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21 Feb 2022

'My “sturdy” garden bench broke within a year - what are my rights?'

Which? helps a customer whose Robert Dyas bench didn't live up to expectations

Do you have an issue you need to put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?,

I ordered a garden bench online from Robert Dyas in 2020, costing nearly £180, so I could sit outside with my friends during lockdown in our communal garden area.

Although the bench was described as 'sturdy' and 'superbly built', I was disappointed to find that it started to fall apart within a year.

I complained to Robert Dyas, who told me they couldn't help as I hadn't reported any issues prior to this one. They said that as the fault developed almost 11 months after I placed the order, it wouldn't be classed as a manufacturing fault or be covered by a warranty.

Robert Dyas offered me a partial refund of just £15 - but I feel I'm entitled to more given the bench was designed to withstand outdoor environments.

Can you explain my rights and help me secure a refund or replacement, please?

Lily, West Sussex

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:

British weather might be unpredictable - but when investing in new garden furniture, you would be right to feel short-changed if something designed to stand up to the elements started falling apart within the space of a year.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you're entitled to a full refund, repair or replacement if you notice a fault with a product within 30 days of owning it. If you notice the fault after 30 days the retailer must be given the opportunity to repair or replace the item before you can ask for a refund.

But, after the first six months, the burden is on you to prove that the product was of unsatisfactory quality or not-as-described at the time the goods were delivered.

It's not always easy to prove that an item was faulty at the point of purchase - but in your case, Lily, it's clear the 'sturdy' bench didn't live up to the product description given when placing your order.

We contacted Robert Dyas and, after looking into the matter further, it processed a full refund and arranged for the faulty bench to be collected.

Robert Dyas apologised for Lily's poor experience and as a gesture of goodwill provided a replacement bench for Lily and her friends to enjoy in their communal garden.

If you've bought a product that doesn't meet the standard that you would expect, follow our tips below to secure a refund, repair or replacement.

Need to know

Get in touch. If you've got a consumer rights problem you need put right email us at yourstory@which.co.uk

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