Skip to content Skip to footer

Be Switched On to your rights with faulty or unsafe electrical goods

This advice applies to England

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. 

Find out more about claiming compensation if your electrical item has caused damage.

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.

Get help

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:

Did this advice help?