goods are expected to last longer and the sale of goods act says that goods must be fit for purpose. £1000 cooker should last longer than 3 years. The legislation actually allows for 6 years for some types of items such as white goods. You may be able to claim refund/partial refund from the retailer on this basis especially if you can prove (via the engineers report) that the fault is not down to you.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 22-Sep-17 @ 2:46 PM
I purchased a leisure range cooker costing £1000 in September 2014, the fan broke down and needed replacing in December 2015. The engineer advised me it was a common fault with the model and said it may need replacing again. This repair was covered by three year warranty. The fan has since broke down again. Manufacturer told me my warranty expired just nine days ago and that I will have to pay to get it repaired again. If the fault is a recurring fault it will probably need repairing again and again! What are my rights please? Surely a cooker costing this much shouldn't need repairing twice in three years. Would it be reasonable for me to ask for it to be replaced? Or at the very least repaired free of charge? Can you advise me please? Thanks
Sarahboo - 20-Sep-17 @ 8:30 PM
We bought a corner suite and it was deliverdin june this year (2017) we noticed 3 things wrong right away but due to flying on holiday on the same day .we reported the faults 2 weeks later.Its a leather corner suite ,1 fault was it wasnt right at the bottom under a cushion it looked to slack.causing ripples,2nd fault was the leather under and around the reclining button wassimilar and 3rd a cushion was sagging .2 weeks after the faults was reported an upholsterer was sent to fix them both the leather issues were solved but the seat started sagging again .2 more weeks later he came back and put more foam in or whatever but 4 days later its sagging again and now so is another cushion the suite is approx 14 weeks old can we get our money back or ask for a exchange which would suit us due to the size etc( it wasnt made to measure ) but fits the room nice. Or ask for another repair and a reduction in price and if so what percentage is acceptable the suite cost £2600. Thanks for any advice.
Operator1 - 1-Sep-17 @ 2:17 PM
We purchased a bathroom in november 2015. We have had to contact the retailer as the tap has started leaking from the underneath where the screws are and the shower head is also leaking from the back.We have been advised that the parts will be replaced foc but we will have to pay the labour for fitting? Is this correct? The fitter only guaranteed his work for 1 year from date of installation is the minimum labour warranty not 2 years? I look forward to hearing from you.
Woody - 30-Aug-17 @ 9:39 PM
I purchased a leather sofa and had it replaced. I chose a second sofa of a different make and model , then that was faulty and replaced , now the third sofa is 6 week old Same model as the second asa manufactured fault . I don't now want it replacing I wish for a full refund . Three leather sofas in 7 months I am at my wits end , what are my rites ,.
Maf - 29-Aug-17 @ 9:45 PM
in 2016 i ordered a new static lodge, when it was delivered i noticed that the main door was not as described on the plans drawn up by myself and their draftsman. I complained at the time of delivery and they agreed and promised to change them. after a year of phone calls and numerous e-mails and lots of promises they still have failed to commit to their guarantee. I have checked on line and the company has split, a company I have been dealing with is still trading at that address and still making lodges but my invoice and bank transfer states another company that split and is trading at a different address. who do I take to the small claims court?
jinxy - 26-Aug-17 @ 1:53 AM
Ali_g - Your Question:
I purchased a kitchen and had employed a fitter. Within the guarantee period the doors discoloured. It has taken me almost a year backwards and forwards to the supplier and they have now had to send all new doors as they state that my original doors were not offered any more due to discolouration. My issue is that they have only offered a small amount for me to have them refitted less than half the cost of the quotes. My argument is that I wouldn't have this outlay in costs had the kitchen not been faulty in the first place. They will not escalate my complaint and keep telling me it's a gesture of goodwill. How can this be? Had the doors not been faulty I would not require the work ? Any help would be appreciated, I may need to go down the legal route?

Our Response:
Yes, you will have to take court action for compensation. The retailer has fulfilled its consumer rights obligations by replacing the items.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:45 PM
I purchased a kitchen and had employed a fitter. Within the guarantee period the doors discoloured. It has taken me almost a year backwards and forwards to the supplier and they have now had to send all new doors as they state that my original doors were not offered any more due to discolouration. My issue is that they have only offered a small amount for me to have them refitted less than half the cost of the quotes. My argument is that I wouldn't have this outlay in costs had the kitchen not been faulty in the first place. They will not escalate my complaint and keep telling me it's a gesture of goodwill. How can this be? Had the doors not been faulty I would not require the work ? Any help would be appreciated, I may need to go down the legal route?
Ali_g - 27-Jul-17 @ 3:29 PM
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