Your rights

If you buy a vacuum cleaner that turns out to be faulty, you can choose to reject it and get a refund as long as you do this within a reasonable time.

If you bought your vacuum cleaner before the 1 October 2015, you're covered under the Sale of Goods Act and usually have three to four weeks to reject it and get a refund if it's faulty.

If you bought your vacuum cleaner after 1 October 2015 you're covered under the Consumer Rights Act and have 30 days from purchase to reject if it's faulty.

Many retailers will offer a replacement, repair or refund without question, especially if the item is relatively new.

Use our template letter if you want to get a refund for a faulty vacuum cleaner

Top tips

  • You have the right to reject your item and get a refund within four weeks of purchase
  • You could also ask the retailer to repair or replace your item within six months of purchase
  • You can also use your guarantee or warranty if your product develops a fault

Repair or replacement

You also have the right to have a faulty vacuum cleaner replaced or repaired if you prefer, or if it's too late to reject it and get a refund. 

The retailer can choose the cheaper of the two options as long as they can show the option you want would be disproportionately expensive.

In the first six months from when you buy something, the onus is still on the seller to prove it was of satisfactory quality when you received it. 

You can use our letter to claim for a repair or a replacement vacuum cleaner.

If the retailer refuses to repair your faulty vacuum cleaner, you may have the right to arrange for someone else to repair it and claim compensation from the retailer for the cost of doing this.

If you're having problems and the shop won't repair or replace your vacuum cleaner, then report it to your local Trading Standards department as the retailer is breaching your statutory rights.

It's worth telling the shop that you're going to do this as this could mean your complaint is then dealt with.

Faults after six months

If you purchased your vacuum cleaner more than six months ago, but are still within your warranty period you could consider claiming for a repair from the manufacturer.

You're also entitled to claim from the retailer directly, providing you can prove that the goods were not of a satisfactory quality or fit for purpose at the point of sale.

Before making a claim it's important to check the following:

  • How long ago did you purchase the vacuum? As a general rule, the older the item the less likely you'll be able to prove that there was a fault at the time of purchase.
  • Is it reasonable to expect this fault at this time?
  • Is the part that's gone wrong likely to be affected by wear and tear?

If you're outside your warranty period you can still claim from the retailer as your rights are not affected by the expiration of a warranty.

Returning faulty goods bought online

If your goods are faulty and don’t do what they’re supposed to, or don’t match the description given, you have the same rights under the Sale of Goods Act (if you purchased goods before 1 October 2015) and the Consumer Rights Act (if you purchase goods after 1 October 2015) as you have when buying face to face.

Any terms and conditions that you must cover the cost of returning an item wouldn’t apply where the goods being returned are faulty.

In addition to your other legal rights, the Consumer Contracts Regulations mean you have 14 calendar days from the day after you receive goods you buy online to return them, even if you’ve simply changed your mind.

Refunds must be paid within 14 calendar days after returning the goods, or evidence that they were returned.

Find a vacuum you can rely on

Which? tests vacuum cleaners more thoroughly than anyone else. Our independent vacuum reviews guide you to the Best Buys you can rely on, and warn against Don’t Buy models to avoid.

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