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Consumer Advice on Faulty Goods

When it comes to consumer advice the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) is one of the most important pieces of legislation you will need. There are a number of conditions outlined by the Act and these are the conditions that sold goods must meet. This means that the goods must be as they are described, of a satisfactory quality and to be fit for the purpose they are intended to be used for.

If you were to purchase an item that doesn’t live up to these conditions, you should be entitled to return the goods, to obtain a full refund and you could even potentially receive compensation if the cost of buying the goods elsewhere (as a replacement) was higher than what you paid.

It should be pointed out that you only have a limited amount of time to decide that the goods are not acceptable and to return them. If you wait beyond what is deemed to be a reasonable amount of time, which should be stated in the terms of conditions when purchasing, you may not be entitled to have a full refund. However, you should still be entitled to have these goods replaced or repaired. If this is not appropriate or available, there may be a reduction in price on offer you could be able to return the goods you purchased and obtain a refund.

This Act does provide cover and legislation for second hand goods and sales but if you purchase a good from a private seller, the only entitlement that is available comes if the goods are listed in a way that they weren’t described. If you bought goods with the expectation of them lasting a suitable length of time (say 6 months) and they don’t last long, it will be presumed that these goods did not live up to the contract.

This places the impetus on to the owner to prove that the goods were in fact up to the required and recommended standard.

This is the one situation where the impetus is on the retailer as opposed to the consumer. The longer the time period between the purchase and complaint, the more difficult it will be for a complaint to be made and uphold. However, there is a legal right for a consumer to make a claim within 6 years of buying a product if they see fit. It is important to make the trader aware of the complaint as quickly as possible.

You don’t need a receipt

When making a complaint, it is not necessary to have a receipt but it can help to make the situation easier. However, you should suffer no loss in rights by not having a receipt but there may be a requirement to provide proof of purchase. This can be where a bank statement or a credit card bill can be more than suitable. In some cases, if a shop assistant is able to vouch for you buying the goods, this may be enough.

When it comes to returning faulty goods, there is an order of remedies that are available.

1. The first is obviously refund
2. Which is followed by repair, replacement, price reduction and then a partial refund, which takes into account general wear and tear in use of the product. If you received the goods as a present and the buyer never made the retailer aware of the time that it was intended as a gift, it is the buyer that has the contractual obligation with the trader, not the recipient of the gift.

If the shop or retailer tries to state that you have a guarantee with the manufacturer as opposed to them, this is not the case. The rights of a consumer, as defined by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) are positioned against the retailer as opposed to the manufacturer. Sometimes it may be easier to utilise the guarantee but you shouldn’t feel pressurised into a decision just because a retailer wants the most convenient outcome for them.

For further advice and help on consumer matters visit

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