What does the law say a retailer must do about faulty goods?

What does the law say a retailer must do about faulty goods?

Woman carrying shopping bagsIf goods you have bought do not ‘conform to the contract’ – in other words, they are not sold as described, of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose – you are entitled to one of a number of different remedies:

A full refund

You are only entitled to a full refund, within four weeks of purchase, if you have not ‘accepted’ the goods. Acceptance, in this context, occurs when:

a) the buyer informs the seller of their acceptance

b) the buyer uses the goods in a way that suggests that they own the goods – for instance, if they alter or customise them

c) the buyer keeps the goods for a reasonable time without informing the seller that they have rejected them.

A free repair, free replacement, cancellation or price reduction

If you have accepted the goods, they will be limited to a free repair or a free replacement within six months of purchase. (They can also choose to have the goods repaired or replaced even if they have not accepted the goods.

A buyer can ask the seller to repair or replace the goods at their expense, which the seller can refuse to do if it is impossible or too expensive compared to alternative remedies.

The repair or replacement must be done within a reasonable time and without causing the buyer significant inconvenience. If this happens, the buyer will be entitled to:

a) a refund

b) a price reduction

c) a cancellation (‘rescission‘) of the contract with a partial refund based on usage of the goods whilst in their possession.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 a consumer has 30 days to return faulty goods and expect a replacement, a refund or a price reduction.


If you have been sold goods that are faulty (or develop a fault), you are entitled to claim expenses that they have incurred. This is known as ‘consequential loss‘.

For example, if a tumble dryer develops a fault and tears clothing in the process, the buyer can claim for the cost of the clothing in addition to seeking a repair, replacement or partial refund from the seller.

Further help

If the retailer refuses to help you with goods that are faulty you can contact the retail ombudsman. They can advise you on how you can proceed.

The retail ombudsman can be contact here.

If you are not happy with how a seller has dealt with your faulty goods you could speak to a solicitor. Solicitors local to you can be found on our directory here.

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