If you buy a set-top box independently, for example to access Freeview, then your contract is with the retailer that sold you the box.
If the set-top box develops a fault, the retailer is responsible for putting the fault right, not the manufacturer.
Any defect in the box appearing within the first six months will be treated as existing from the moment you received it, unless the retailer can prove otherwise.
After six months, the onus is on you to show that the fault is down to an inherent defect, or it has failed due to a lack of durability, which would suggest it was not of satisfactory quality to begin with.
Find out more about what to do if you have a faulty item.
- If your set-top box fails through no fault of your own, the provider should be liable for the repair at no cost to you.
- If you buy a set-top box independently, under the Consumer Rights Act, it's the retailer's responsibility to repair it.
- If the damage is caused by you, you're liable for any repair costs.
Your rights as a subscriber
When subscribing to a service - such as paid TV - you have the right under the Consumer Rights Act for that service to be provided with reasonable care and skill.
Before 1 October 2015 you had the same rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
This means that any equipment installed as part of that subscription - even if it's free - also has to be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.
Put simply, it has to work in the way its supposed to.
So if it fails, and you can rule out misuse or accidental damage, then your provider should be liable for the repair at no extra cost to you.
Some providers may limit you to a repair within a year - Sky's terms and conditions state this. But we would advise you challenge this (see below).
If you request either a repair or replacement then your provider must do the following:
- repair or replace the goods within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience
- bear any necessary costs incurred in doing so, including the cost of any labour, materials or postage
Terms and conditions
Sky’s terms and conditions state that it is only liable to repair the equipment for a 12 month period.
If a repair is needed after a year and if an engineer has to do the repair, Sky says it will charge a standard fee of £65.
Legally you should challenge this, as Sky's warranty is in addition to your statutory rights, which would give you a six year limitation period (five years in Scotland), in which to make a claim.
Obviously this doesn’t mean the set-top box has to last six years.
However, any reasonable person would expect a HD box, which is potentially worth a few hundred pounds, to last longer than a year.
One of the cornerstones of something being of satisfactory quality is durability, and there would certainly be a lack of durability if your equipment failed 13 months down the road.
Of course, if you have attempted a repair yourself, moved the box, or somehow accidentally caused the damage to the equipment, you will be responsible for any repair costs.