1 Contact the retailer

As soon as you're aware of any issue with your product, contact the retailer you bought it from. 

Explain the problem and ask for a refund or replacement, or arrange to have it repaired. 

Make a faulty goods complaint

You could be entitled to a repair, replacement or a refund even if the product is out of warranty, answer some simple questions and Which? can help you start your complaint for free

Start your letter

2 Use your 30-day right to reject

Under the Consumer Rights Act, you have an early right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, and get a full refund.

But this right is limited to 30 days from the date you bought the product.

However, this right to a refund doesn’t apply to digital content.

Under the Sale of Goods Act (which applies to goods bought before 1 October 2015), the time limit was a far less clear-cut three to four weeks.

3 Use the Consumer Rights Act

If you're outside the 30-day right to reject, the retailer has an opportunity to repair or replace any faulty goods or digital content before offering a full refund.

If you discover the fault within the first six months from delivery, it's presumed to have been there from the time you received it - unless the retailer can prove otherwise.

During this time, it's up to the retailer to prove that the fault wasn't there at the time of delivery - it's not up to you to prove that it was.

If an attempt at repair or replacement has failed, you have the right to reject the goods for a full refund, or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product.

The retailer can't make any deductions from a refund in the first six months following an unsuccessful attempt at repair or replacement.

This is not the case with goods bought under the Sale of Goods Act.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, the retailer must either repair or replace faulty goods 'within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience'. And the retailer can deduct money from a refund for fair use.

4 Use your guarantee

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.

Top Tips

  • Contact the retailer - your contract is with the retailer and not the manufacturer
  • Cite your rights under the Consumer Rights Act
  • Don’t be fobbed off - you can always take the retailer to the small claims court

5 Go to the ombudsman

The consumer ombudsman deals with all consumer complaints in sectors not already covered by an ombudsman scheme. It focuses 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 it's not possible to reach a resolution that satisfies both parties – the consumer ombudsman will advise you on what to do next.

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

6 Claim from your credit card company

If you get no response from the retailer, or if it has gone bust, and you paid for the item with a credit card, you can take the claim to your credit card company.

You have the same rights from your finance provider as you have against the retailer. 

7 Make a chargeback claim

If you paid by debit card and your goods were under the value of £100, you should speak to your card provider about making a chargeback claim.

The main requirement for getting your money back through chargeback is evidence that there's been a breach of contract, which includes when goods are faulty.

In the case of tangible goods that you've purchased from a high street shop or an online retailer,you have 120 days starts from when you become aware of the problem, up until 540 days after the initial transaction.

8 Don't be fobbed off

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

If it still fails to offer a remedy and you want to resolve the dispute through court action, start following the steps in the Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct.

You should consider court action only as a last resort, so it's best to make every effort to resolve the issue before deciding to take your claim to the small claims court. 

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