Who is liable for faulty goods – the retailer or manufacturer?

A very common consumer question – which goes along the lines of:

I have bought an item from a shop/retailer which is faulty – I have taken it back to the shop but they tell me to go to the manufacturer. Who is responsible for fixing the faulty item?

The answer to this is quite simple – you bought the item from the shop and your contract is with the shop. You do not have a contract with the manufacturer. The shop has the legal liability to fix the item.

If the item is faulty then you will have your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 against the retailer. You may also have a separate warranty direct with the manufacturer – and if you pay extra to the retailer for an ‘extended warranty’ you may also have another set of rights against the retailer or third party insurer.

Bottom line is that when a product breaks (especially if very soon after purchase) you should use your legal rights. Only if they do not cover the problem should you move onto a free manufacturer warranty or a paid for warranty (bear in mind a warranty will often cover things not covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – such as accidental damage).

You should bear in mind of course- if you give the item to the shop they will often just pass it back to the manufacturer – so it is often quicker if you just go direct to the manufacturer if the manufacturer is happy to deal with you direct. You should always check with the shop first though and get permission as if you go to the manufacturer without giving them first chance to offer a refund/repair they may argue that you should have given them a chance to fix the item first.

Bear in mind your rights under the Consumer Right Act 2015 are:

-the item is faulty when it is sold to you (but that fault may be not become apparent until after it has been used) – this essentially means there is some sort of manufacturing defect with the product as it was not designed or made properly

– it is not as described

– it is not fit for the purpose for which it was sold

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not cover damage you cause yourself.

There are lots of guides online about the rights you have under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

UPDATE 03/08/2020

Due to so many comments/questions on this matter:

1 – you have a LEGAL CONTRACT with the seller. If you are being fobbed off then you need to take action against the seller.

2 – if the seller does not give you your rights (as explained above) then you must pursue them through the court system (in England the county court). That is what the court is there for – to resolve disputes where the law is not being complied with. You must be able to demonstrate to the court what LEGAL rights the seller has not given you – therefore you will need to read up on consumer laws like the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to understand what your rights are.

3 – whether you have a claim depends on the situation (e.g how long you have had the item, what the problem is etc). It is not possible to give advice for every situation – seek advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service (see relevant page on this site)

Comments stopped as too many idiots not reading the blog properly.

16 Replies to “Who is liable for faulty goods – the retailer or manufacturer?”

  1. i purchased a brand new cooker delivered by AO, after fitting it i notices a couple of faults whereupon i was told to get in touch with the manafacturer who sent an engineer out who told me i needed a new over door as mine was faulty, (this was along with a couple more problems)
    the engineer came back with a washer which did stop some play in the door but the door does not sit stright.
    i have since noticed while cleaning it, that the plastic trim under the dials is loose which i noticed when cleaning it.
    who is responsible for this – in my opinion the item is shoddy and not fit for purpose, i did get in touch within an hour of fitting it with the deliver AO and they passed me over to ELECTRA who makes the appliance?


    • Legally the retailer is responsible for faulty products

  2. We bought a hot from the range it s broke after only 8 weeks they say we can not return it to them and will not help us at all

    • See advice from Citizens Advice consumer service – if it is a manufacturing fault then they are liable.

  3. Thank you this was very helpful as we have an exact same problem with a pool filter purchased from a pool shop

  4. I brought a PS4 in November 2019 from Argos and it has and still got the receipt it’s got a problem with it tripping my electric Argos said I must ring Sony which I did and they said I must take it back to Argos.
    I have taken it back and they are saying the same what do I do

    • Pursue Argos at county court (assuming you have a valid claim).

  5. Hi I bought a hot tub and its faulty (2 small leaks) I contacted the retailer who say they dont have the item in stock and I dont want it repaired. They have said they could claim it under the warranty with the manufacturer. I am unsure if I should just ask for a refund or allow them go ahead with the warranty?

    • You need to check on the remedies under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – you may not have the right to have a full refund it very much depends on the specifics of the case (i.e how much use you have had etc)

  6. Bought 2 new sim card radios and on opening and turning on the sims cards never worked despite them being active. The item never had the software or IMEI number. I have returned the items to supplier for replacement. The supplier has said ( they will not replace them until these have been checked by the manufacturer to determine the fault). This is clearly the manufacturer issue. Should the supplier just send 2 new units and them claim replacements from the manufacturer.

  7. I bought some soft luggage for a motocycle from an Italian company on Amazon. One of the seams has come apart and I have contacted the Italian company via Amazon and not heard anything. I then contacted Givi UK the manufacturer and they said I had to contact the seller in order for them to progress. I then emailed the Italian company direct through an email on their website and still no reply after a week. If the Italian company ignore my emails, Amazon states that the purchase was over a year ago so no comeback there even though Givi offer a 2 year warranty. I feel I am getting the run around, any advice dealing with a European seller ?

    • You need to obtain the UK sellers details from Amazon and pursue them in court. If they are based in the EU then you can still pursue them in court but obviously its a lot more complicated. You need to establish a legal basis for your claim. If you have a manufacturers warranty and are trying to claim on the warranty then it should be possible to do it direct with the manufacturer.

  8. Hi I bought a Xbox one headset from very with a extended guarantee And it broke in December 2019 I got a replacement and that as not broken contacted them who informed me I had too contact Gem distribution but can not find a contact and very would not give it too me what should I do ?
    Thanks for the help .

  9. I found a DIY-class tool I received as a gift to be faulty on first use.
    This is where it gets complicated.
    1 – It was a gift from my dad who died shortly after buying it for me, and before giving it to me.
    2 – I have been unable to locate a receipt or other proof of purchase.
    3 – He bought it from an online retailer that has since ceased trading.
    4 – I have contacted the UK-based manufacturer/brand name in order to make use of the two-year warranty advertised and documented with the product. However, they have pointed out that the T&Cs of the warranty state that the warranty is only valid if the product was bought directly from them. My attempts to negotiate a resolution have been fruitless as the product was bought from a 3rd-party retailer.

    Brief research online has identified the same fault has been experienced by numerous other consumers. This would seem to suggest that the product is not fit for purpose.

    Do I have any rights?
    Does the manufacturer/brand name have any legal obligation to help?