Be Switched On to your rights with faulty or unsafe electrical goods
The 2016 National Consumer Week campaign - Switched On - is all about knowing what to do if an electrical item is unsafe or doesn't work.
Electrical items are anything that uses electricity, either plugged into the mains or battery powered - from tumble dryers and freezers to mobile phones and toys.
We want consumers to be #SwitchedOn and know they can ask for a refund, repair or replacement if something goes wrong with an electrical item. This is often called getting ‘consumer redress’.
Citizens Advice is part of the Consumer Protection Partnership which runs National Consumer Week every year.
Find out how you can get involved with National Consumer Week 2016, including resources to help raise awareness of consumer rights and product safety.
Returning an electrical item
If an electrical item is unsafe when you buy it, becomes unsafe or breaks after you've used it, by law the seller has to:
- give you a full refund within 30 days of you buying it
- repair it
- replace it
If another fault happens, or the repair or replacement doesn't solve the problem, the seller has to:
- accept the item back from you, and give you a full refund within 6 months of the repair or replacement (or a partial refund after that time)
- allow you to choose to keep the item, and give you some of your money back
Find out more about the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which the seller is following by doing any of these things.
Don’t throw the broken item away. It’s worth keeping, in case the seller wants to see it. If it's damaged your property because of a fault, take photos of the damage to show the seller.
You should speak to the person that sold you the item, not the manufacturer - even if they tell you it’s not their fault. It’s the seller’s responsibility to put things right, including if your item is damaged during delivery or installation.
Your rights might be different if you bought the item before 1 October 2015, when the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force. You can find out more by using our faulty goods tool.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help.
A trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email, or refer you to your nearest Citizens Advice.
Before you buy again
It’s always worth doing your research - for example:
- make sure you know your consumer rights - so you know what to do if something goes wrong
- check for complaints about the item you’re thinking of buying - look online for reviews and ask friends and family
- look out for fakes - you still have rights if you buy a counterfeit item, but it's best to buy from a trustworthy retailer