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Faulty Goods

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 15 May 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]
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
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.
John - 1-May-17 @ 11:03 AM
Agafer - Your Question:
Hi. I bought online a table to self assembly. Table is faulty. The seller said he cannot refund mkney because I already assembled furniture. But fault coukd not be seeb eithout assembly. What rights I have?

Our Response:
What kind of fault is it?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 27-Apr-17 @ 12:01 PM
Hi. I bought online a table to self assembly. Table is faulty. The seller said he cannot refund mkney because i already assembled furniture. But fault coukd not be seeb eithout assembly. What rights i have?
Agafer - 26-Apr-17 @ 7:01 AM
Hi, I have bought two leather sofas, were advertised as top quality Italian semi aniline leather with 3 years warranty on fabric. After 15 months of use one sofa blistered and peeled off. As retailer refused to repair I have paid for an independent inspection and report. I was told that both sofas will be peeling off as they were not sealed properly, there are other manufacturing faults that he found as well. Will I be entitled to full refund as the sofas were mis-sold as top quality (I believe numerous manufacturing faults found support this) and didn't last reasonable time, I don't think 15 months can be reasonable as for a product that is advertised by retailer as top quality? Many Thnaks
Edith - 21-Apr-17 @ 6:13 PM
Jane - Your Question:
Hi. I bought a bracelet from cargo in Bolton in July 2016. It cost £50 and is sterling silver. This week it broke in 2 at one of the links. The store are telling me it has no guarantee with it. It was purchased at full price. As far as I know it wasn't a sale item. And I still have the original receipt. They have sent it off to enquire about a repair but say I may have to pay which I am disputing. surely a bracelet should last longer than 9 months. I do take care of my jewellery and have not worn it often. What are my rights? Thank you. Paula Harrison

Our Response:
As the article says, "if more than six months have gone by, you may 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". The best thing you do is to take it to another jeweller for an opinion on this that you can use to prove to the retailer that the fault was not due to wear and tear or accident.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 20-Apr-17 @ 11:30 AM
Hi. I bought a bracelet from cargo in Bolton in July 2016.It cost £50 and is sterling silver.This week it broke in 2 at one of the links.The store are telling me it has no guarantee with it.It was purchased at full price.As far as I know it wasn't a sale item. And I still have the original receipt. They have sent it off to enquire about a repair but say I may have to pay which I am disputing. surely a bracelet should last longer than 9 months.I do take care of my jewellery and have not worn it often. What are my rights?Thank you. Paula Harrison
Jane - 19-Apr-17 @ 7:19 PM
Pfs - Your Question:
Bought a kitchen 4 and half years ago, with a ten year guarantee, all the laminate is peeling off. The manufacturer says they will replace but want a meeting to discuss fitting of new kitchen. What are my rights on this. Am I expected to pay to have the kitchen refitted when it's obviously a manufacturing fault?

Our Response:
This is something separate that you've have to negotiate with the supplier. You should also check the terms of the guarantee.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:59 AM
Bought a kitchen 4 and half years ago, with a ten year guarantee, all the laminate is peeling off. The manufacturer says they will replace but want a meeting to discuss fitting of new kitchen. What are my rights on this. Am I expected to pay to have the kitchen refitted when it's obviously a manufacturing fault?
Pfs - 15-Apr-17 @ 7:14 PM
Lenny - Your Question:
Hi, I bought a pair of earrings from a jewellery shop (cost £145). They have topaz studs, with a drop down chain, at the bottom of which is a pearl. The topaz stones were very blue when the earrings were purchased. Three months later, the colour has faded from the centre of both of the topaz stones in each of the studs. They have only been worn 3 times & now look cheap. I returned the earrings to the shop with original packaging & receipt (paid by debit card). The shop assistants were pretty condescending. They asked me if I had sprayed perfume on them, then told me I shouldn't worry they didn't think anyone would notice when I wore them & they compared my earrings with another topaz stone in a necklace in the shop & insisted my earrings were the same blue as the necklace which they clearly weren't. They concluded they really didn't think there was anything they could do about it. I told them I wasn't happy and insisted the owner/manager take a look at the earrings & left them at the shop (the owner is on holiday). I would be really grateful if you could advise me on what to do in discussion with the manager when they return and/or next steps.

