Product manufacturing - Repair fee

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When a manufacturer offers to repair for a fee this is usually because your guarantee period has ended.  If this is the case and provided the fault is down to manufacturing defect, you will be entitled to at least a portion of the cost of repair.   This is often factored in to the manufacturers quote.  

You should know

  • When you purchase a product from a retailer you have a contract with them.  You do not normally have a claim against the manufacturer unless you have been supplied a manufacturers guarantee with the product. 
  • The retailer should not refuse to deal with you if you have a valid complaint and should not refer you to the manufacturer within the first six months of purchase
  • If your manufacturers guarantee has expired you may still be able to claim from the retailer for faulty goods
  • Some manufacturers charge a call out fee but will refund if the item is found to have a manufacturing defect
  • You do not have to buy and extended warranty to have rights for a repair up to six years after purchase
  • If the manufacturer ceases to trade you do not have a claim against the retailer who sold you the goods. 
  • If you paid by credit card and the amount was more than £100 and less than £30,000, the credit card company may be partly responsible for compensating you 

Market sector rights

Designer goods

If you buy designer goods from the designer direct then any complaint you have should be directed to that designer company.  However if you buy from a third party retailer such as a department store then your claim is first and foremost with that retailer.  The designer brand may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the designer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the designer companies regarding repairs and replacements.

New cars

The main dealer, as the representative of the manufacturer, should always accept liability for any problems you experience.  Your statutory rights under your contract with the dealer are the same for purchasing any type of product. Any guarantee given by the manufacturer will be in addition to these rights. Check the terms and conditions of any warranty carefully.  If you experience a problem with your new car it may be very easy to rectify and a repair from the dealer will resolve the issue.  However if you have a major problem with the vehicle you have a short time to reject it.  You should make it very clear, in writing, that you wish to reject. 

Used cars

The condition of any used product, including used cars, can of course vary considerably.  What you can expect when you have purchased a used car will always be based on the price you have paid, the age of the car and the mileage.  

It is unlikely the car will be free from all faults. The law recognises that a second-hand car will not be perfect. However, the car must be fit to be used on the road, in a condition which reflects its age and price, reasonably reliable and safe. 

The car dealer you bought the car from is responsible for addressing any complaint you have about the vehicle and it is unlikely, particularly in older cars, that the manufacturer will be able to assist you.

Supermarkets

Goods sold in supermarkets are often branded with the supermarkets name and address and are not manufactured directly by them.  If you buy a product from a supermarket that carries only the supermarket brand, your complaint will be against the supermarket.  Some supermarkets sell other brand named products however, as you purchased the goods from the supermarket your claim is with them alone. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

Department stores

Goods sold in department stores are often branded with the department store’s name and address but are not manufactured directly by them.  If you buy a product from a department store that carries only the department stores details, your complaint will be against them.  Most department stores sell other brand named products however as you purchased the goods from the store, your claim is with them alone. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

Jewellery

Any jewellery you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your jewellery is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a designer brand from the jeweller then they are responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

Many jewellers state that earrings cannot be exchanged or refunded due to hygiene reasons.  This is merely a rule that applies to a goodwill return and does not affect your legal rights and cannot be used when you are complaining about faulty goods.

If you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Clothing

Any clothing you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your clothing is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a designer brand from the retailer then they are responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

IF you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Shoes/Footwear

Any footwear you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your footwear is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a designer brand from the retailer then they are responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you.  

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

IF you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Furniture

Any furniture you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your furniture is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  Many furniture retailers sell brand named products however as you purchased the goods from the store, your claim is with the retailer alone. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

If the retailer is a member of The Furniture Ombudsman scheme you are entitled to ask to be referred to their dispute resolution service. 

IF you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Electrical or electronic goods

Any electrical and electronic goods you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your item is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a branded item from the retailer then they are responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

IF you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

DIY

Any DIY goods you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your item is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a branded item from the retailer then they are still responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

Discount stores

Any goods you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your item is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a branded item from the retailer then they are still responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

Toys

Any toys you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your item is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a branded item from the retailer then they are still responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

If you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Homeware

Any homeware item you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  If you discover your item is faulty then you are entitled to complain to the retailer.  If you have purchased a branded item from the retailer then they are still responsible for sorting out your complaint directly with you. 

