What happens if you or someone else has signed a delivery note for delivery of a new appliance, but when it was unpacked it was found to be damaged? When signing a delivery note you are normally only confirming receipt of the appliance so this shouldn’t affect your position when complaining to the retailer. Responsibility for any damage lies with the seller, even if it’s been signed for. If you report the damage to the retailer you bought it from and they tell you to take it up with a third party delivery company they are wrong to do this. It’s up to them to deal with the delivery company.
Buying Related FAQs
Delivery companies like us to sign that we’ve received goods in good condition. It’s often impractical to check them properly, especially a highly protected white goods appliance. No delivery driver is going to wait until we’ve taken off all the packaging and carefully inspected our new appliance yet they expect us to sign to say it’s in perfect condition.
Best practice is to not sign or tick any box to the effect that it is in good condition unless you can see that it is, which you can’t without removing all the packaging. It’s best to leave any such box unticked, or if you are just signing and it says “received in good condition” sign it but add “not checked” or “unable to inspect”. The reason is that it’s just easier to do this so they can’t try to wash their hands of it by saying you signed saying it was OK.
If there is a box to tick or a notice next to the signature stating the appliance was received in good condition then you might cross out any “received in good condition” phrase, or write something like, “not checked”. Ideally it makes sense to not indicate in any way that you accept there is no damage because it’s impossible to be sure until all of the packaging has been removed.
In reality, the sale of goods act allows us a “reasonable time” to examine new goods and we have a contract with them to deliver it in proper condition as expected for a new appliance. If we are presented with a fully packaged appliance and a man with a form to sign this is clearly not a reasonable amount of time to examine them. Even if by any chance he did wait until we took off the packaging we might still miss something like a small dent or damage which we only discover later on. Clearly it might be difficult reporting damage some time after so make sure you thoroughly examine the goods as soon as possible after delivery.
Summary: If we unpack and find damage we can reject the appliance or ask for it to be repaired – even if we signed or ticked a box saying it was OK. However, as mentioned in the previous paragraph it’s easier if we don’t sign anything confirming something we can’t really know in the first place, but if you have, don’t let them relieve you of your rights.
What if you signed or ticked a box confirming received in good condition?
If a signature did indicate the appliance was undamaged it isn’t ideal, it gives them an opportunity to argue about it but they shouldn’t be able to dismiss damage claims because of it. A fully packaged appliance is impossible to check for damages and delivery men are not going to wait whilst you unpacked and examined it – so any “received in good condition” declaration is arguably pointless.
Looking at consumer rights related to buying a second hand washing machine or any other appliance from either a private buyer or a local trader.
Buying a second hand washing machine privately (from a non trader) carries a risk. There is relatively little consumer protection. The washing machine must match their description of it though. So if they said it had a 1400 spin or a 6Kg drum but it turned out to have only a 1200 spin or a 5Kg drum they have misled you. You should then have the right to reject it or claim compensation (e.g. a reduction in price). It must also be in "good working order". It does not have to be in perfect condition because it’s second hand. It has to work as anyone would expect it to. Maybe if it’s a bit noisy you might have to accept that it’s a used appliance. If on the other hand they described it as nearly new, or you paid a lot for it, you should expect it to be in better condition.
Unless you can prove the seller must have known about a fault then it’s one of those things if it breaks down soon after buying. There’s no guarantee with a second hand appliance from a private sale. Watch out for traders posing as private sellers. This is now illegal. Tell tale tips on how to find them and a full description of buyers rights can be found in the “related links” below.
Second hand washing machine breaks down soon after buying
Don’t immediately assume you’ve been done if a washing machine fails to work properly. Start from the point of assuming it’s unlikely anyone would advertise a washing machine that just did not work. It’s possible for a fault to be introduced through transit, or through problems caused by the installation at your home. Before demanding your money back you need to carefully check all the points in this article Getting faulty washing machine exchanged: Is the washing machine actually faulty? Also check out this article – 5 things to check for after repairing or installing a washing machine.
