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 Kevin. The article is more about products that are only just out of guarantee. After over 5 years it’s a totally different issue. Depending on the advertised quality and price it’s not unexpected or necessarily unacceptable for something to break down. If the oven cost a lot of money and was advertised as a premium quality oven you might try to argue it shouldn’t have broken down by now especially with little use.

    However, after 5 years it will be very difficult to win a case so you’d have a tough job to get anywhere. The manufacturer and retailer will both stick to their guns that this is just what happens to appliances, they sometimes need repairing. You would have to prove that it is a design fault, or was not of sufficient quality. As I said if the oven cost say £1500 you might have a case but if it was say £400 I’d say not. If the fault turned out to be beyond reasonable repair though it might be a stronger case that it hasn’t lasted a reasonable time.

  2. Hi Andy,
    I bought a SIA cooker hood in Aug 17, in Dec 18 it stopped working all together although the lights were still working. During that time it had minimal use, once or twice a week at most as I live on my own. The seller refused to replace the product or offer a refund. They offered a replacement motor which I reluctantly accepted after several emails and had to have fitted at my own expense as they wouldn’t cover this. This didn’t solve the problem, the seller is still refusing a full refund or replacement and have offered a partial refund of £70, the item cost £130. Should I accept this partial refund or am I entitled to either a replacement of full refund?
    Thanks, Anna

  3. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Anna. It was unwise of them to assume was the motor. Time and money has been wasted. However, I’m surprised that the person who fitted the motor and found that it didn’t work wasn’t able to carry out further tests to establish what the actual fault was. It could be something as simple as a poor connection somewhere.

    There are very few parts in cooker hood. So if the lights are working but the motor isn’t running, and it definitely isn’t a fault on the motor, that only leads a fault on the switch that turns the motor on, or a faulty connection between the switch and the motor, or potentially a fault on any small PCB that might be fitted. If making a claim under the consumer rights act you really need to know what the fault is first.

    It’s very unusual for a retailer to send you a part. They would normally want to send an engineer to find out what the fault is. As I said, without knowing exactly what the fault is you can’t know what action needs to be taken. If it was the motor that had failed you might be able to argue that a major part has failed after just over a year. And that’s not good enough. But if it’s only a little switch that has failed it might not seem so bad.

    The only thing you can really do is try to get a competent engineer to find out what the problem is. If by any chance they can fix it for £70 or less you might be happy to accept their £70. At least once you know what the fault is you are in a better position to argue a case. You could potentially try to claim the cost of repair in the Small Claims Court.

  4. Hi Andy,
    I bought a Kenwood fridge from Currys for £350 in Sept. 2017 (with matching freezer as part of a promotional deal), with standard 1-year Currys warranty. In Jan. 2019 (less than 4 months out of warranty) the fridge showed signs of a fault with all front panel lights and warning buzzer going on when the door was opened a certain width. Soon after, all power to the fridge was lost.
    I spoke to Currys who directed me to the company which deals with their customer service and warranty repairs. This company were adamant that it could not be repeaired for free as it was out of warranty, but that I could have it repaired by their “RepairCare” team for an all-inclusive fixed fee of £175. As we need a working fridge I agreed to this.

    The engineer replaced the wiring loom to the fridge door and also the main control board — he stated that it wasn’t an identical control board but should work correctly, and if there are any problems they will sort it. A few days after the repair the fridge started showing error code E3, there was a gas hissing noise from the lower internal vents, and the temprature was so cold that the food was starting to freeze inside! I shut the appliance off and have re-booked an engineer’s visit.

    After reading your helpful articles on consumer rights and expected durability of white goods, I feel I should be entitled to compensation of the £175 repair cost as I wouldn’t expect such faults to occur on an appliance less than 16 months old.
    Furthermore, I’m worried that other damage may have been caused to the appliance by the intense cooling (and who knows what else), causing further problems down the road.

    Can you please let me know your thoughts and what my course of action should be?

    Many thanks,

  5. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Mark. Having to spend £175 to repair an appliance only a few months out of guarantee seems unacceptable to me. Especially as the fault seems very unusual and rare. You should never have to replace a wiring loom. Also, the hissing noise sounds ominous to me. Could it be the refrigerant gas escaping? I would be looking at getting it replaced although the retailer is entitled to knock off a certain percentage to allow for the fact that you have had 16 months use from it.

    I have several articles related to this issue at the bottom of my article above. Try reading these for extra information, especially Out of guarantee even by a long time doesn’t always mean you should pay

    Just remember that your rights are only with the retailer. The company that deals with their repairs have no obligation whatsoever other than to carry out repairs under the guarantee. They will never agree to repair anything out of guarantee. The only people that can compensate you are the retailers and when they pass you on to the manufacturer or a repair company they are washing their hands of it and trying to fob you off.

  6. Hi
    We recently purchased a kitchen from Wren – £12,000 : we installed with our own guy and not wren – due to bad reviews .
    Anyways bought end October 2019 – we had delays on moving into the house and kitchen being fully fitted – no gas and electric until January 2020. Moved into the house beginning of jan – this is when all
    Plastic films etc removed from units and appliances- at this point – faults were noticed – only a few to start –

    1) CDA HOB: chip on hob – which after 3 weeks use middle ring of hob does not stay alight.
    2) Neff ovens – scratches on one- at the top along the digital clock area – not in keeping with any of the other ovens ( no scratches on these )
    2b) second oven : use of self clean mode – water marks between panels of glass
    3) microwave – dust inside digital clock
    4) chipped plastic fridge draw

    All products used for less than a month – this is not an exhausted list and many of the units have chips on them ( these are within wrens 12 months guarantee) I have contacted wren – they said although I of their 28 days they would take a final order – we initially gave some of the products – customer service said to make sure all products checked as this would be deemed a last order – so we did . 16 items later – many units chipped – they are now saying as the appliances at out of 28 days they can not replace them – although they had said they would replace hob ( first thing informed of fault) now it seems too many items and retracting what they have promised . Have offered 20 % refund on some of the items . Scratches on oven , chip on plastic fridge door, and hob . And that they would contact the oven company in regards to water and dust issues . – I have gone into ring Neff myself and they have informed me of my consumer rights and these issues should still be resolved with wren .

