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 to look at the subject objectively.

Both the customer and retailer’s points of view are explored in this article. Note that I am talking only about UK consumer rights.

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

  1. Company has offered a replacement washing machine but want to charge for taking away the old machine and plumbing in new o it’s under guarantee. Can they do this?

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Mary. I’ve never heard of this. How can they charge for picking up a faulty appliance? Unless they are swapping it out of goodwill? Also I presume by plumbing in you mean connecting up. Again, this sounds disingenuous if they want to charge just to connect it up. It might be inconvenient for them, but it’s far more inconvenient for a customer to have problems with a faulty appliance and have to have it replaced. I have course don’t know the exact circumstances. You may need to contact someone like citizens advice.

  2. Our new machine has gone faulty within 8 days of delivery (drum is rubbing on door seal causing smoke and washing smells like burnt rubber). Called the retailer (who contacted the manufacturer) and manufacturer are sending an engineer out in 11 days time “to confirm fault”. Can I insist they come quicker or just replace the machine urgently? Thanks

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      It’s normal for a retailer to insist on confirmation from the manufacturer before refunding or replacing an appliance. There are many faults that could actually be caused by the user. It’s unlikely but it’s even possible the drum could be catching because of an obstruction that got inside the washing machine.

      It’s a difficult situation, and a sad state of affairs when it takes 11 days to get someone to look at an essential appliance. The only hope is if you can persuade them that 11 days is unacceptably long to wait, maybe send them a video of the smoking?

  3. mrs carol barnes

    my washer dryer came with a 2yr guarantee. it’s now 13 months old and has stopped working. the engineers have been out twice. replaced parts but it is still not working. they are coming back for the 3rd time next week. can I ask for a replacement or a refund.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      It’s not as clear-cut with it being over 12 months old, but if it is still under the manufacturer’s guarantee, and they have failed to repair a fault twice, then you may be able to argue for a replacement or refund. Normally if we accept a repair, they have one chance to fix it. If they don’t fix it for the 3rd time, then without a doubt I would chase the retailer for a replacement or refund under the consumer rights act 2015.

  4. Thankyou found your article very useful had my candy washer nearly 5 months bought from currys x candy been out twice now did blame manufactures for problem now waiting for drum not In stock curry have replied candy can take as long as they want by law and especially in these times were parts are not easy to get but currys are looking into the problem waiting for a call from them but had the problem since Christmas it’s a nightmare

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Thanks Nicola. That’s what I keep telling people. It’s only the retailer who is responsible when things go wrong and we need to use our consumer rights. The only problem is the retailers keep fobbing us off to the manufacturers. The only obligation the manufacturer has, is to honour the guarantee. We have to remember that we gave our money to the retailer and that’s who our contract is with

  5. I purchased LG washer and dryer set in 2018 it 3 years old, and the washer has been damaged by the warranty company technicians doing service from end of June 2022-now. my own research, I found out that the washer has been discontinued. I was told that I needed to purchase both a new washer and dryer as a stack unit. When I was only refunded money, just for the washer this December 2022. They also cosmetically damage to my dryer as they unstacked it.
    In the case where washer is discontinued how do you fight? I am stuck with a dryer, but I have no washer to sit under the dryer.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Denise. I’m not sure I fully understand exactly what has happened correctly. I’m assuming you mean that the manufacturers engineers cause damage to your washing machine, that caused it to need replacing and they refunded money in order to replace it. But because you have a tumble dryer connected to the washing machine using a tumble dryer stacking kit, and it was not possible to buy a new washing machine that fitted to the tumble dryer stacking kit, then you also need a new tumble dryer and stocking kit?

      If that is the case, then I would expect that anyone who needs to compensate you for damaging a washing machine would also need to pay for the new tumble dryer and stacking kit. Obviously, they are likely to be reluctant to do this. But in cases where someone has caused damage to your property, they should be liable to pay for all of the financial consequences. In law, this is called consequential loss. You would need to quote this phrase, “consequential loss”. No one should expect to only partially pay for financial losses caused by something they have done.

      It is a bit unusual for someone to damage a washing machine and then have to do pay for a tumble dryer too, but if it is no longer possible to replace the washing machine with one that can fit underneath your tumble dryer, then the consequences of their negligence, or accidental damage mean that to put it right you have to have both appliances replaced. I would contact citizens advice for confirmation of this.


    I bought a LG washing machine on the 07/12/2022 we have used it about 20 times. Now a tiny piece of the gasket is broken so unable to use the washing machine as it leaks. The company is asking for £145 for repairs although its still on warranty which is unfair as it is a brand new machine and we have are shocked that its broken so easily.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Nefertiti. Wow, £145 to repair a washing machine is now unbelievably ludicrous. It won’t be long now before no one bothers repairing any washing machine. If the manufacturer wants to charge you for the repair, they must presumably be insisting that the fault is not covered under the guarantee because it was caused by either overloading or something being left inside a pocket? Whereabouts is the damage, is it on the front of the doors to where the door glass presses onto it when closed, or is it at the back where it almost touches the revolving drum, or is it in the side somewhere?