If you buy an appliance from a genuine private seller and it breaks down they might only be responsible if you could show that the fault was obviously present when sold. Everything depends on what has gone wrong, how soon after you bought it, and what it cost. A private seller is not expected to be an expert. Nor are they expected to carry out repairs to make it in great condition before selling. They are really only obliged to point out any issues they are aware of and to describe it accurately.
If it worked perfectly okay for two weeks and then broke down it might be argued that they could not have known this was going to happen. So it’s bad luck unless it could be shown that the fault must have been displaying symptoms before they sold it.
If a fault could and should have been seen by reasonable inspection before purchasing, or straight after taking possession of it, you may not have any rights. For example, if you found it was extremely noisy on spin but still accepted the machine. Then two weeks later the bearings collapsed. In such a case you should have rejected the machine straight away. Another example may be if when you opened the door you could see that the door seal was all sticky and worn. It then subsequently started to leak. Again one might argue you should have realised it was worn and rejected it or negotiated a lower price.
I bought a second hand washing machine from a trader, what are my rights?
We have a lot of the same rights as when buying a new washing machine if we buy a second hand appliance from a trader. This is why some traders used to pretend to be private sellers. This practice is now illegal. Although you have the same rights you still have to take into account the fact it is not new. Expectations should be reduced accordingly. If the washing machine is faulty right away, or very soon after buying, the trader needs to put it right. If the price paid was very low, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect it to last for years. For example, if you only paid Â£50 how long would you really expect it to last?
An appliance might be guaranteed for a short amount of time. But even it it fails outside that time (as with guarantees on brand new appliances) you may still have rights. These rights depend on how much you paid for it, how it’s been used, and how long it has lasted. For example if you paid Â£150 for a washing machine with a 3 month guarantee and a few weeks over 3 months it suffered a very expensive breakdown or was even not worth repairing you should seek consumer advice.
Related link: Citizens Advice (pdf) file Buying goods – your rights
If the appliance was sold as refurbished or reconditioned
If the appliance was refurbished or reconditioned this implies that it should be in better condition than one sold simply as “used” or “second hand”. Such an appliance should have been thoroughly checked. All worn or faulty parts should have been replaced and properly tested. It would be fair then to expect it to last longer than one that has just been sold as in working order. However, it is still not brand new. So expectations need to be reasonable. Again, how much it cost and how many times it’s been used need to be taken into account. It should last a “reasonable” time. Sadly, the term reasonable is open to argument. You may need to seek consumer advice if you have a dispute.
What if seller is a trader posing as a private seller?
If the seller is a trader but advertising as a private seller they are breaking the law. Anyone posing as a private seller can be prosecuted by trading standards under the Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977. If this is the case you should contact trading standards, who may very well already know about them. People blatantly flouting consumer law will often get reported many times. Trading Standards could be slowly building a case against them.
If the seller still refuses to repair or look at the machine after you’ve pointed out they may be breaking the law you may need to get an independent engineer to repair it. Then take the seller to the small claims court to recover costs. However, this is a little risky with people blatantly flouting the law. They may well be equally contemptuous of the small claims court. With relatively small amounts it may be difficult to get them to comply. It may make more sense to reject the machine and try to get your money back. You would be wise to seek professional advice from Trading Standards.
Reconditioned washing machines were popular in the 70s, 80s and even 90s, but are they still a viable buying option now new budget washing machines are so cheap? Reconditioning is a good idea in these throwaway times, but economics have affected the viability of reconditioning appliances for most engineers. As new ones continue to get cheaper and much less repairable it’s become more expensive to properly recondition them to a high standard, and much less attractive for customers to buy.
For example, you can still currently buy a new budget washing machine for as little as £199. I don’t believe it will much good, especially for a large family, but it is brand new and that’s appealing for most people. You can get an idea how ridiculously cheap they are now because I used to sell reconditioned Hoover washing machines in the 90s (See pics below) for £199 and as high as £250 when new ones with the same features were around £400+. Things have drastically changed.
Reconditioned washing machines would be a good idea if..
High quality reconditioned washing machines such as Miele would be ideal, they’d last longer and give a far better service than any new budget one. But the cost of spare parts, and the lack of discarded examples to recondition (because they last so long and there are relatively few sold) mean it's not viable. I don't know of anyone reconditioning real high quality washing machines. If they were they’d be a great alternative to cheap budget rubbish.
