How to get faulty washing machine exchanged

Angry-customer-2 What are our consumer rights related to washing machines and white goods appliances that break down? Especially soon after purchase. Trying to get an appliance exchanged can be stressful and difficult. So before we jump in and angrily demand a replacement it’s best to try and look at the subject objectively.

Both the customer and retailer’s points of view are explored in this article.

I don’t want my washing machine repaired – I want it exchanged

Many customers want an exchange if a washing machine breaks down when they haven’t had it very long. Especially if it’s very soon after purchase. Unless a retailer had a 28 day exchange policy this used to be difficult. But the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 now makes this very simple. It says that if a new appliance goes faulty within 30 days we are entitled to a full refund if that’s what we want.

Is the washing machine really faulty?

However, before jumping in, try to make sure there is definitely a fault on the appliance. Make sure that the fault is not caused by faulty installation or a user fault. Failing to read the instruction manual causes a lot of avoidable problems. As an engineer I know that a substantial percentage (if not the majority) of all calls to a new appliance within the first week are likely to be user faults or installation faults.

If it’s a washing machine check this list that I have compiled separately is the washing machine actually faulty? It shows 9 examples of “faults” that are not washing machine faults at all. They are all caused by installation or user errors. Remember, you can be charged if it turns out to be one of these faults so it makes sense to check it.

They won’t exchange any appliance without sending an engineer to check it first

It’s easy to see why it’s highly unlikely anyone will exchange an appliance simply because it’s reported faulty once you’ve read the list mentioned above. It’s almost certain an engineer will need to inspect and confirm it is genuinely faulty.

Can I insist on an exchange if the washing machine IS faulty?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives us the right for a full refund if an appliance is faulty within the first 30 days. If the appliance is genuinely faulty you can request your money back.

You should stop using it and reject it. Some major retailers have exchange policies where they will exchange an appliance within the first 28 days without much hassle. This has nothing to do with any consumer rights though. It’s a commercial good-will policy decision.

The sooner a fault occurs the more likely a retailer will exchange it. They tend to get very reluctant after roughly a month. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that faults within the first 6 months are inherent. This means the fault must have been present when sold even if it didn’t show before. The retailer must prove otherwise. So if a substantial fault occurs within the first 6 months you have a better chance of getting it exchanged. After 6 months it is extremely difficult to get an appliance exchanged, even if consumer law says you are entitled to it.

Should you complain the manufacturer?

Under UK consumer law the manufacturer is not responsible. Only the retailer has any obligation regarding faulty goods. A manufacturer has an obligation to honour their guarantee. But they have no obligation to exchange faulty appliances. Neither can they give your money back because you gave it to the retailer. Some manufacturers will get involved. They will sometimes offer to exchange an appliance. If they offer something acceptable that’s fine. But if they don’t, remember the retailer is bound by the Sale of Goods act. It’s them you should be negotiating with. (Related: Why can’t I complain to the manufacturer? They made it so aren’t they ultimately responsible?)

Retailers can sometimes insist on repairing – not replacing an appliance

Rejected Automatically rejecting a washing machine over any fault is not necessarily a good idea. It’s common to instinctively want to reject something that breaks down the first time you use it, or within a short time of buying. As customers, we often appear to undergo a psychological rejection of goods, which is not based on any logic. It’s almost as if the washing machine is cursed, and doomed to constant failure so it must be got rid of.

Try not to lose sight of the fact that any product can develop a fault. It doesn’t mean there is something seriously wrong with it. It doesn’t mean that it will never stop breaking down. Bear in mind that a minor repair may  be considerably more convenient for all concerned including yourself. What’s the point for example of going through all the hassle of getting a washing machine exchanged if it can be fixed in 5 minutes with hardly any effort?

Also bear in mind that a retailer can insist on a repair if they can show that replacing the appliance is disproportionately more expensive than a repair.

You might be entitled to reject it if the product is faulty from the start but it makes sense to just see what the fault is first. Some faults can be pretty minor and hardly warrant a total rejection.

There is sometimes a stalemate caused by conflicting statements in the Sale of Goods Act. It gives us the right to reject a faulty product, but also gives retailers a right to repair it if it only has a minor fault.