  7. My candy washer is 10 months old still under guarantee. An engineer came out and the drum needed replaced I gave them the model number and its been 4 weeks the engineer came back out to change the drum and they have sent the wrong size now I’m out of pocket and still no washer. I have asked for a replacement but they are delaying this what can I do?

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Charlene. Under the consumer rights act 2015 we have a right for repairs to be carried out within a reasonable time. I think most people would agree that 4 weeks, followed by potentially another 3 or 4 weeks waiting for the correct part is not a reasonable time.

      The problem is that the manufacturers tend to be understaffed, and their engineers seem to have far too many jobs to do. This is evidenced by the fact that it usually takes 2 or 3 weeks to even get a first visit, and then if they have to order parts it can take as long again for them to complete a repair. There’s no other explanation for such poor service. Unfortunately, to them, it is not an unreasonable time because it’s the normal time, it’s just the normal way that they work and have become accustomed to it.

      If by any chance they have promised to fast-track and fit the correct part really quickly, you might want to give them another chance. But potentially you could be waiting a fair bit longer. Maybe they have given you a timeframe?

      If it looks like you are going to be weeks without it, and this is totally unacceptable, you should complain to the retailer, telling them that under the consumer rights act 2015 you have a right to repairs carried out in a reasonable timeframe. And that this is definitely not a reasonable timeframe, so you want it replacing. Especially being as it is only 10 months old and has already suffered an extremely serious failure. That alone could be justification for a replacement. The consumer rights act says that products should be of sufficient quality and fit for purpose. A major fault within 10 months, that has not been caused by wear and tear, is hardly good quality.

      At the end of the day though, I suspect they will just stubbornly stick to telling you that you have to wait for the part to arrive and let them fix it. This is not really true, but when they stick to that, there is often little that consumers can do. This is because by the time you’ve organised yourself, maybe got advice from citizens advice, sent them a letter et cetera, the part would probably have arrived and it could have been fitted. So in cases like this it is very hard to get a satisfactory solution.

  8. Hi, I bought a Hisense washing machine on 10/01/2023 …since then I’ve had problems including overheating, door leak, crumpled washing plus the programmes taking longer than they should, ie its adding between 10 and 15 minutes to each programme. The retailer has insisted I report this to the manufacturer which I did – the engineer failed to turn up for the appointment on Monday 13th – wasnt notified and no reason given. Next appointment is Monday 20th which will be 2 weeks after my initial report. These faults were reported to both the retailer and manufacturer within 30 days of purchase.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Ann. I wouldn’t expect wash times being 10 to 15 minutes longer to be caused by any fault. Wash times are always estimates, and can be affected by various factors such as the temperature of the water coming in, and how long it takes to balance the laundry properly before spins. So, for example, I would expect wash times to be longer in winter when the cold water going into the machine is much colder to start.

      But if there are faults on the washing machine within the first 30 days, most retailers will replace it as long as it is confirmed there are faults. At the moment I think it’s very unlikely a retailer would replace the washing machine with an engineer being booked. You may need to wait and see what the engineer says is wrong with it before deciding whether to try and get it replaced. If it is something fairly serious it is likely to be easier to get it replaced and if it’s something relatively simple.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Susan. Within the first 30 days, we can usually ask for a full refund. After 30 days, and up to 6 months we may still be entitled to a refund or exchanged washing machine, but this would depend on what the fault is. It’s not likely, or arguably even reasonable, to expect a retailer to replace a washing machine that may be just had a loose wire, for example.

      However, no retailer is going to replace anything until the manufacturer’s engineer has been out to establish exactly what the problem is. So if the engineer confirms that there is a fault on the washing machine, you would need to decide what to do. Supposing they found a small fault, and said they can fix it in 10 minutes. For me, it would not make any sense to refuse the repair and then try and fight for replacement.

      But if they said there is a fault, and they have to order the part, which could take a couple of weeks or so, then that may be a lot less acceptable. Or if they found that a major fault had occurred, that may also be less acceptable. The main thing to bear in mind though is that the manufacturer is not going to replace the appliance. They will only offer to repair it. If it does get replaced under the consumer rights act 2015, it would have to be by the retailer. Who tend to be very reluctant to do so.

      If you accepted a repair, and then something else went wrong shortly after, you would have a much stronger case to have it replaced. Especially if the same fault occurred. They are normally only entitled to one repair attempt.

  9. HI bought a washing machine in november 2022, its now just about 3 months later and there is smoke coming from the machine. Hotpoint sent out an engineer today who checked it and said it needs a new drum and a new door seal because theres a twist?? in the drum but i want it replaced not repaired because if its broke (with smoke) within 3 months what else could be wrong with this one. Currys is saying no way get it repaired not our problem its past 30 days get lost. The man we spoke to was rather rude about it. How would you advise going about getting a replacement rather than a repair. We have the engineer report stating the problem, the smoke and the age of the machine. what do we say to currys to get them to listen that it has been sold to us as faulty so its on them to replace not repair

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