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Faulty Goods

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 24 Sep 2017 | 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]
Posted on 1st sept 2017 about a corner suite can you offer 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
Hi I bought a sofabed from a catalogue in December 16 which I am still paying for, The sofa cushions have become out of shapeand fall in to the sofa when sat on and the stitching behind the cushions had come undone. What are my rights please?
Dee - 20-Jul-17 @ 1:36 PM
I bought an ottoman bed from dreams in March 2017 for £1000.Base is faulty they have chafed base twice now they are saying it is manufacturer's fault.I want my money back I am not happy with the bed.They said they can't take mattress an headboard back.And just give us money back for just the base.I want all the money back and they can take the bed away.Please give some advice I don't know what to do.Thanks
Moto - 10-Jul-17 @ 9:39 AM
I had a sofa delivered 2 weeks ago and when it arrived there was a foot missing. The dust cover torn and some damage to the timber. I told the driver I was rejecting it. He advised we should ask for a replacement. I called customer services and told them the same. They sent an engineer to inspect. We refused his offer of repair. Harveys customer services have called and said they will replace dust cover and fit new foot. However there id damage to timber, though it s only slight. But I am concerned that its been caused by being dragged and the frame s integrity has been compromised. As I rejected it on delivery, am I entitled to a replacement or refund?
Cal1208 - 7-Jul-17 @ 12:44 PM
Pirate01 - Your Question:
I purchased a fitted kitchen intergrated fridge and freezer, electric oven and a gas hob in 2011 ikea, on Thursday afternoon the gas hob was leaking gas and caused an explosion in my kitchen ( I should say that I live on a house boat) the damage is extensive but after getting a gas fitter in to check for the boats safety he was shocked and concerned to find that the hob seals have failed and was gushing gas, do I have any consumer rights to speak with ikea on their gas appliance failing so appallingly.

Our Response:
At this stage (6 years after purchase), your consumer rights are not so strong but it's certainly worth highlighting the issue of the hob seals failing, so the store can alert other customers. You have up to six years from date of purchase to bring a claim for faulty goods (depending on how long the item is expected to last). It will be up to you as the consumer to prove that the fault was not down to wear and tear at this stage.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 27-Jun-17 @ 12:10 PM
SKC - Your Question:
I purchased 3 internal doors and once fitted and the glass film removed, I discovered the glass was blemished. After a visit from the company, they accepted responsibility and offered a credit for all 3 doors. I then presented an invoice for the sizing and refitting of the 3 doors including replacing the metal work, locks, handles and rebates and they are only agreeing to pay just under a third of the cost, which would make me liable for most of the cost of refitting. How do I present to them that as they admitted liability, they should recompense me for my inconvenience?

Our Response:
The company has complied with the Consumer Rights legislation in giving you the refund. Any compensation thereafter should be negotiated between you. If you're not satisfied with what you've been offered you might have to consider pursuing this via the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 26-Jun-17 @ 11:54 AM
I purchased a fitted kitchen intergrated fridge and freezer, electric oven and a gas hob in 2011 ikea, on Thursday afternoon the gas hob was leaking gas and caused an explosion in my kitchen ( I should say that I live on a house boat) the damage isextensive but after getting a gas fitter in to check for the boats safety he was shocked and concerned to find that the hob seals have failed and was gushing gas, do I have any consumer rights to speak with ikea on their gas appliance failing so appallingly.
Pirate01 - 25-Jun-17 @ 9:58 AM
I purchased 3 internal doors and once fitted and the glass film removed, I discovered the glass was blemished. After a visit from the company, they accepted responsibility and offered a credit for all 3 doors. I then presented an invoice for the sizing and refitting of the 3 doors including replacing the metal work, locks, handles and rebates and they are only agreeing to pay just under a third of the cost, which would make me liable for most of the cost of refitting. How do I present to them that as they admitted liability, they should recompense me for my inconvenience?
SKC - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:03 PM
Maria - Your Question:
My new 3 piece suite from DFS arrived. I am so upset.the piping around both seats and back cushions has been sewn so tightly its causing really bad creasing and dipping.The seat covers are sagging and creasing. I took pictures of my new furniture and I have been back to store and taken pictures of lovely the beautiful smooth one displayed in the showroom, I was informed by the sales staff had been in store for 2 years or more. They requested I email my pictures back to them and they would send out someone to assess. He arrived said he couldn't see anything wrong and was very patronising had an answer for everything and proceeded to show me how to plump the cushions, to the extent of removing the seats opening the zips and performing a work out on them.This he said would keep the sofa looking its best. how is that possible when it was delivered looking 5 yrs old. I told him I had rights and would be taking my complaint to the Consumer rights. he said to go ahead if this was how I felt. he was very dismissive, I felt he was not the least concerned.This infuriated me so I advised him if this is not rectified I would sit in store and show potential customers my pictures. What are my rights please ?

