Faulty Goods

Faulty Goods

You can ask our solicitors for advice on purchasing faulty goods using the question box on the front of our website or the following free legal advice guide may answer your questions. 

Often when you buy something you are full of anticipation, whether it’s an electrical item, piece of clothing or the latest must have gadget. Most of the time the product that you buy won’t have any problems, but sometimes products can go wrong, whether this is faulty goods, a mistake in the manufacturing process or malfunctioning parts or materials after a short period of time.

faulty goods

If your product does go wrong, you do have the right to request a refund, repair or replacement depending on the length of time that you have owned the product.

The law is there to protect consumers who have purchased faulty goods and offers guidance on what you can do.

Purchase Date

When you buy something, particularly electrical items it is important that you take note of the purchase date because this will be useful when identifying the legislation that is most relevant to your case. For products purchased from the 01 October 2015, they fall under the regulations of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. For purchases before 30 September 2015, you will need to use the Sale of Goods Act 1979. These Acts do vary slightly so it’s recommended that you determine which one is applicable to your purchase to ensure that you are covered by the right legislation.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The most up to date legislation relating to consumer rights and places certain obligations on sellers in that they must deliver products to consumers which meet the following criteria:

  • A product must be as it has been described. Sometimes consumers will receive a product that does not match the product description that was given on the website or in store. Products must accurately reflect the descriptions that were given to the consumer before the purchase.
  • Items should be of satisfactory quality. Quality can mean many things, but in a legal sense, the quality must be reasonable and fair in terms of the price that was paid. Where applicable, this will also relate to products being free from defects and meeting the relevant safety standards. They must also meet expectations in terms of usability, appearance and finish and achieve an acceptable standard.
  • Finally, the item must be fit for purpose.

The legislation introduced in 2015 gives you as a consumer the right to request a repair or replacement of faulty goods at no cost to you. If a fault appears within six months of buying the item and it is not a result of wear and tear, caused by misuse or accidental damage, the retailer is under an obligation to replace or repair the faulty product.

Even though consumers have these rights, sometimes a retailer will refuse a repair or replacement. Where a retailer does object, they must be able to provide proof that the item was not faulty at the point of purchase, or the product wasn’t expected to last a long period of time.


There are other instances where you can request a repair or replacement even after the six months has elapsed. Where this applies, the onus of proof will be on you, in that you will have to prove that the item was inherently faulty at the time you bought it. If the retailer disputes your claim, you are entitled to take the dispute to the small claims court.

Faulty Goods – Going to Court

To take a case to court, the purchase must have taken place within the last six years. In addition, it is likely that you will need to obtain an independent expert’s report to support your claim that the product is faulty.

If a product does not meet the criteria that has been outlined above, consumers have a right to demand a full refund from the seller. The only exception to this rule is if you accepted the condition of the goods before you purchased inclusive of any defects that the item may have.

The buyer is classed to have accepted goods when they:

  • Acknowledge the condition of the item and you tell the seller that you accept it as it is
  • You as the buyer alter the state of the product or does something to it that prevents you from returning the item in its original condition
  • You do not make a request for a refund or return within 30 days of purchase

Refunds on Faulty Goods

Faults can develop for all kinds of reasons and as a consumer, you have rights. If you buy something that turns out to be faulty  goods or you become aware of a fault in the item that already exists, the item is classed as being not of satisfactory quality. On this basis you are entitled to request a refund.

From a legal perspective, this can be described as the ‘right to reject’ which is outlined in the Consumer Rights Act. If you wish to reject the product you must notify the seller within 30 days of purchase in writing that you wish to request a refund and take the following steps:

Contact the seller of the item and notify them that you wish to reject the item and you would like to request a refund. Where the product is faulty and you are still within the 30 days of purchase, a refund should be offered. In the majority of refund requests, you will need to provide proof of purchase such as a receipt or where one wasn’t issued a copy of a credit card or bank statement.

If the retailer refuses a refund, you should ask whether the item is covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee. If it is, you should contact the manufacturer and the refund obtained from them.

There may be instances where both the retailer and the manufacturer reject your request for a refund. In this case you should write to the retailer and make a formal rejection for the faulty item and cite the Consumer Rights legislation. The letter should outline that you intend to escalate the matter and pursue the claim in the small claims court unless a full refund is offered.

If the seller still refuses to grant a refund, you may decide to take a repair or replacement. If you believe that you are entitled to a full refund and your claim fits all the criteria, you are able to pursue the matter further in the small claims court.

Credit Card Purchases

Consumers also have some protection if you purchase a faulty item on a credit card. There are however some rules surrounding this. Where a purchase is between £100 and £30,000 your credit card provider and the seller of the faulty item share joint liability if the product turns out to be less than satisfactory.

The legislation states that in this case you are entitled to a refund from your credit card provider or the seller under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. You can also use this legislation if the seller goes out of business after you purchase a faulty item.

Second Hand and Sale Items

You are also afforded some protection for the purchase of items that are either second hand or on sale. That said, the requirement that goods are of a satisfactory standard cannot apply to certain types of defect. This is particularly important when you have been notified of the defect before you buy, or you examine the product before you buy, and the defect is one that should be clear to the customer before you bought it.

Consumer laws are there to protect you as you buy products and services. If you are in any doubt about your rights, it is always helpful to contact a solicitor who specialises in consumer law who is able to advise on your rights and action you may be able to take.

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