Your rights and options if you buy faulty goods (2022)

When it comes to faulty goods, many consumers are unaware of the protection and statutory rights they are legally entitled to. Shops often exploit their customers’ uncertainty and violate shoppers’ statutory rights by shirking their legal responsibility to remedy situations by offering refunds, repairs or replacements.

The Consumer Rights Act

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, traders are legally responsible to sell goods which are:

  • ‘As described’, meaning the actual product must match any description(s) given to the customer before purchase by which the goods are identified.
  • ‘Of satisfactory quality’, that is they are of a standard that would reasonably be expected taking into consideration the price paid and description. In appropriate circumstances the quality of the goods will include freedom from minor defects, durability, safety, and appearance and finish.
  • ‘Fit for all purposes’ made known to the seller at the time of purchase

The act states that if goods turn out to not fulfil any of these criteria, you have the right to demand a refund from the seller unless you have accepted the goods. The act provides that goods have been ‘accepted’ by the buyer where:

  • You tell the seller you have accepted them;
  • You do something to or with them which prevents you from giving the goods back in their original state, such as altering, consumingor damagingthem;
  • You keep the goods for 30 days without rejecting them.

It is a good idea to report the problem to the seller as soon as you become aware of the fault. If you do wish to reject the goods you must give clear notice of this to the seller.

If you allow 30 days to elapse then you no longer have the right to a refund, but you are still entitled to get the item repaired or replaced for free instead.

Report the problem to the seller as soon as you become aware of the fault.

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Faulty goods are also often covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty, but this is in addition to your automatic rights and does not represent a get-out-of-jail-free card for the retailer. Your rights may also extend beyond the manufacturer’s guarantee once it has expired.

How to obtain refunds for faulty goods

If a fault develops soon after you purchased an item, or if it was faulty straight away, meaning the goods are not of satisfactory quality, then you are entitled to a full refund from the retailer.

The legal term to use here is the “right to reject under the Consumer Rights Act”, as the item was not of satisfactory quality. You must give the seller clear notice that the item is rejected within 30 days for a refund to be given.

How to obtain a refund

1. Contact the retailer.

Tell them you want to reject the item and would like a full refund. If the item is genuinely faulty and 30 days have not elapsed since the purchase, you should get a refund.

You will probably need to provide proof of purchase but remember this doesn’t always have to be a receipt. It can be a credit card or bank statement, a witness, a cheque stub or any other evidence that proves you bought the product from that retailer.

2. If the retailer rejects your claim

Check to see if the faulty goods are covered by the manufacturer's guarantee. If they are then tell the manufacturer about the fault and ask for a refund.

3. If neither the retailer nor manufacturer offers a refund

Write to the retailer again formally rejecting the faulty goods under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Explain that you will take the matter to the small claims court unless a full refund is offered.

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4. If the retailer still does not offer a refund

At this point you may want to consider getting the item replaced or repaired instead. If, however, you are adamant that you want a refund, you may be able to take the case to the small claims court.

Goods paid for with a credit card

If you paid for the faulty goods with a credit card and they cost between £100 and £30,000, the creditcard company will be jointly liable with the seller if the goods are not of satisfactory quality; this would meanyou are entitled to a refund from either the seller or your credit card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

You can also use this method if the retailer goes out of business after you buy the faulty goods.

If you paid for the faulty goods with a credit card, the card company may also be jointly liable with the seller.

How to get faulty goods repaired or replaced

Under the Consumer Rights Act, your consumer rights may allow you to get faulty goods repaired or replaced for free up to six years after purchase, although the longer you have had the goods the progressively more difficult it will be to show the defect arose as a result of the state of the goods at time of purchase.

If the fault arises within six months of the purchase, and it’s not because of fair wear and tear, accidental damage or misuse, then the retailer must repair or replace the faulty goods. If the retailer objects, he must prove that the item wasn’t faulty to begin with or that it wasn't expected to last very long.

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If six months have passed and something goes wrong, you might still get a repair or replacement but you will have to prove that the goods were inherently faulty, i.e. show that there is no other cause, such as accidental damage, for the fault.

To help you prove this, you may wish to obtain anindependent expert’s report to back up your claim, although these can be expensive.

