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.

5 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?


  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

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