Are reconditioned appliances really reconditioned?
A properly reconditioned washing machine should be more than a repaired second hand one. Some might argue that if they repair a broken washing machine, test it, and clean it up then they’ve reconditioned it, but most people’s understanding of reconditioning is to do more than just fix a fault. It should be to extensively repair and replace parts, often ones still working but showing signs of wear so as to put it into a new condition. Not a “new” condition, but a new state of condition so as to have a renewed life expectancy.
To my knowledge, no one truly reconditions a washing machine like you could in the past. When I used to recondition them in the 80s & 90s I would always fit a new armature and carbon brushes in the motor (making the motor as good as new), fit new drum bearings, door seal, control panel and trims, drain hose, and any other part that was worn such as suspension, pumps etc. They looked almost new and had a full 12 month guarantee just like a new one. To recondition a modern washing machine like that now would be impossible because it would cost more than you could buy a brand new one for.
Should reconditioned washing machines be avoided?
It’s very difficult these days to find a genuinely reconditioned washing machine that has the chance of a new lease of life but then again even a properly repaired second hand washing machine could last 3 or 4 years if you are lucky enough depending on how old it is when purchased. If you are happy to accept they may just be repaired and tested (sometimes with second hand parts from other washing machines), and a trusted local repairman is selling them at prices you like then it might be worth going for if the price is right – especially if you have a very restricted budget or some short term requirements for a washer. There are some companies who claim to still extensively recondition washing machines, if you find one, and trust that’s exactly what they are doing they may be worth buying if circumstances dictate but the cheap price of new ones and expensive cost of spare parts for repairs make it impossible to do as good a job as we used to do many years back.
Realistically, although you can get lucky and get a decent life out of one, you have to tailor expectations according to prices. I've seen “reconditioned” washing machines advertised "from as little as £79". Even if they got the washing machine for free, and did nothing but clean it up and deliver it to you I can't see how they can make a proper profit out of £79. Then they have to guarantee it for some period.
Alternatives to reconditioned
One alternative to reconditioned appliances is renting. There are still a few companies taking renting seriously and Forbes is one. They only rent out new Bosch washing machines and rent all other household appliances too. Check out my article on renting here – Renting a washing machine or other household appliances
Go to Hotpoint Clearance Store (Use Whitegoodshehelp’s exclusive discount code WHITE30 for 30% off all listed prices). Heavily discounted appliances by Hotpoint, Indesit & Whirlpool, Maytag and Cannon. The Hotpoint Clearance Store sells discontinued large appliances, including cookers, washing machines and fridges.
Reconditioned washing machines from the past
I’ve been prompted to seek out my old photos of the reconditioned washing machines we used to do back in 1990 as described in my article above. We spent a lot of time and money on them and made them look virtually brand new.
Many people want to know if it is better to buy a separate washing machine and tumble dryer or a combined washer dryer. Separate appliances are definitely best. A combined washer and dryer will always be a compromise as explained in this article, but they wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have good reason to exist.
Separate Washing Machine & Tumble Dryer is Best
Washing and tumble drying are two totally separate jobs, which need different sized drums. To wash laundry the clothes need to rub against each other so a washing machine's drum size is designed for this to happen. But to tumble dry clothes they need plenty of space to be able to open up and fall through the hot air. This is why a tumble dryer has a much larger drum than a washing machine.
Even though these days it's possible to buy washing machines with really large drums you still need to have less laundry in to tumble dry than the washing machine is capable of washing, usually around half as much. No matter how big washing machine drums get they’ll always be able to wash a lot more than they can tumble dry so you’ll always have to stop the machine and take some out to tumble dry.
With separate appliances you can be drying one load whilst washing a second, which will save a lot of time. Also, because the workload is shared they do less work individually (eg. each has their own motor instead of one motor doing all the work) so they should break down less as well as last longer.
How do washer dryers work?
Combined washer-dryers are just normal washing machines with a few bits added on. On the top of the tub is a metal housing with an extra heating element and a fan to blow the heat into the drum. Washer dryers are condenser dryers now so the hot steam created during the drying cycle is blown into a plastic chamber. This chamber has a slow trickle of cold water running through it so the steam condenses immediately into water, which is then pumped away by the main pump.