The manufacturer may well provide you with a supplementary guarantee and this will have terms and conditions such as a promise to replace goods within 2 years of purchase should a fault be found.  Even if the manufacturer has provided a guarantee you still have rights against the retailer.  It is always better to speak to the retailer in the first instance as they often have a direct route to the manufacturer regarding repairs and replacements.

If you have bought your item directly from the manufacturer then your complaint is with that manufacturer.

Sale of Goods Act

The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 states that if a guarantee provider , which may be the trader or the manufacturer, offers a guarantee on goods sold or supplied to consumers, they are contractually obliged to honour the terms of the guarantee. For example, if the guarantee provider refuses to repair goods as set out under the terms of the guarantee, you can take legal action against the provider of the guarantee for breach of contract. This could be claiming back the cost of repairs if you have had them carried out elsewhere. A guarantee is in addition to your legal rights and cannot take away any rights you have.

The Sale of Goods Act offers protection against faulty goods even when the manufacturer's guarantee has run out. The act says goods must last a reasonable time - and that can be anything up to six years from the date of purchase. (5 years in Scotland).

Limitations of making a claim 

You should argue strongly with retailers when a product breaks down within six years. The Sale of Goods Act does not define how long specific products should last, because different products have different life spans. But a good rule of thumb is that the more expensive a product is, the more you can expect.  However we would all expect even the cheapest of washing machines to last at least 6 years.

Guarentees

A guarantee is an agreement given by a manufacturer or retailer to you, without any extra charge. The guarantee will be a commitment to repair, replace or refund on goods which do not meet the specifications set out in the guarantee. 

A warranty is an insurance policy, usually paid for, which provides cover for the unexpected failure or breakdown of goods, usually after the manufacturer's or trader's guarantee has run out.

Guarantees and warranties are in addition to the statutory rights you have under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

Extended Warranties 

The Supply of Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order 2005 states that any trader that supplies extended warranties on domestic electrical goods must provide you with certain information before the sale of the extended warranty such as price and terms of the warranty.

If you or your property is injured or damaged then the Consumer Protection states that you must claim within three years from the date of damage or injury.  However, since damage may not be immediately known, an alternative period of three years from the date when the producer knew - or could reasonably have known - of the claim, is also allowed.  Claims cannot be made more than ten years after the product was put on the market.

Making a complaint

Your retailer will often guarantee products for a specific amount

If the trader pointed out a defect at the time of the purchase then you are not entitled to a refund.

Your rights as a consumer are protected by the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Under these strict rules, any item you buy must be:

  • If the product is not as described, fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality then you can ask for a full refund, a repair or a replacement of the product from the retailer.  

How long is the guarantee?

Your retailer will have a guarantee on the product, but even if outside of that guarantee you may be able to claim. The law is ambiguous on what a guarantee is and what is deemed reasonable. Six months can be expected as a reasonable minimum, but you need to take into account a reasonable lifespan for the product, how much was paid for the product and its overall quality. 

Under the law, you have six years to take a claim to court for faulty goods, but there is a shift of responsibility after six months from the retailer to the consumer to prove responsbility of the issue. At this point, you may need to prove the problem existed when you purchased the goods and it has taken time for the issue to become apparent. You might need to provide a report from an expert to support your claim.

Manufacturer’s warranty

The retailer may ask you to contact the manufacturer directly. However, your contract is with the retailer and not the manufacturer and it is therefore the retailer's responsibility to resolve and rectify the issue.

If you paid by credit card

If you paid by credit card and the amount was more than £100 and less than £30,000 (including VAT), you should contact your credit card company to see if you are covered by ‘equal liability’ (sometimes called Section 75). This is very often the case and simply means that your credit card provider is jointly responsible with the trader for compensating you when things go wrong.

Statutory minimum

The rights described here are the statutory minimum and some retailers may offer enhanced terms and conditions.

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What next

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Can I send my case to an ombudsman?

There is no retailing ombudsman, with the exception of the Furniture Ombudsman. The Furniture Ombudsman covers a limited number of retailers for furniture, kitchen and bathroom installations. Click here to see if your issue is covered by the Furniture Ombudsman.

There is also a Retail Ombudsman and we will add them to the escalation process where companies are a member. 

What if your issue is still not addressed?

If your issue is not addressed you can report your issue to Trading Standards, who may take action. Other alternatives include taking legal action against the company.  

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