The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items

Consumer Rights Act

For goods and services made on or after the 1st October 2015 see the Consumer Rights Act

Rip Off Britain faulty goods your rights

For purchases of goods and services made before o1 October 2015 only:

Sale of Goods Act 1979 and updated Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

For purchases made before o1 October 2015 only. Your rights under this Act are with the retailer and not the manufacturer. (Unless bought on Hire Purchase in which case the Supply of Goods Implied Terms Act 1973 applies, which makes the HP company responsible for the quality of the goods supplied and gives you slightly different rights.) Items must be:
Of satisfactory quality
Fit for purpose
Last a reasonable length of time
And as described

If not, the customer is entitled to a full refund or replacement. You can accept a repair but you do not have to do so and you maintain your rights if the repair is not satisfactory. The repair must be undertaken in a reasonable length of time.

Items should last a reasonable length of time. It is generally considered that an item should be returned within a few weeks. However, if an item breaks in the first 6 months it is considered that the fault was there at time of purchase and it is down to the retailer to prove otherwise. After 6 months it is generally considered that the customer has to prove that the fault was there at time of purchase.

You are not entitled to refunds for a change of mind purchase except for purchases made off premises such as online. Then you are covered by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

This Act was updated in 1994 amended and the word “merchantable quality” to “satisfactory quality”.

Generally for a full refund, you need to return the item up to 4 weeks. There is no set time but 3 – 4 weeks for larger items is considered normal. However, you can and should argue for a replacement at the very least and not a repair for larger items such as televisions and washing machines. I believe that if you were to go to court and test the “general rule” of 3 – 4 weeks at 4 weeks wanting a refund you’d win. Whenever I have threatened it or advised people to do so, the company has agreed which makes me think that a court would see in the consumer’s favour. Don’t be fobbed off either.

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

For purchases made before o1 October 2015. A service can include goods e.g. fitting a bedroom whilst providing the furniture or without goods such as providing a providing accountancy services.

All services should be carried out:
with reasonable care and skill
in a reasonable time (if there is no specific time agreed); and
for a reasonable charge (if no fixed price was set in advance)

For examples of how these Acts have been used just look all over the blog! 🙂 Also of course examples of how to use this in stories and templates in the book and more tips on how to complain here.

legal action

Threaten legal action through the  Small Claims Court if the retailer is in breach of these Acts. Then do it!



book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For more consumer laws, tips, advice and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!








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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

27 replies on “The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items”

[…] The Sale of Goods Act 1979/Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 Generally speaking if the item is less than 6 months old and the item is faulty then the consumer should receive a full refund (minus any depreciation of value of use, e.g. a car used for 4 months has had some use and will have depreciated in value) a replacement or a repair. After 6 months it is up to the customer to prove that the fault was there at point of purchase. However, only take this as a guideline. When my son said that we should complain and take something back to a pound shop, even I drew the line! But there are cases when you can and should claim redress after 6 months. (More on laws protecting you from faulty purchases here.) […]

I brought a washing machine from currys on the 24 September 2013 it’s now broken and currys have said its out off warranty but I’m not happy as I think a washing machine should last longer than 14 months they said they would fix it but it would cost me £119.00!!! That’s without even looking at the machine. I have had a professional person look at thie machine and they have said its the circuit bord so obviously it was not fit for purchase when I got the machine!!!!! Can you help at all please

Please read the post above for the information you need. The book also provides more information and template letters which you may find helpful.

I have one of the dryers thats had a recall they sed it would take till december for sumone to call out or i pay £99 for a replacement its annoying ive had to pay for a new one with the high danger of the dryer very disappointing if its this dangerous they should replace for free

[…] nothing. So on the 11th May I emailed the CEO quoting the relevant Laws that they were breaking. (Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982 and Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) (For goods and services after October 1st 2015 use the Consumer Rights Act 2015). No response. So […]

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