How to complain about faulty goods bought in a sale

If you have bought faulty goods in a sale, your rights depend on which date you purchased them. We talk you through your rights and how to complain.

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1 Inform the retailer

As soon as you realise there's a problem with the sales goods, tell the retailer. 

If you inform the retailer within 30 days from the date you purchased the product you'll be entitled to a full refund.

If you're outside the 30-day right to reject, you  have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace the product before you can claim a refund.

They should agree to refund your money, or repair or replace it, regardless of the fact you bought it in a sale.

2 Write to the retailer

If the retailer refuses, you'll need to write to them. Explain that, under the Consumer Rights Act the item was not of satisfactory quality or not as described, and that you're entitled to a refund, repair or replacement, regardless of the fact you bought it in a sale. 

You'll need to explain that the fault you've found was not one that you were made aware of when you bought the item in the sale.

You can use this letter template to complain if a retailer won't take back faulty sale goods

3 Give the shop one final chance

If the retailer does not respond or refuses to help, you have two options:

  • Write a 'final letter before action' in which you restate your claim, and say that you will start proceedings against the retailer in the small claims court if it doesn't resolve your problem.
  • If you paid by credit card, you have Consumer Rights Act rights against the card company, as well as the retailer, so you could take up the matter with your credit card company.

4 Go to the ombudsman

The Consumer Ombudsman deals with all consumer complaints in sectors not already covered by an ombudsman scheme, with a focus on home maintenance, improvements or installation services, retail, second-hand cars and car repairs as well as servicing.

You can escalate your complaint to the ombudsman providing you have given the company a reasonable amount of time – usually up to eight weeks – to resolve your problem.

If the company is willing to work with the ombudsman to resolve your complaint, the aim is to reach a resolution within 10 working days.

If the company is unwilling to work with the ombudsman – or a resolution that both parties are satisfied with can't be reached – you'll be advised on what to do next.

If you want to escalate your complaint to the ombudsman, you can use our advice on taking your complaint to an ombudsman.

5 Inform trading standards

If the retailer has tried to limit or exclude your statutory (legal) rights - for example, by saying it doesn't give refunds on sale items - it's committing an offence.

You can complain to the trading standards department local to the retailer. It can then investigate, and may prosecute, the retailer.

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