To get faulty goods repaired or replaced

1. Contact the retailer

Tell the retailerabout the problem and ask for the goods to be either repaired or be replaced. You can specify which you’d prefer but it is ultimately a question of what is more economical from the perspective of the retailer.

You will probably need to provide proof of purchase but remember this doesn’t always have to be a receipt. It can be a credit card or bank statement, a witness, a cheque stub or any other evidence that proves you bought the product from that retailer.

2. Covered by the guarantee

Alternatively, if the faulty goods are still covered by their guarantee, contact the manufacturer, tell them about the problem and ask for the goods to be repaired or replaced.

3. If the retailer or manufacturer does not help

Write to the retailer and make a more formal request. Say that you are exercising your rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as the item is not of "satisfactory quality" and you would like to have it repaired or replaced.

In your letter, warn the retailer that if it fails to accept to your demands you will start proceedings in the small claims track of the County Court.

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4. If your retailer still refuses to cooperate

You should consider taking the retailer to court. Bear in mind that you cannot take a case to court if you purchased the faulty goods more than six years ago.

Second-hand goods and sale items

The Consumer Rights Act also covers goods bought second hand, as well as goods bought at a discount price in a sale. However the requirement that goods be of satisfactory quality does not apply to a particular defect where:

  • That particular defect has been pointed out to you before you agreed to buy the goods; or
  • You inspect the goods before agreeing to buy them and the particular defect is one that you should really have spotted.

The Consumer Protection Act

An additional form of consumer protection is contained in the Consumer Protection Act, which relates to the physical protection of the consumer and his/her property from the effects of faulty or defective products. A product is defective under the 1987 Act if it is not as safe as the average person would be entitled to expect.

Whether you buy or hire goods, they have to be safe. If you are injured by them in any way as a result of their hazardous nature, then the manufacturer and the importer (if it has come from outside the EU) are strictly liable for any damage or loss caused to you or those that used the product.

Whether you buy or hire goods, they have to be safe.

“Strict liability” means that you do not have to prove that they were at fault. What you will have to prove is that the product was defective, and that it was this defect that caused the injury, or in tragic cases, even death.

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Therefore, if you are injured when your car (whether it is your own, hired or being bought on hire purchase) crashes due to a defect in, for example, the steering system, then you could sue the manufacturer for your injury and losses.

However the Act only applies to damage caused to goods other than those that are defective;it does not allow you to claim for the cost of the defective goods themselves, only the damage or injury caused to other goods or people by the defect.

FAQs

What are your rights for faulty goods? ›

You'll have legal rights if the item you bought is: broken or damaged ('not of satisfactory quality') unusable ('not fit for purpose') not what was advertised or doesn't match the seller's description.

How do you deal with faulty goods? ›

Report the problem to the seller as soon as you become aware of the fault. Faulty goods are also often covered by the manufacturer's guarantee or warranty, but this is in addition to your automatic rights and does not represent a get-out-of-jail-free card for the retailer.

What are my rights if a product is not fit for purpose? ›

If the item is faulty or not fit for purpose you have the right to reject or return the goods and demand a refund, a repair or a replacement. You must inform the seller within 30 days of receiving it if you decide to reject the goods and have a refund.

What are my rights as a customer? ›

Buying products

Satisfactory quality: The product shouldn't be damaged or faulty when you receive it. Fit for purpose: You should be able to use it for what the seller says it will do (its purpose), whether that's their statement when you buy it, or an answer to your question.

What can the buyer do if faulty goods are delivered? ›

Introduction. Under consumer law, if a product or service breaks, is not fit for purpose or does not do what the seller or advertisement said it would do, you can ask for a repair, replacement or refund. Repairs, replacements and refunds are known as remedies.

What are the 8 basic rights of the consumers? ›

  • Consumer's rights to enforce terms about goods.
  • Right to reject.
  • Partial rejection of goods.
  • Time limit for short-term right to reject.
  • Right to repair or replacement.
  • Right to price reduction or final right to reject.