Our Response:
If the product looked fine after the assessor had "plumped" the cushions up etc, could it have been that they had simply been squshed in transit? If you believe, you have case and that the product is faulty, not as described or not fit for purpose and that the retailer has not acted in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act, then you could try Trading Standards first. The consider contacting Consumer Ombudsman
ConsumerRightsExpert - 19-Jun-17 @ 11:26 AM
Unhappy - Your Question:
I purchased a tap an shower from a retailer less than 30 days ago, I have contacted them and expressed my rights to have them replaced or refunded under the consumer rights act 2015 but they are out right refusing saying its consumable parts in both units at fault and they will only repair them.I do not want repaired goods, otherwise I would have purchased refurbished products in the first place.What are my legal rights, should I stand my ground with this and pursue the matter further?

Our Response:
If the goods are faulty,unfit for purpose, or not as described, you have the right to return the product and receive a full refund within 30 days of the date of purchase. Quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to the retailer and if necessary take it further via the small claim court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 16-Jun-17 @ 10:59 AM
My new 3 piece suite from DFS arrived.. I am so upset ..the piping around both seats and back cushions has been sewn so tightly its causing really bad creasing and dipping.The seat covers are sagging and creasing. I took pictures of my new furniture and I have been back to store and taken pictures of lovely the beautiful smooth one displayed in the showroom, i was informed by the sales staff had been in store for 2 years or more. They requested i email my pictures back to them and they would send out someone to assess. He arrived said he couldn't see anything wrong and was very patronising had an answer for everything and proceeded to show me how to plump the cushions, to the extent of removing the seats opening the zips and performing a work out on them.This he said would keep the sofa looking its best.. how is that possible when it was delivered looking 5 yrs old. I told him I had rights and would be taking my complaint to the Consumer rights .. he said to go ahead if this was how i felt .. he was very dismissive, I felt he was not the least concerned.This infuriated me so I advised him if this is not rectified i would sit in store and show potential customers my pictures.. What are my rights please ?
Maria - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:00 AM
I purchased a tap an shower from a retailer less than 30 days ago, I have contacted them and expressed my rights to have them replaced or refunded under the consumer rights act 2015 but they are out right refusing saying its consumable parts in both units at fault and they will only repair them. I do not want repaired goods, otherwise I would have purchased refurbished products in the first place. What are my legal rights, should I stand my ground with this and pursue the matter further?
Unhappy - 13-Jun-17 @ 5:01 PM
Just after a bit of advise, I bought a rug from my catalogue a few months ago and recently bought an hoover just under a week ago, after the third time using my hoover it started smoking and damaged my carpet, the hoover has been returned and I had to order another hoover, I have been contacted by the catalogue and I after reply by email with photos and a suggestion of what compensation or what I would be happy with, never been in a situation like this before, the rug is worth £80, what can you advise me? Thanks
Tracey - 7-Jun-17 @ 5:11 PM
Hi I have brought a sofa from scs and it has come with a rip in the back they have told me that they need to send a technician out on the 23rd of June to look it over for two and half hours if they deem it repairable they will repair it, however I don't want it repairing I want a new one as I'm paying a lot of money for it and it shouldn't of been delivered in this state if I wanted a seconds I would of brought one. Where do I stand with my rights to this as I have got this in 10months differed .
Sarahmelia - 30-May-17 @ 4:57 PM
Miri - Your Question:
I have a double oven , the lower oven stopped working but then starting working again the next day. It's got 18 months left on the guarantee. The manufacturer will send out an engineer but if the oven if found to be working ( which it is at the mo) they will charge me for the visit. What are my rights?