    Any advice or anything I can say to ensure a quick reaction and replacement of items would be greatly appreciated . Ironically the rep at wren ensured us that products of faulty would be replaced swiftly as we had highlighted some concerns prior to purchase !

  7. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Nikki. Yes it’s a cautionary tale regarding not inspecting and using appliances straightaway. It’s not a criticism of you, you obviously could only fit them when it was properly convenient. But as a general rule of thumb it is always vital to at least unpack and inspect any brand-new appliance that is delivered as soon as possible. The retailer is highly receptive to dealing with problems when they are so immediate. When somebody rings up and says your deliveryman has just left and we have found a fault they are extremely helpful, and feel in a very weak position. But when people ring up and say you delivered a washing machine three months ago and we have just found a fault, as you have found, things are very different indeed. You of course still have the same rights but you are in a much weaker position.

    As the manufacturer has said, it is the company you bought it all from that is responsible for sorting this out. 20% refund on some items if the scratch is not too obvious might be quite a good deal. Obviously that’s for you to decide. Any actual faults need repairing under guarantee, which will probably involve the manufacturer. So if there is an actual fault on one of the appliances if you want it repairing you should be able to ring up the number on the appliance itself or on the Appliances instruction manual and get it repaired. If on the other hand you want to reject the appliance because it is faulty we normally have 30 days to do that but as you know the circumstances have meant that these time periods have passed. The time periods are periods from the date of purchase so this is one of the disadvantages of not using an appliance straightaway.

    If for example someone bought a washing machine, but left it in its original packaging and did not use it for two years. If when they first use it it was faulty they have little recourse because it is out of its guarantee. They cannot prove that they haven’t used it, and manufacturers and retailers will always use the time periods to get out of things even if arguably they should be understanding and sympathetic about it. You should be able to argue that it is not unusual for people to have delays between the delivery of appliances and installation when it comes to having a new kitchen fitted.

    If you want to reject the entire kitchen because of the multiple faults you would really be better enlisting the help of the consumer group such as Which? or citizens advice. From your description of issues it does seem suspicious. I’m sure you have suspicions that may be the appliances have suffered some environmental damage or something is not quite right about them. At the end of the day the retailers when faced with having to take a financial hit will nearly always try to get out of it all reduce the impact of them. They know that most people are relatively timid and do not relish a fight. But if determined, and unwilling to give up the customer will often end up with a much better deal or compensation than was first offered.

  8. I bought an Indesit IWC71452 Washing Machine two years ago and although it is beyond its one year guarantee and I did not take out an extended warranty (I shouldn’t need one within the first five years of a washing machine anyway), I would have expected more than two years service from a washing machine.

    The bearings are worn and the sound is obvious when spinning.

    The bearings alone cannot be replaced as they have to be bought as part of the drum and tub set; £200.

    The machine was £200 brand new in 2018.

    What are my chances of claiming compensation as the machine may not have been “of merchantable quality” or “unfit for purpose”?

  9. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Sorry for a late reply Carl, I don’t think I received a notification about your comment. I agree that 2 years is very poor, and that it is ridiculous that not only did the drum bearings fail so early but that you can’t replace them without fitting an entire new drum, which no one would be daft enough to do. However, I have had to come around to the idea that if a washing machine only cost £200 then that’s how they do it. That’s the price of it. These ridiculously cheap appliances are throwaway and we need to realise it. The only way manufacturers can produce washing machines so cheaply is to make them of poor quality and make them unrepairable.

    You could try to argue it should have lasted longer but it would be difficult with it costing so little especially if it’s been washing for a family. I have an article looking at this issue here why don’t modern washing machine’s last very long?

    One of the facts mentioned that puts this into perspective is –

    In 1973, a basic Hoover washing machine was £94.88, that’s equivalent to £1,192.74 in 2019! (Source Inflation calculator). Today – over 40 years later a similarly basic model but with faster spins and a bigger drum can be bought for £220. That’s equivalent to just £21.47 in 1973. So in 40 years, the price of a basic washing machine has dropped (in real terms) by nearly 80% which is absolutely staggering.

    An 80% reduction in cost is impossible without reducing the quality and longevity of the product. If you want to produce a washing machine made as well as the Hoover was in 1973 it should cost much more like £600+ and with extra features and technical advances it should easily be £800+.

    So ultimately £200 is a totally unrealistic price for a washing machine. They shouldn’t be selling them but they are, we definitely should not be buying them at that price unless we expect that they will not last very long unless we are lucky.

  10. Helen HAWKINS

    Hi , I bought a Smeg induction oven in oct 2017 didn’t take out the 3 year warranty but paid 4,800 for the oven , the induction hob gave a big bang and flash now none of the hobs work . contacted the retailer and they told me to contact Smeg which i did but they said i had no warrenty and couldn’t have it repaired without being charged!! Not sure where i stand with my consumer rights . who do I claim off ?the retailer or manufacture ? to either get it repaired or replaced.
    Please can someone help.

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