How do you respond to a customer for faulty goods? ›

Here's the process we recommend when responding to customer complaints.
  1. Listen to or read the customer's complaint. ...
  2. Take a moment to process the criticism. ...
  3. Determine what action you'll take to address the problem. ...
  4. Thank the customer for their feedback. ...
  5. Apologize and reiterate your understanding of the issue.
16 Aug 2021

What are my legal rights to a refund? ›

Your legal rights to a refund

You have 30 days to return faulty goods and receive a full refund. You're entitled to ask for a refund or price reduction after one failed attempt by the retailer to repair or replace a faulty item. Or you can request another repair or price reduction at no extra cost.

What are my rights returning faulty goods without a receipt? ›

Faulty items

Under the Consumer Rights Act as long as you return an item within 30 days of purchase you can do so without a receipt and still have the right to a full refund. If you don't want to return or exchange the item then you can ask for it to be repaired. You also have much longer to do this – up to six months.

What are your rights as a consumer when buying products? ›

Consumers are protected by the Consumer Bill of Rights. The bill states that consumers have the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to safety, the right to be heard, the right to have problems corrected, the right to consumer education, and the right to service.

Can a shop refuse to give me a refund? ›

It depends on your reason. If an item is faulty or has broken - in other words, doesn't comply with the Sale of Goods Act - then the retailer has a duty to offer a refund, exchange or repair. But if you simply don't like the purchase, then that's not a good enough reason.

Can a retailer refusing a replace faulty goods? ›

30-day right to reject

Under the Consumer Rights Act you have a legal right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, and get a full refund - as long as you do this quickly. This right is limited to 30 days from the date you buy your product.

What are 10 consumer rights? ›

  • Right to Safety. Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. ...
  • Right to be Informed. ...
  • Right to Choose. ...
  • Right to be Heard. ...
  • Right to Seek redressal. ...
  • Right to Consumer Education.
21 Jan 2019

What happens if a wrong quantity is delivered? ›

Delivery of wrong quantity.

—(1) Where the seller delivers to the buyer a quantity of goods less than he contracted to sell, the buyer may reject them, but it the buyer accepts the goods so delivered he shall pay for them at the contract rate.

What are my rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015? ›

The Act gives consumers a clear right to the repair or replacement of faulty digital content, such as online film and games, music downloads and e-books. The law here had been unclear and this change has brought us up to date with how digital products have evolved.

What are the buyers remedies when the seller fails to deliver the goods? ›

—Where the buyer wrongfully neglects or refuses to accept and pay for the goods, the seller may sue him for damages for non-acceptance. 57. Damages for non-delivery. —Where the seller wrongfully neglects or refuses to deliver the goods to the buyer, the buyer may sue the seller for damages for non-delivery.

What are the 5 consumer rights and responsibilities? ›

These are the rights to basic needs; safety; information; choice; redress; representation; redress; consumer education, and a healthy environment. The five (5) responsibilities are critical awareness; action; social concern; environmental awareness; and solidarity.

What are the 7 consumer responsibilities? ›

1Be honest with the information you provide.
4Know how to make a complaint.
5Use the product or service in line with the terms and conditions.
6Avoiding risk.
7Apply for products and/or services that meet your needs.
11 more rows

What is the most important right of a consumer? ›

Right to Safety: This is the first and the most important of the Consumer Rights. They should be protected against the product that hampers their safety. The protection must be against any product which could be hazardous to their health – Mental, Physical or many of the other factors.

How do you answer a customer question example? ›

Top 20 Best Canned Responses for Customer Service
  • Hello, how may I assist you today?
  • Thank you for your purchase.
  • We've received your message and we're working on it.
  • Thanks for the product/feature recommendation.
  • We're still working on your case.
  • We're closing your ticket.
  • About your request for a refund.
9 Aug 2021

How do you apologize to a customer for faulty goods? ›

How to apologize to a customer
  1. Be truly sorry. If you aren't genuinely sorry for at least some part of the problem, then don't apologize. ...
  2. Validate your customer's feelings. ...
  3. Explain what happened. ...
  4. Admit to your mistakes. ...
  5. Explain what you'll do differently.
8 Sept 2020

How long do you have to return faulty goods? ›

Within six years – the longest you have to claim fault.

However people often confuse this and think it means goods must last six years – that just isn't true. To work out what is a reasonable length of time, you have to simply imagine what a reasonable person would say was reasonable.