Faults within the first 6 months are deemed to have been present when sold

As previously mentioned, a new amendment to consumer law has shifted the burden of proof of a fault from the consumer to the seller. This is only applicable within the first 6 months. This means a fault within 6 months is automatically assumed to be an “inherent fault” unless the seller can prove otherwise. It’s as good as saying if a new part can’t last a mere 6 months, it must have been faulty (or of sub-standard quality) when it was fitted to the washing machine. So it was therefore sold with an inherent fault.

Why are retailers so reluctant to exchange a faulty appliance?

This could be why – Is the sale of goods act too hard on retailers?

Faults on appliances out of guarantee

Once the appliance is out of the manufacturer’s guarantee you will always be told that you have to pay for a repair – even if The Consumer Rights Act 2015 shows you are entitled to a free repair or compensation. You can be entitled to a free repair or partial refund long after the first year.

It will depend on all of the circumstances, but you can still be covered by UK consumer law as this article describes Out of guarantee even by a long time doesn’t always mean you should pay

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

Some people think that because the Consumer Rights Act (formally Sale of Goods Act) gives us up to 6 years (5 in Scotland) to claim compensation it means we have a claim any time it breaks down within the 6 years. This is definitely not the case. Read this article here – Consumer Rights Act (formally Sale of Goods Act) gives us 6 years to claim for faulty appliances

Which? Consumer Advice special offer

I’m not a consumer expert. My consumer advice is my personal understanding based on a long study and research on the subject coupled with my 40 years experience in the trade, and years of writing and advising on my web sites.

Which? are a great source of independent consumer advice and product reviews and you can benefit from their highly respected opinions and experience online – you can usually get a special offer trial offer – (Why subscribe to Which? )

Distance selling regulations

You have additional rights if you buy your appliance over the internet or through a mail-order catalogue. Read this article for more information on Distance selling regulations on returning appliances

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122 thoughts on “How to get faulty washing machine exchanged”

  1. Linda Lightbown

    I have. Had my washing machines for 4month now it not working l have spent 5hour on phone done all I WAS told and still not working curry don’t want to now there fit it

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Linda. If it’s under six months old, unless they can prove it’s something to do with how it’s being used or fitted then the retailer should give you a refund or an exchange. You would need to tell them that the consumer rights act 2015 says that unless they can prove otherwise it has failed within six months so therefore when they sold it to you it was already faulty. Selling a faulty product is in breach of the consumer rights act.

  3. I brought a washing machine from ao they offered me an exange after the machine broke down after 8 months which was good
    They also said has my warranty was only valid till sept thi year from old one they would only cover me till sept this year with new one meaning new one wil only be covered for 2 months is this correct procedure should I not get the 1 year warranty with the new product Donna

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Donna. Unfortunately yes this is correct. They all do that. I suppose they are frightened of almost perpetual guarantees if they keep having to exchange something. But obviously that is highly unlikely, and even if it was, it would serve them right for producing rubbish.

    But it is standard practice that any manufacturers guarantee we get starts on the day we get the product and finishes one year (or whatever the term is) later. If the appliance is exchanged at any time within that period nothing changes. Just like if you had a repair, say a brand-new motor fitted, they would not extend the warranty on that specific part so that it continues after the rest of it has expired – although there is an argument that that would be fair.

  5. I moved into a new house on 31 July 2020 and a new washer/dryer machine was part of the deal. It is an AEG as are all the other appliances in the house and all other houses on the estate. Since 2nd June this year the dryer part of the machine has not been working properly. I registered the machine with AEG and an engineer has now been 5 times to try and fix it over a period of more than 11 weeks. Still not fixed. I registered with AEG (Electrolux) who passed the information to Pacifica and then onto 0800 repairs (only one engineer in this area of Scotland), these companies are based in England. The engineer doesn’t think there is anything else he can do to the machine and has passed his report to Electrolux. I have tried to find out by phoning and have now sent a letter of complaint to consumer services at AEG. No-one is coming back to me. The machine has a two year warranty. What can I do now?

  6. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Ann. AEG have become very popular with builders as they are generally reasonably priced and decent appliances. In cases where you feel that you have a valid complaint under the consumer rights act 2015 then you have to complain to the people who you bought it from. This is usually a retailer – but it seems that things are much harder when it is a builder. From what I have experienced and learnt from people contacting me, builders are often even worse than retailers when it comes to complying with the consumer rights act, which is going to cost them time and money.