They have exactly the same sized drum as a normal washing machine, so with a full load inside, in order to get the clothes to fall through the hot air you just have to take some of the washing out first. This is where the inevitable compromise lies (as with most thing's designed to do more than one job). If you are only washing a small load anyway then you can allow the washer dryer to continue onto tumble dry straight after the final spin, but of course you would have to wait until they are finished drying (which takes longer on a washer dryer) until you can start washing a second load.
Bearing all this in mind, washing and tumble drying a full load of towels or sheets, where you would need to remove up to half the load after the main wash and then tumble dry in two separate loads, is going to take several hours.
Are washer dryers less reliable than a washing machine?
They should be, they have more parts and do more work, to expect different is unrealistic. But they have less parts than a separate washing machine and tumble dryer. So are they less reliable than a separate washer and tumble dryer combined? – That is a much fairer question. According to reliability reports washer dryers do break down more than washing machines, but they have to surely? The only way they could not break down more is if all the dryer parts were so amazing they never failed.
No one seems to have tested if the tumble dryer section on a washer dryer breaks down more than – a tumble dryer, or whether they break down any more than a separate washing machine and a tumble dryer. This is relevant to anyone thinking of buying a washer dryer instead of a washing machine and a separate tumble dryer.
For all we know, a washer dryer may not on average break down any more than the combined separate machines together. My feeling, to be fair, is that they probably do, but not excessively so. Reliability reports do appear to unfairly compare a single machine doing two jobs with a machine doing only one.
What if the dryer part of a washer-dryer breaks down?
There is a common belief that if you have a washer dryer and it breaks down you lose two machines. But logically, if the washing machine part breaks down, what use is a tumble dryer anyway even if you had a separate one? And conversely, if the tumble drying section breaks down on a washer dryer you still have the washing machine working. It can happen, but mostly if a dryer section part fails, it doesn’t usually stop the washing machine from working.
Full summary of the main points of this article
I wanted to create a concise summary of the points in this article but there wasn’t room so I’ve put the summary here – Pros & Cons of washer dryer v separate
Most people want to know which brand of washing machine is best to buy. As an engineer I like to buy washing machines that can be repaired easily and at reasonable cost, but sadly these days most washing machines are quite unrepairable compared to the past. The only brand that really stands out as being still built to a very high standard are Miele. It’s difficult to recommend specific brands because most modern washing machines these days are very similar in build quality and design. If you strip them down you will see that most parts look virtually identical. Therefore there’s really not so much between them. The main difference is the standard of aftersales service, the availability and price of spare parts, and the length of the guarantees they come with.
It’s common for people to choose on looks and features but there’s little point in having great features and great looks if a washing machine is unreliable, and too expensive or difficult to get repaired – or doesn’t last very long. That’s why this page looks at the reliability of washing machines and gives advice about which ones are the most, and the least reliable. It’s focussed on washing machines but it’s mostly relevant to all of the appliances each brand makes. If they make poor quality washing machines, they tend to make the same quality dishwashers, fridges and tumble dryers etc. too, and so on.
According to Which? some of the most reliable makes of washing machine are AEG, Bosch, Siemens, Zanussi and Miele. Out of those brands Miele are far superior, but of course they are more expensive to buy. If I was buying in the mid price range I would buy AEG, if I was buying in the budget range I would buy Bosch or Zanussi. None of the brands in the budget and mid-price range can be whole heartedly recommended because they are so unrepairable but they are reasonably priced and reasonably made and if I have to name brands they are the ones at the moment.
Least reliable brands?
The least reliable brands were according to Which? were Indesit, Hoover, Candy and Hotpoint although these are also the most popular. This was from a survey which is now a few years old though and their latest findings can be found online which I obviously recommend you check out – Get your Which? offer
Use the information in my other articles to help make good buying choices – Buying Washing machines articles and check out Which? who do extensive up to date tests and survey their members.
Which? have all the resources to review all the latest washing machines. You can obtain a 1 month trial from them which you may find useful as they review and advise on all products, not just washing machines.