Who is responsible for faulty goods? ›

The shop has the legal liability to fix the item. If the item is faulty then you will have your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 against the retailer.

What to do if a merchant refuses to refund? ›

If asking the merchant for a refund didn't work, request a chargeback with your credit card issuer. Many card issuers let you dispute transactions by phone, mail or online. You may also be able to submit a dispute directly through your card issuer's mobile app.

What are the 7 rights of purchasing? ›

The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport UK (2019) defines them as: Getting the Right product, in the Right quantity, in the Right condition, at the Right place, at the Right time, to the Right customer, at the Right price.

What are the six rights of consumers? ›

Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) be assured of ...

What are the 4 reasons a business can refuse to give a refund? ›

A business can refuse to give you a free repair, replacement or refund if: you simply changed your mind. you misused the product or service in a way that contributed to the problem. you asked for a service to be done in a certain way against the advice of the business, or were unclear about what you wanted.

Are customers always entitled to a refund? ›

A consumer is generally entitled to receive any refund in the form of their original payment. For example, if they paid for an item with a credit card, it is reasonable for the seller to give the consumer a credit card refund.

Can you force a company to give you a refund? ›

In the U.S., there's no federal law that says merchants have to accept returns. However, retailers are required to provide a repair, exchange, or refund if a product is defective. And under the FTC's “cooling off” rule, you have the right to cancel some sales within three days of the purchase and get a full refund.

What is the law on faulty goods UK? ›

You must offer a full refund if an item is faulty, not as described or does not do what it's supposed to. Check when you have to offer refunds and accept returns. Customers have exactly the same rights to refunds when they buy items in a sale as when they buy them at full price.

Can a company refuse to refund a defective product? ›

Customer Returns and Refunds Under Federal Law

While many retailers have decided this makes for the best business practice, they aren't legally required to accept returns. Rather, retailers are required to accept returns only if the sold good is defective or if they otherwise break the sales contract.

Can I exchange faulty goods without a receipt? ›

But where an item fails, shops do not have the right to demand a receipt. A credit card slip or statement or even the say-so of a person who was present when the products were purchased, are legally enough.

What are the four rights of all consumers? ›

In 1962, then US President John F Kennedy declared four basic consumer rights – the right to safety; the right to be informed; the right to choose and the right to be heard.

How can consumers protect their rights? ›

The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers' is referred to as the right to redressal according to the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

Can I demand my money back for faulty goods? ›

Your legal rights to a refund

You have 30 days to return faulty goods and receive a full refund. You're entitled to ask for a refund or price reduction after one failed attempt by the retailer to repair or replace a faulty item. Or you can request another repair or price reduction at no extra cost.

Can I claim compensation for faulty goods? ›

Damages. A consumer can claim damages, which will generally equate to the cost of repair or replacement of the goods. They may also be able to claim compensation for damage caused by faulty goods (for example, where a washing machine leaked).

How long do I have to reject faulty goods? ›

In the first 30 days after purchase, you have the right to reject the goods. This means you can return an item that doesn't meet the three criteria for a full refund.

What are the consumer rights for refunds? ›

A refund should be the full amount the consumer paid for the product. Refunds should be provided in the same form as the original payment, unless the business and consumer agree otherwise. A consumer can also choose to keep the product but be compensated for the drop in value caused by the problem.

What rights protect us from shoddy goods compensation? ›

The right to redress.

This is your right to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods, or unsatisfactory services.

Do you need proof of purchase if an item is faulty? ›

With faulty goods, you simply need to prove purchase. This could be the receipt, but any other legitimate record – such as a bank statement – should be fine. However, if you've no legal right but are simply utilising a store's return policy, then you'll need a receipt if that's what the policy says.

Can you get compensation and a refund? ›

What are additional compensation for canceled flights? Passengers can receive both a refund of an airline ticket and compensation for the cancellation, provided that their flight qualifies for compensation.

What are the 5 rights of a consumer? ›

Consumers are protected by the Consumer Bill of Rights. The bill states that consumers have the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to safety, the right to be heard, the right to have problems corrected, the right to consumer education, and the right to service.

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