What Are My Rights When I Buy Faulty Goods? | Expert Answers

Faulty Goods

You can ask our solicitors for advice on purchasing faulty goods using the question section on our homepage or you can read the following free legal advice. Hopefully this guide will answer any questions you have. Learn more about the “consumer rights act 2015 – faulty goods” below.

Most of the time the products that you buy from retail outlets or via the internet will arrive as described and won’t have any problems. Sometimes however, products can arrive with unexpected surprises, whether the goods are faulty, broken, incomplete, or the wrong item might be sent. 

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

There are laws in place to protect consumers who have purchased faulty goods. This article offers guidance on what you can do. 

Purchase Date

When you buy something that goes wrong, particularly electrical items, the date of purchase is an important factor in determining what action could be taken. The date is necessary when identifying the legislation that is most relevant to your case. 

  • Products bought from 1 October 2015 fall under the regulations of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 faulty goods. 
  • Purchases made before 30 September 2015, are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979. 

These Acts vary slightly. It’s recommended that you determine which one is applicable to your purchase to ensure the right outcome.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 – Faulty Goods

The most recent legislation places certain obligations on sellers. They must deliver products to consumers which meet the following criteria:

  • A product must be as described. A customer must receive a product that matches the description on the website or in store. 
  • Items should be of satisfactory quality. Quality can mean many things. In a legal sense, the quality must be reasonable and fair in terms of the price that was paid. Where applicable, this will 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 consumer rights act 2015 – faulty goods gives a consumer the right to request a repair or replacement of faulty goods at no cost. If a fault appears within six months of buying the item and is not a result of wear and tear, caused by misuse or accidental damage, the retailer must replace or repair the faulty product.

Despite these consumer rights, sometimes a retailer will refuse a repair or replacement. If this happens, they must 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. In such cases, the burden of proof will be on you. You will have to prove that the item was faulty at the time of purchase. If the retailer disputes your claim, you are entitled to take the dispute to the small claims court.

Faulty Goods – Court Cases

For a case to reach court, the purchase must have been made within the last six years. It is also likely that you will need an independent expert’s report to support your claim.

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

The buyer is considered to have accepted goods when they:

  • Acknowledge the condition of the item and you agree to accept it as it is. I.e. sold as seen.
  • Ater the state of the product or do something to prevent the return of the item in its original condition
  • Do not make a request for a refund or return the item within 30 days of purchase

Refunds Of Faulty Goods

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

Legally this can be described as the ‘right to reject’. This is outlined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – faulty goods. 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.  You must then take the following steps:

  • Contact the seller and notify them that you wish to reject the item for 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 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 get the refund from them.

Sometimes both the retailer and the manufacturer reject the request for a refund. In this case you should write to the retailer and make a formal rejection for the faulty item. You should also reference the Consumer Rights legislation. The letter should inform them that you intend to escalate the matter and pursue the claim in the small claims court unless a full refund is offered.

If a refund is still refused, you may agree 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 escalate 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. When the 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.

You are legally entitled to a refund from your credit card provider or the seller under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. 

You can use this legislation even if the seller goes out of business after you purchase a faulty item.

Second Hand And Sale Items

There is limited protection for the purchase of items that are either second hand or on sale. However, 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 have been notable 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. Get in touch today and see how we can help.

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