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. But you might be able to claim that it was not of reasonable quality (maybe because of repeated breakdowns). Or that a single serious breakdown has rendered it unrepairable in an unacceptably short time..

Related to sale of goods act

All information 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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31 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.

  4. Bought a Beko fridge freezer through AO March 21 specifically chosen as it has Freezer guard and can go in the garage with temps dropping to up to – 15C. The cold snap last week didn’t see temps drop to anywhere near that. (I am on the SEcoast). Yet today it seems to be not working.
    What’s my 1st step. It cost £330 20 months ago.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Pat. Unless the fridge freezer specifically says it can work in temperatures of -15°C then it may just not work properly at all when it gets too cold. The overwhelming majority of refrigeration appliances are designed to work in a kitchen and a kitchen is not expected to get anywhere near as cold as that.

      In actual fact though, Beko are one of the only manufacturers that claim their refrigeration appliances work in colder temperatures but I’m not sure if that applies to fridge freezers combined. This is because they usually only have one temperature stat inside the fridge. Which is not really much use for a combined fridge and freezer when one half needs to be kept between 0 and 5°C and the other half needs to be kept at -18°.

      There are very few, if any, fridge-freezers that will work properly even when it gets down to about 8 or 9°C. For a full explanation, read my article here, and also check out the 2 relevant articles that are linked inside it about climate class and fridge and freezers in a garage how are fridges and freezers affected by room temperature especially when it is cold?

  5. Hi there,
    My washing machine has just turned 2 years old. It had a fault within first 12 months and an engineer fixed it. The first time, it wouldn’t drain and sending out error codes. Faulty electrical wires and drain pump replaced. 2nd repair was due to it flooding and not working properly sending out error codes. Engineer came out and fitted it like a new machine. New PCB, new switch board, drain pump, belt etc and now it has flooded again causing damage to my property. 3rd visit engineer came last week fitted drain hose to machine. Said it was safe to use. Said would order new door because there’s a small crack on handle but doesn’t affect machine and another drain pump apparently just to cover all angles.

    Reassured me that the flooding wouldn’t happen again and could use my machine until he came back to fit the other parts… Went to use my machine after 3rd repair…It flooded worse than before! Machine flooded water everywhere! The engineer had made the fault worse.I came downstairs to chaos. So much water had come out of the machine that I couldn’t mop it up. I had to suck it up with the wet vac dryer. It damaged my flooring and woodwork I.e door frame and skirting The flood seeped through to my living room wall and has caused mold and damage to my carpet which now has brown patches and stinks of a musty damp smell as well as damage to my Lino in the utility room.

    I had to turn off the water inlet tap. Haven’t used machine since. Their engineer they recently sent out told me that the company will still keep sending out for repairs rather than replace machine even if the repair costs more than the machine. The repair company is apparently a sister partner so they make money off of Electrolux repairs. Zanussi is still trying to give me another repair despite me saying I now want a replacement. They’ve told me to send videos of machine to escalate it. Been going around in circles and now have been without a washing machine for a few weeks. Where do I stand? Am I able to get an exchange? Can I claim compensation for damage to my property caused by the faulty machine? The machine cost me £300 and it’s a family of 4.
    Thank you

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Marie. I think you need to get assistance from a consumer group like citizens advice. Most people make the same mistake in that they keep asking the people who are coming out to repair their machine for a replacement. They very seldom do, they have no obligation to replace anything. It was the retailer who took your money, and therefore the retailer that you have the contract with. The manufacturers only have an obligation to keep repairing whilst it is under their guarantee.

      You should be able to claim for what is known in legal terms as, “consequential damage” if the flood was caused by an engineer, or a fault. However, my understanding is that you would need to have acted reasonably to mitigate any damage. In other words if you had gone out and left the washing machine unattended, it could be argued that this was quite negligent, particularly as it had just been repaired. But if you just went about your normal business and caught the flood fairly quickly, and did everything you could to mitigate any damage, then I believe you may have a claim.

      I would double check with citizens advice on whether it is best to pursue the repairers or the retailer for the consequential damage. It is normal practice for retailers or manufacturers faced with a claim for consequential damage to try and con the customer into claiming on their household insurance instead. This is completely disingenuous, and a blatant attempt to get out of paying up. They have their own insurance to cover these things.

      It would definitely be easier to claim on your house insurance. And it would be less stressful. So there’s always that possibility, but of course this would mean that it would cost you money. Probably hundreds of pounds because there is always an excess that you have pay to the insurance company, and they are very likely to put your future payments up.

  6. Bought a Hisense washing machine. Customer service is shocking (from the manufacturer not the company I bought from, so will go back to them today, as per article).
    Bought in May 2021, 2 year warranty stated so outside of it now. Purchased for £329, used weekly between 2 persons and baby. The glass door has cracked and glass has came away from the door (also scarred my finger whilst removing). This was on a drum clean (programme on the machine). Would you say this is general wear and tear (the manufacturer states physical or mechanical damage so wouldn’t be covered from warranty) or would it come under consumer act and go back to where I bought from?

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      The door glass is not a part that’s subject to wear through use. It could be “physical damage”, but it could easily be a design issue or just poor quality. The problem is that if they refuse to do anything the onus is on the consumer to show that it was a manufacturing defect or a quality issue, which of course is often very hard.

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