Second hand washing machine Consumer rights

FAQ What are your consumer rights when buying a second hand washing machine – or any other appliance – from a private seller 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 for example 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 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.

Second hand washing machine breaks down soon after buying

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.


So watch out for traders posing as private sellers to avoid having to give a guarantee. This is illegal. Tell tale tips on how to find them and a full description of buyers rights can be found in the “related links” below.

Stay calm if it doesn’t work or seems to have a fault

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.

Related link: How to transport a washing machine properly


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.

Should you have noticed the fault?

If a fault could, and probably 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.

Bought a second hand washing machine from a trader? What are your rights?

We have a lot of the same rights when buying a second-hand washing machine as we do when we buy a new 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 £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 £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 faulty 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.

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40 thoughts on “Second hand washing machine Consumer rights”

  1. I bought a used washer from a selling sight on face book, I paid 120.00 dollars for it. This man always has washers for sale. The first washer I replied to was sold. He sent me a message with another one and it had no adgitstor in it. I told him no I want one with the agitator. So he sent me a message like a week later with a picture of the washing machine I bought from him. I bought the washer on January 27, 2019 I went to use the washer on February 13,2019 and it is malfunctioning according to the video on U- Tube I pulled up. I text him numerous times with my phone # and he has yet to call me back. I got one reply on text stating that he would be glad to call or message me. So I replied I am waiting on your call. Today is February 16, and still nothing from him. To I even sent a video of what the machine is doing. To day I sent him another message and stated I was not happy about this and if I have to I will take him to small claims court. Or I will stop by his house to make sure I talk to him. I stated I want it repaired or my money back. According to the video on U-Tube it is shot. What are my rights.

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Sheri. This is a UK website so I can only advise on UK consumer issues. In the UK, anyone selling washing machines and trading as a member of the general public is breaking the law. But if they are trading properly and making it clear that they are a business then they are bound by the consumer rights act.

  3. Hi I bought a washing machine off gumtree for £50 and it don’t spin do I have any right as they stated in good working order.

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Jodie. Your question is answered in my article. Please read through it all as everything that I know and think about the subject is in there. I know it’s got a lot of information in but it’s all there including links to check that the washing machine is actually faulty and it’s not a plumbing or connection fault etc.

  5. Hi

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice please.

    I sold my range cooker on a well known buy and sell site. It was an excellent cooker I never had any problems.

    I had a buyer who inspected the cooker I demonstrated it working whilst the buyer was there she was happy with the cooker and paid a deposit.

    She took the cooker home and not long after I had a barrage of texts saying one of the ovens was not working and grill also.

    I told her everything as she had witnessed was working now she is relentlessly texting saying she wants a part refund for the appliance

    Can you please tell me where I stand with this as I know the cooker was 100 per cent working
    Thanks

  6. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello She. This is very unfortunate. There are three possibilities, either they are trying it on, something got dislodged or damaged through transport, or the grill element has failed. The latter two are most likely. It is a very common problem with cookers. I’ve replaced two on mine already. There is no warning, they just suddenly go. They are like a lightbulb in the sense that they can just fail any moment. Ask them to carefully look at the elements in the grill with a torch to see if there is any sign of it warping or having broken. If there is then usually getting the element replaced will fix it fine.

    If it was like this when they came to see it then there is no way the grill would have worked. It’s obviously gone afterwards, which is clearly bad luck for them but nothing to do with you at all. You need to point them to this article if necessary and reread it yourself because everything is explained within it. Obviously buying anything second hand comes with risks. It could work perfectly okay and then within days something serious could fail on it. If this happens to anybody it is extremely frustrating and maddening but you can’t blame the previous owner unless you are going to directly accuse them of conning you. The chances of anybody been stupid enough to try and sell something that they know is faulty to someone who has their name address and phone number is pretty slim indeed :-)

  7. Hi there, I’m after a little advice if possible.
    I sold a brand new washer dryer, its RRP was £500 on Gumtree. It was sat in my hallway for a couple of months, as I was awaiting my kitchen being renovated however, due to the time and covid, I just wanted shot of it, my old washer works great and I needed some money for the kids for Xmas. I advertised for months at 250. Someone commented to advise they could collect within the day and would i accept £200. I agreed, the guy and his partner came, both absolutely delighted with the machine, I have a Ring doorbell fitted at the front of my property and it shows the guy smiling and more than happy to hand over £200 cash. He explained there was 6 of them in the house and there WM broke down Xmas Eve so they had lots of wet clothing and no washing had been done for days, so 3 days later he collected from me. I did not offer a warranty, it was sold as seen.
    I had a text on New Years Day to advise that they have done 6 washes and now they think the drum is broken?.
    As a private seller do I have to offer them a refund? Or ask them to contact someone to take a look to see what the issue is?. It appears that they have installed and it has worked for 6 washes now its broken?.
    I’m a single parent, work full-time and things are tight enough without having to give them a full refund and taking back a washer dryer that was brand new last week. But obviously worried because they know where I live.
    I registered the appliance in August, when I received it. Can I change to there details?.
    I’m worried about any legal implications, but I’ve sold hundreds of things over the years with no issue.
    Thank you for reading x

  8. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Nikki. It’s all explained in my article. No warranty can be expected when you buy something second hand. Unless they can show that they were deliberately misled it’s just part of the risk of buying something second hand. There’s even a chance that if it has broken down that they themselves could have caused it by misuse or leaving something inside a pocket – especially if there’s 6 of them. If it’s still under the manufacturer’s guarantee you may be able to get it transferred but otherwise how can it be your fault?

  9. I bought a washing machine fro private seller on gumtree he said washing machine was in good condition and working . He diliverd and connected washing machine to show it works I was so happy that was on Wednesday night . I used the machine Thursday and Friday no problems ,Saturday 3 days later I put wash on was in front room heard a loud bang thought it was firework outside . I went into the kitchen there was smoke in the glass window then smoke was coming up out throw the door while the machine was still going and strong smell of burning rubber . I turned it of from mains switch then messaged and called the seller he told me not to open door he will come tomorrow . But I found it very strange so I opened the door and then I saw that the rubber seal had burnt and melted into metal drum also bits of burnt rubber in the drum with washing and in the rubber seal . What are my rights and can I get refund. ? I’m scared the machine could if caught fire and me and my son could of been in danger .

  10. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Sue. I’ve never known one that caught fire in that situation. The smoke is caused by the rubber melting due to friction. This is caused when the drum or bearings go faulty and the revolving drum drops and catches in the plastic of the outer drum – or more commonly if an item of laundry gets jammed in the small gap between the revolving drum and the door seal.

    If the latter happens a towel or sheet can get dragged around in spin and cause the damage. It’s usually blamed on overloading the washing machine but some washing machines seem susceptible to it. Especially washer dryers.

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