    But ultimately the manufacture of a product is only responsible for carrying out repairs under the guarantee. If they aren’t able to do that you can claim against the people you bought it from. Sometimes manufacturers can be forward-thinking and offer to replace a troublesome appliance but not that often and they are not obliged to.

    The only people that are obliged by law to compensate us or replace a product (if it has broken the consumer rights act) are the people that you gave the money to. A retailer or builder is the person that bought the washing machine from AEG. You bought the washing machine from the builder (in most cases the retailer) and that is why consumer law puts the onus on them.

    As I said I’ve come across a lot of people that have had trouble with builders. They are often not interested when an appliance that they sold you as part of the house is not fit for purpose, or has not lasted a reasonable time etc. This is especially true the further away it gets from the end of the manufacturer’s guarantee. As far as they are concerned, and this goes unfortunately for most retailers too, they sell you the appliances, if they go faulty whilst under the manufacturer’s guarantee you should not bother them and need to contact the manufacturer. If they go faulty outside of the guarantee, you should also not bother them and get in touch with the manufacturer. However, this is completely wrong and they are not entitled to wash their hands of it because we have consumer rights that last up to 6 years (five in Scotland).

    In your case it sounds like AEG have been unable to repair your appliance despite more than enough attempts. You would really hope that AEG themselves would replace it for you in order to salvage their reputation with you and your friends and family, but they are not obliged to. So if they won’t you’ll have to try and get the retailer (which in your case is presumably the builder) to do it. You may need to solicit the help of a consumer rights group such as citizens advice or even Which? (Which? membership benefits & Offers)

  7. I have an expensive LG washer and it’s gone wrong within 7 months the error is still showing after repair and I have now been without a working machine for over a month.
    They can’t get the part I need what are my rights.

  8. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Sarah. If they can’t repair it within a reasonable time then the retailer should replace it. Note it is the retailer and not the manufacturer. Although in theory the manufacturer can replace it if they wanted to, in practice they rarely do because they are not obliged to. If the manufacturer is still insistent on waiting for the part to come and repairing it you will get no further with them at all.

    You would need to contact the retailer, and tell them that under the 2015 consumer rights act they are responsible because the retailer cannot repair it in a reasonable amount of time. Sadly I can predict that they will just say that it is nothing to do with them and you need to let the retailer repair it but this is not really true. Remind them that they and they alone are responsible for all of the rights that you have from the 2015 consumer rights act (who is responsible for faulty appliances?). Being without a major white goods appliance for over a month should be totally unacceptable. You might need to get help from a consumer group like Citizen’s advice Which?

  9. I brought a second hand washer it had a year guarantee.I have had problems from day 1.when they delivered it they didn’t change the old pipes I was left with no instruction book or guarantee.Iput the washer on a quick twash but the drum was still full of water.i tried to spin&drain it but it didn’t work. I rung the supplier but they would never get back to me.i was still recovering from a serious accident a broken neck both arms and a broken jaw my jaw was that bad I had to have a metal plate put in I am now deaf in my right ear after they drilled through my ear canal I’m just waiting now for my dental surgery the company no what I was going through anyway I tried to fit the washer pipes and found a plastic piece stuck in the pipe has soon as I removed it the water drained out.on several occasions the washer as flooded my kitchen causing damage to my carpets and furniture being so ill I just don’t have the energy to do anything about it.but when it happened again and I was told by the plumber never put the pipes on and the old pipes were a meter shot so every time I was having to drain the water it eventually came off I was so mad.I rung the supplier and told them I want my money back I still have 4months warranty but I was told 2 get in touch with Indesit I told them that was there job not mine he just put the phone down I tried calling again and asked for the manager to call me back OK after ringing up every 15mins he came to the phone and said ring indesit I asked for the number but didn’t have it right I gave them the serial number and told them to get back to me 4days later and no reply so rung back they told me they had gave indesit my details and were going to call me.After a few days I decided to ring indesit my self I was told that the washer I had was 6yrs old.some 1 is coming out Monday but I have to pay a call out fee I rung back the supplier and told him that washer is 6yrs old he said we have not been open for that long no but scrap yards have is there anything I can do to get my money back

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