Washing machine only just out of guarantee

Guarantee Guarantees are, “in addition to”, and do not affect our statutory rights. In fact there’s no law that says we even have to get any official guarantee, although no manufacturer is likely to try it. The guarantee we get with our washing machine is not really free, it’s just built into the price.

So it is not really free, and is quite separate from our consumer rights. They state that a washing machine must be “of merchantable quality”, and “fit for the purpose it was made for”.

It’s also expected to last a reasonable length of time and be free from inherent faults.

Don’t think you should have to pay for a repair?

If a fault develops even after the guarantee has expired, you may still be entitled to claim the washing machine wasn’t of merchantable quality and therefore claim a partial refund or damages (Consumer rights Act gives up to 6 years to claim for faulty appliances). Sadly though, you are highly likely to have to fight for this compensation and may need to go to the small claims court.

If the washing machine has an inherent fault

We can claim compensation if a washing machine can be shown to have an inherent fault. This is usually the cost of the repair. An inherent fault is a fault that was present when you bought it. Most faults will be apparent within the first 12 months. So they’ll normally be dealt with under the manufacturer’s guarantee. But there can be inherent faults that are not apparent until much later.

An error in design or manufacturing can mean a faulty part was fitted into the washing machine that takes a long time to fail. If it fails unreasonably soon and is serious it might be a breach of the consumer goods act. The fault may not become apparent immediately, but it was there at the time of sale. So the product might not have been of satisfactory standard or might be shown to have had an inherent fault.

That’s alright in theory but..

Words such as “reasonable” and “merchantable quality” are open to subjective interpretation. What is reasonable to one person may not be accepted as reasonable to another. So the courts often have to decide. If any fault occurs outside the guarantee you will normally find the manufacturer and retailer refuse to repair it free of charge. The initial guarantee has expired. As far as they are concerned it’s sad, but tough.

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Despite their attitude you could argue that a new washing machine was not fit for its purpose, or it has not lasted a reasonable of time. This will be easier if it was expensive. You might find evidence that hundreds or even thousands of people have had the exact same fault, and that it is a design fault. You may need to take the retailer to the small claims court (or at least threaten to) to get them to compensate you. Many have been successful, but relatively few are prepared for such a confrontation.

Consumer Rights Act (formally the Sale of Goods Act)

UK consumer law allows up to 6 years from purchase (5 in Scotland) to take legal action against a seller. So it’s possible to claim if your washing machine was inherently faulty, or simply not of good enough quality if it suffers a major fault even at 5 or 6 years old – especially one that renders it scrap. Whether you would win or not is rarely certain.

It depends on all the circumstances. If your washing machine cost only £200 and you’ve washed every day for 3 years for a family of 4 or 5 it may be judged that it has lasted a reasonable time. On the other hand if you paid £700 for a quality brand and only washed for 2 people it might be judged that it has not lasted a reasonable time.

Fair wear and tear clause

You should be cautious about jumping to legal action unless you are sure of your case. You may need to be prepared to fight your case. Don’t assume that you can take the seller to court over any breakdowns within the first 5 or 6 years. A washing machine (like any other goods purchased) cannot be expected never to break down. Even a break down after a year or two of washing may be considered reasonable depending on the fault and the amount of laundry the machine has been washing.

You have to show that the washing machine had an inherent fault present on the day of purchase to successfully claim under the consumer legislation. Or that it was not of reasonable quality (maybe because of repeated breakdowns).

Related to sale of goods act

All information is is given in good faith and without liability. With consumer issues, always double check advice using the free Government & consumer group’s literature as well.

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24 thoughts on “Washing machine only just out of guarantee”

  1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Helen. Once it’s out of guarantee it is the retailer Is manufacturer or retailer responsible for faulty appliances?. But unfortunately the retailer is highly likely to say the exact same thing, that is, it is out of guarantee so no free repair. However, if you do have a genuine case under the consumer rights act then this is something they should not be saying that usually still do. This is all explained in my article here, Out of guarantee – even by a long time doesn’t always mean you should pay I would certainly say that if you paid almost £5000 for an oven and hob and it should definitely last a lot longer than just over three years. If they refuse to comply you will need to get some expert consumer help but read both of the articles carefully that are linked to to get a better understanding.

  2. Hi I bought fridge through curry in 2015. I rang grundig the manufacturer and they sent engineer and I was told its unrepairable as the pipes are all rusted. This is clearly a manufacturer fault. Cause I am out of warranty they can’t send a replacement fridge. What should I do?

  3. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Homera Ali. I expect it would depend on where it has been used, but if it has just been used in a normal kitchen and not an outbuilding or garage then they shouldn’t be able to blame external things. It also depends on how much the fridge cost. So if it was a very cheap fridge and it has lasted nearly 6 years there is an argument that it isn’t so bad.

    On the other hand if it was expensive, it could be easily argued that it hasn’t lasted anywhere near as long as it should have. Unfortunately I don’t think Grundig actually manufacture fridges. I suspect they are one of the many companies that, “badge” up appliances (like Russell Hobbs, Kenwood and many other manufacturers with decent brand names and reputations for making nonwhite goods products). That is they get another manufacturer to make them for them and put their badge on them. Badged appliances are rarely high quality ones.

    At the end of the day it all boils down to how long you should expect a fridge to have lasted. Six years is probably about four years short of what would be expected for a normal fridge unless it was a really cheap budget one. Therefore your argument would need to be that it has only lasted about 60% as long as it ought to have. If you can get the retailer to agree then you would only be entitled to about 40% refund of the cost of the appliance because you have already enjoyed 5 to 6 years of it.

    It is the retailer that is responsible under the consumer rights act 2015 but unfortunately they are usually very poor at complying with many of the terms without people having to fight. It’s okay if something goes wrong straightaway, but once it is out of the manufacturers guarantee they are highly reluctant to pay any money out at all despite being legally required to do so. Therefore I would work out how much this amount is likely to be, and decide whether it is worth fighting for or not. The main thing to bear in mind is that the manufacturer is not obliged to do anything so don’t waste any time arguing with them.

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