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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 4 Mar 2021

How to get a faulty mobile phone replaced or repaired

If your phone has a fault, your rights depend on whether you bought it yourself or if it's part of a contract. Follow our step-by-step guide to find out what to do.
Which?Editorial team

1 Contact the retailer 

Contact the retailer you bought it from. Tell them about the problem and ask for a replacement, or arrange to have it repaired. 

Ultimately, the retailer can choose which of these options to take - usually the cheapest option. But firstly you can ask for whichever option you'd prefer.

If the product is within its guarantee period, check the terms of the guarantee. Find out if the manufacturer will offer a repair or replacement.

2 Contact your mobile network

If your mobile phone is part of your contract, your claim would be against your mobile phone service provider and you may be entitled to a free repair or replacement as part of your contract.

It’s worth checking your mobile operator’s terms and conditions to see what you’re entitled to.

3 Go to the ombudsman

The Consumer Ombudsman deals with all consumer complaints in sectors not already covered by an ombudsman scheme which includes retail, so if you purchased the phone yourself - you can refer your complaint to them.

If your mobile phone is part of your contract you can refer your complaint to one of two ombudsman services, CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications - which scheme to contact depends on which one your contract provider is registered with.

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 cannot be reached – you will 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.

4 Claim against your credit card

If you get no response from the retailer or if it's gone bust, you can take a claim to your credit card company providing you paid for your phone by credit card in the first instance. 

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act the credit card provider is jointly liable with the retailer. 

Write to your credit card provider outlining the fault with your phone and explain that you want a free repair or a replacement phone. 

5 Take your claim to court

If the retailer or manufacturer won't help, write to the retailer (not the manufacturer) saying that, under the Consumer Rights Act (which replaces the Sale of Goods Act from October 2015), the phone is not of satisfactory quality and you are exercising your right to have it repaired or replaced.

If it continues to fail to offer a remedy and you want to resolve the dispute through court action, you should follow the steps in the Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct which tells you what you must do before going to court. 

If you're considering the small claims court, take a look at our full guide for what to do next