Our Response:
If it's still within 6 months since you purchased the items, it's up to the retailer to "prove" the item isn't faulty. If they feel they have "proved" this by comparing with another item or can provide expert opinion that this is normal fading for blue topaz in three months then you may have to take further action yourself. Ask an independent jeweller for information on whether the topaz should have done this. Thentalk to Trading Standards. If they cannot suggest a way to resolve things, you could consider the small claims court or an alternative dispute result method.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 10-Apr-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, I bought a pair of earrings from a jewellery shop (cost £145). They have topaz studs, with a drop down chain, at the bottom of which is a pearl. The topaz stones were very blue when the earrings were purchased. Three months later, the colour has faded from the centre of both of the topaz stones in each of the studs. They have only been worn 3 times & now look cheap. I returned the earrings to the shop with original packaging & receipt (paid by debit card). The shop assistants were pretty condescending. They asked me if i had sprayed perfume on them, then told me I shouldn't worry they didn't think anyone would notice when I wore them & they compared my earrings with another topaz stone in a necklace in the shop & insisted my earrings were the same blue as the necklace which they clearly weren't. They concluded they really didn't think there was anything they could do about it. I told them I wasn't happy and insisted the owner/manager take a look at the earrings & left them at the shop (the owner is on holiday). I would be really grateful if you could advise me on what to do in discussion with the manager when they return and/or next steps.
Lenny - 7-Apr-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hiya, I bought a new GTECH hoover through a company on Ebay at the end of January, the hoover broke a couple of weeks later. I have been in touch with the seller who has said he will get the hoover picked up and looked at but if its not a manufacturing issue I will be liable for postage costs etc. I have asked for a refund but he is refusing. I have been in touch with Ebay but its past the 30 day buyer protection so have been told there is nothing I can do. I also spoke to GTECH and the warranty is useless as they don't deal direct with Ebay. Can you please advise? Many thanks.
Lcoops - 6-Apr-17 @ 3:19 PM
I bought a shower door online, when the door was delivered it had been packaged with the profiles attached on either side of the frame and frame was cabled tied to the door through door handle holes.When door was delivered we checked over and couldn't see any visible damage, 5 weeks later when we came to fit the door and removed the profiles the frame was scratched badly all the way down the whole length of the frame on the side which had the cable ties on and also profile was scratched off cable tie.I contacted supplier who said as door was fitted they couldn't do anything and to contact the maker of the door, which I have done and been told the same thing they can't do anything because door has been fitted, is there anything more I can do as it's obvious damage has not been caused when fitting door.
Suz - 20-Mar-17 @ 7:43 PM
I would be grateful for your advice.I bought an ex-display large corner wardrobe from B&S and receipt says will inform customer if any damage.After fitting we took a look and the damage on doors and the inside was dreadful.They no longer deal with that company and say they are sending their assessor out to see if they can resource doors and inside etc.Can you let me know where we stand please and how long should I wait for replacements if they can find them.Hope this makes sense.
Marbles - 12-Mar-17 @ 8:41 AM
Hi brought a 2,3seater sofa costing £5000. From Harvey's in December had to independent people out to check as has sagged in the middle and suffering with a bad back I can now not sit on the 3seater reclining sofa the first man to come out said to be expected the second that Harvey's sent out said it was far to soft and needed to be repaired with more foam and webbing to make it firmer Can I refuse a repair as only two months old and ask for money back Many thanks in advance for reply
Claire - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:33 PM
I bought a new guitar from a guitar shop and took it home only to find out that the pre-amp built into the unit did not work. I have taken it back to the shop and they have sent off for a part to replace the faulty amp in the guitar. The guitar was purchased on a Friday and taken back to the shop 3 days later on the Tuesday. Apparently, the part is on back order and they are hopeful that it will arrive "soon". Do I have to accept the repair or am I entitled to requesting a full refund for the purchase?
Jke123 - 7-Mar-17 @ 11:11 AM
I bought two 3 seater sofas from DFS and they were delivered March 2016. However In November of 2016 the leather in the cushion has started to peel off. I phoned and they sent out a service engineer who told me they would replace the entire cushion. That was in November and they sent a text stating they were waiting for parts, that's 5 months ago it's only coming from Italy not Mars please help.
Cln - 7-Mar-17 @ 10:03 AM
Karenf - Your Question:
I bought a sofa which was deliver in Oct last year. I noticed that the seams have started to come apart and some have ripped. The manager has offered to replace the cushions such have ripped but not the ones that are starting to come apart. I told him I'm not happy with a repair or replacement as the fabric they use isn't fit for purpose. What are my rights please?

Our Response:
At this stage (the period of time since purchase), your consumer rights say you should be offered a repair or replacement (usually the retailer can choose which of these options to offer you). If the repair/replacement then subsequently proves faulty, you can claim a full or partial refund (depending upon the length of time you've had the settee).
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Mar-17 @ 2:16 PM
Tiny - Your Question:
Bought a log burner in October, we noticed the bite bricks inside had cracked and broke. Then the front glass broke. Spoke to the shop and they said we were not covered on warranty! We would have to pay, rang the company back and quoted sale of goods act and they mentioned there's a disclaimer on website. Is this legal?

Our Response:
No, a disclaimer cannot "void" legislation. The burner is clearly not fit for purpose - the retailer should repair or replace the burner for you (free of charge) under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (see our Guide to here
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Mar-17 @ 11:56 AM
I bought a sofa which was deliver in Oct last year. I noticed that the seams have started to come apart and some have ripped. The manager has offered to replacethe cushions such have ripped but not the ones that are starting to come apart. I told him I'm not happy with a repair or replacement as the fabric they use isn't fit for purpose. What are my rights please?
Karenf - 1-Mar-17 @ 6:58 PM
Bought a log burner in October, we noticed the bite bricks inside had cracked and broke. Then the front glass broke. Spoke to the shop and they said we were not covered on warranty!We would have to pay, rang the company back and quoted sale of goods act and they mentioned there's a disclaimer on website. Is this legal?
Tiny - 1-Mar-17 @ 4:51 PM
Antyant - Your Question:
Bought a kitchen from independent supplier and one year on I feel it is showing unreasonable wear and tear. Eg some paint has worn off, mdf beginning to blow.It is a matt finished acrylic lacquered finish which, I was assured by the supplier, would be robust (and with which he has never experienced a customer having an issue) enough to withstand family life. I am OCD about my cleaning (in the kitchen!) and so I can't be accused of neglect!

Our Response:
It might be worth getting an independent expert to take look...at this stage it's up to you to prove that it was faulty/not fit for purpose at the time of purchase. Of course, your kitchen should last longer than a year, so go back to the retailer with your expert's report and ask them what they are prepared to do for you.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 1-Mar-17 @ 11:49 AM
Bought a kitchen from independent supplier and one year on I feel it is showing unreasonable wear and tear. Eg some paint has worn off, mdf beginning to blow. It is a matt finished acrylic lacquered finish which, I was assured by the supplier, would be robust (and with which he has never experienced a customer having an issue) enough to withstand family life . I am OCD about my cleaning (in the kitchen!) and so I can't be accused of neglect!
Antyant - 27-Feb-17 @ 4:32 PM
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