The sale of goods act allows us to attempt to claim compensation from repairers or retailers under certain conditions, which include bad or negligent repairs, being sold faulty goods, or being sold a product which fails to last a reasonable time or eventually develops a fault which was clearly inherent.
Before taking a trader or repairer to court
If a repairer is a member of any trade association you should try raising the issue with them first. Trade associations usually have certain standards and practices that the trader has promised to adhere to, and if they haven’t, the trade association may be in a position to influence and advise them to put things right.
If they are not a member of a trade association, or you get nowhere with them and still believe you have a case then you can make a claim in the small claims court as long as it’s for £10,000 or less (£5,000 or less for personal injury or housing disrepair). Even so you need to have written to the company or trader first giving a specific time to correct any fault. There is also an alternative option of using the Alternative Dispute Resolution service (which is binding but does not involve legal action).
There is plenty of help available from consumer groups, and from the leaflets and brochures listed below. Remember, the small claims court was set up to make it pretty easy and relatively risk free for consumers to take on companies they have a dispute with so it shouldn’t be too daunting. Read the information below for a better understanding –
- Small claims court advice – Citizens Advice
- Sale of Goods Act gives us 6 years to claim for faulty appliances
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Citizens Advice bureau (pdf) downloadable booklet
- Money Claim Online No need to even go to court, you can take a business to the small claims court online now. This is a "simple, convenient and secure way of making a claim on the internet." (Government site)
Which? members can phone a consumer helpline
You can research Which? Consumer Rights for expert advice (What do I get when I take a trial?) immediately (not just about washing machines) and benefit from their highly respected opinions and experience of consumer issues. Also receive the Which? magazine as part of 1 trial and speak directly to a consumer expert about your issues.