Our Response:
If it's started working again, cancel the engineer. If it stops working on a regular basis make a note of the times it does this and then report it to the manfacturer. If the oven is still less than 6 mothns old your consumer rights will apply. See our guide here
ConsumerRightsExpert - 17-May-17 @ 11:02 AM
I have a double oven , the lower oven stopped working but then starting working again the next day. It's got 18 months left on the guarantee. The manufacturer will send out an engineer but if the oven if found to be working ( which it is at the mo) they will charge me for the visit. What are my rights?
Miri - 15-May-17 @ 5:51 PM
Caz - Your Question:
Hi - I recently purchased a kitchen sink tap from Amazon. Having paid 114 to get it installed the tap started to leak. We called the plumber back (a further 114) and he advised that the tap was at fault not his labour. Amazon have refunded us the money without us needing to return the tap - but we are now stuck with a leaking tap and need to buy another and a further 114 to get it fitted.Is there anything I can do to claim back money towards the labour or can I get the next one installed for free? Please help!

Our Response:
You would need to make a compensation claim (possibly via the small claims court) - try writing to Amazon first to see if they are prepared to offer anything
ConsumerRightsExpert - 5-May-17 @ 12:21 PM
Hi - I recently purchased a kitchen sink tap from Amazon.Having paid 114 to get it installed the tap started to leak.We called the plumber back (a further 114) and he advised that the tap was at fault not his labour.Amazon have refunded us the money without us needing to return the tap - but we are now stuck with a leaking tap and need to buy another and a further 114 to get it fitted. Is there anything I can do to claim back money towards the labour or can I get the next one installed for free?Please help!
Caz - 4-May-17 @ 10:00 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
I recently had a watch repaired for hands that weren't aligned. It has come back with a new fault of not keeping time (very minimal) and they are saying it is unrelated as the repair I had was only a part repair. They are advising it needs a service. They are also charging me £25 postage to send the watch back to the original repair company for clarification and a quote! The watch was fine before they partially repaired it.

Our Response:
How long have you owned the watch?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-May-17 @ 2:19 PM
I recently had a watch repaired for hands that weren't aligned. It has come back with a new fault of not keeping time (very minimal) and they are saying it is unrelated as the repair I had was only a part repair. They are advising it needs a service. They are also charging me £25 postage to send the watch back to the original repair company for clarification and a quote! The watch was fine before they partially repaired it.
Sarah - 3-May-17 @ 9:43 AM
i bought the oven directly from the manufacturer's website so I assume it is easier for me to make a claim. Thanks for replying
John - 2-May-17 @ 11:24 PM
John - Your Question:
Bought an Oven and paid an electrician installed but found it is faulty. Retailer has sent an engineer and is ok to replace. But need installation of the replacing oven. Do I have the right to ask retailer to pay the installation cost? Otherwise I have to pay the electrician again due to the faults of the retailer. Thanks.

Our Response:
Your retailer is only responsible for replacing the item. If you want to claim for the costs of re-installation, then you should do so separately - ask the retailer directly if they will compensate you for this additional expense. If they refuse, try the manufacturer. If that is unsuccessful, the small claims court might be worth a try.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 2-May-17 @ 11:57 AM
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