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. Hi, my daughter bought a hotpoint washer from curry’s online which was delivered 6/9/20, horrendous banging on spin cycle and called c/s on 5/10/20, engineer came out, did something said all ok, it wasn’t, it was still banging. She called again, engineer came out, fault= said need new tank, door seal and bearing failure. Curry’s said no to refund as it’s gone past 30 days… obviously the original complaint was well within 30 days the rest of it was waiting for engineers. Have demanded to speak to manager and was told he’ll get back to us…. unsurprisingly he hasn’t…. please help, young baby in house no washing grr!!!!

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Mark. As described in my article above if a fault occurs within the first six months the Consumer Right Act 2015 says that the appliance was faulty when it was sold to you, unless the retailer can prove otherwise. This is described in the section headed, FAULTS WITHIN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS ARE DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN PRESENT WHEN SOLD. So I would complain that they have sold you an appliance that had an inherent fault and you should not have to have such extensive repairs done on such a new machine.

  3. Bought a Miele in March. It worked for 7 weeks and then the control panel wouldn’t respond. We contacted Miele but due to lockdown it was August before an engineer came. Today the engineer phoned to say the fault was caused by liquid damage (spillage). I am unaware of any spillages which could have occurred. Miele say it’s not their responsibility and the engineer says the machine is unrepairable. So basically £1200 for approx 20 washes. Don’t know where I stand.

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Mrs A. This is a tricky one. To be honest my first thought is that I would have expected a Miele washing machine to be built of sufficient quality to not be destroyed by something being spilled onto it. I would expect it to be difficult for liquid to get inside because any liquid spilt on top of the washing machine just runs down and I would expect it to be quite difficult for it to get inside. Even in a cheap washing machine it’s not something that would be easy unless it was a big serious spillage.

    Have they offered any proof that it has been caused by spillage? Have they shown you the part that has water or liquid damage on it? Have they explained how a liquid from the normally innocuous spillage could get inside so easily? If you know there was an incident then obviously that’s one thing that if you are adamant that nothing has been spilt on it those are the lines of enquiry I would be taking.

  5. I had a new Hotpoint washing machine installed by Currys on the 23rd January, today 23rd.Feb the machine emitted smoke with the smell if rubber when the door was opened,all the clothes smelt of rubber. The machine is one day over from the exchange system,the Hotpoint engineer is visiting on the 25th. What is my legal position? Can I demand a replacement?

  6. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Barry. Its going to depend on the cause of the fault. If by any chance something serious has gone wrong like the drum bearings or the drum itself that’s pretty much a serious issue that should never happen after such a short time. Within 6 months the fault is now assumed to have been present when sold and therefore the retailer sold a faulty appliance with an inherent fault. However, a strong burning rubber smell can be caused by something getting trapped between the drum and door seal and can be caused by overloading, which they would blame on the user.

  7. We bought a new washing machine. After
    5 months of little use the bearings went so they replaced them after another few months they are going again .we called hot point now they tell us the machine is out of warranty. So the bearings have gone twice. Should I have to pay

  8. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Allan. I can’t think of a better example of an inherent fault. It’s ludicrous for drum bearings to fail once never mind twice in such a short time. I would speculate water is getting into them through a faulty seal. You should contact a consumer group for help if they refuse to repair it. However, don’t waste your time with the manufacturer. They are not obliged to do anything after the guarantee has expired. It’s only the retailer who is responsible under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Who is responsible for faulty appliances?)

  9. Mrs Ann Russell

    Hi, I bought an integrated washing machine just over two months ago from a local retailer. I had to have them out during the first couple of weeks as the machine had not been installed properly. Since then I have had problems. Yesterday a loud clicking noise occurred and the door locked. The machine is in the “Off” position. I have phoned the retailer who are sending me out today to see if the installation is correct and the a white goods engineer to inspect the machine. I am disabled and need a working machine. What are my rights? The machine is a Bloomburg.

  10. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Ann. As it is under 6 months old it is deemed to have been faulty when sold unless they can prove otherwise. This means the retailer has breeched the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If there is a serious fault, or if it is going to take several days or more to fix you should be able to ask for an exchange or refund. However, you need to remember that it is not the engineer or manufacturer who is obliged to exchange it but the retailer. You have to fond out what is wrong first and if the engineer insists they can only repair it and you want an exchange you must argue that with the retailer. If the engineer can fix it easily and quickly though you might want to consider just getting it fixed.

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