When we buy something new we rightly expect the product we’re buying to be fault-free.
Be it a pair of shoes or a car, a washing machine or a carpet, we don’t want them scuffed or scraped, emitting a strange sound or delivered with a flaw in the fabric.
But what happens if your purchase does have a fault?
If the washing machine drum doesn’t spin or if the new car’s electrics are on the blink? What do you do?
This is when your rights as a consumer kick in. Under the Consumer Rights Act all products sold must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
That means goods should not be faulty or damaged when you receive them.
They should be fit for the purpose you bought them for and should match any description, models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
If you discover a problem then you should act quickly.
The Consumer Rights Act gives you 30 days from the date of purchase to reject faulty goods – and get a full refund.
After that time, the retailer has one opportunity to provide you with a repair or replacement, although they can choose which.
If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can still claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product.
Of course there could be an issue in proving the fault was present at the time you bought the item – if you are within six months of purchase, the law assumes that the fault was present at purchase, but once that six-month period has expired, it’s up to you to prove the fault was there.
In one of our recent Which? surveys, 68 per cent of you said they had no idea how to even begin to do that.
You could try to find a local repair shop or expert to undertake an independent report, or check on social media to see if others are complaining about the same fault.
The more evidence you can collect about the fault and how widespread it is, the stronger your case will be.
The thing to remember is you have rights – so use them. If you do have an issue you can use the Which? faulty goods tool to report your issues: Which.co.uk/ faultygoods
QUICK GUIDE TO YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS
* You have the right to reject your item and get a refund within 30 days of purchase if it’s of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.
* You can ask the retailer to repair or replace your item if a fault develops within six months of purchase.
* After six months the onus is on you to prove a fault was present at the time of purchase.
* You can also use your guarantee or warranty if your product develops a fault.
* Send your consumer queries to me askalex@which. co.uk