Fridge Consumer Advice FAQ

When I buy my fridge-freezer online, what will my rights be?

Buying online (or through mail order) has extra consumer protections. One of which is the right to cancel within 7 days of receiving the goods, presumably assuming that you haven’t used them. Not being able to see the goods properly (other than a picture and a description on a web site or catalogue) can lead to disappointing results when you actually get the product, so this is a good safeguard and one which all retailers will recognise.

Can I get my fridge-freezer replaced instead of repaired?

If your fridge-freezer is faulty, you can request your money back provided you stop using it immediately and reject it ‘within a reasonable time’. The difficulty lies within the definition of this ‘reasonable time’, as the consumer and retailer will often vary in their definitions. If the fault hasn’t occurred straight away, the disagreement may only be able to be settled by the small claims court.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if your fridge-freezer develops a fault very early on, whilst frustrating, it does not mean that the appliance will continue to break down. Many problems require small repairs to correct and sometimes a repair might be more convenient for everyone, including the consumer. Retailers have the right to insist on a repair if the fault is minor or if they can show that providing a replacement is disproportionately costly when compared to a repair.

What if my fridge-freezer breaks down again?

Consumer Law allows for you to still reject the fridge-freezer if you accept a repair and the repair doesn’t work, or if the repair takes an unreasonable amount of time to complete. If you have a major fault or your fridge-freezer repeatedly breaks, you may be entitled to a replacement or compensation.

  • Fridge-freezers can be rejected within the first six months

A change in consumer law in 2002 means that if a fault develops in your appliance within the first six months, it is assumed that the fridge-freezer was inherently fault (unless the seller can prove otherwise) and the obligation is on the seller to replace the appliance.
It important to be aware of your consumer rights and insist on them, but at the same time, try to be reasonable. Chances are you’ll get your problem resolved a lot faster and save a lot of time for yourself.

I have to wait all day for the repairman. Can the repair company do this?

Large repair companies often require you to wait all day for your repairman, and sometimes you may not even get one. The reason for this is that to keep the engineers working efficiently, and not spending their days travelling between requests in different areas, repair companies need to streamlines all the days repairs into as few routes as possible.
If your fridge freezer is under guarantee, you’re probably not able to change repair company. I agree that you shouldn’t have to wait around all day for a repairman, but the repair companies are only able to keep their prices at the levels they are at because of the productivity that efficient repair routes provide.
If you are not under guarantee, then you have the benefit of being able to shop around and find a company that suits you. For some recommended repair companies, see the Fridge Advice repair company page.

My fridge-freezer is under guarantee, but the repair company say I’ll be charged if they can’t find a fault. Can they do this?

This threat is made to try to prevent people from calling a repairman out unnecessarily, which happens a lot, and of course costs the company money. You’ll be liable for a charge if you don’t really have a reason for calling them out, if you’ve heard a noise a couple of times or if you want a free check of your appliance, but if you have a legitimate intermittent problem refuse to pay.
Repairmen will often push for this payment as they are awarded commission on the amount they receive, however an intermittent fault is a perfectly legitimate reason for calling out a repair. Not being able to find an intermittent fault certainly doesn’t prove that it doesn’t exist, and so if they insist on charging you, ask what compensation you’ll receive if this fault is found later.
You can also record your fridge-freezer when it is acting up to show the repairman when they arrive if you are worried about the fault not being there when they turn up.

My repair company give only a three month guarantee on their repairs. Is that fair?

Some repair companies only offer a 3 month guarantee, which is very poor indeed. You’d think that they’d have more confidence in their own work. However, if a problem occurs with the repaired part within the first six months, under the consumer rights addition of 2002 you can argue that the part is inherently fault and should be replaced.
Unfortunately this can be difficult to be agreed upon and you may need to go to the small claims court in order to get this enforced. I recommend getting further advice from a consumer group if you plan to do this.

Can I claim compensation if I take time off work and the repairman doesn’t show up?

Its important that when you book the repair that you let the repair company know that you’re taking time off work to be there. The law considers an agreement over the telephone to be legally binding, and so if the repairman fails to turn up then you may be able to claim compensation if you have lost out financially or been substantially inconvenienced.

I want to take my retailer/repair company to court

If you’re set on taking them to small claims court, there lots of help from consumer groups that I’d recommend researching before you do.

Overview of Consumer Rights When Repairing

Many consumers might encounter a problem with a product. Whether the product has stopped working completely or simply needs to be repaired, there are rights that are given to each and every UK resident. These rights ensure that a resident can have an item they purchased repaired or replaced in a satisfactory manner.

The first thing that any UK consumer should do is to look at the item. Is the item really defective? Can you fix it yourself? You should then try to do any minor repair that you are capable of by yourself. While it is not a right given to you by the government, it is often easier to self repair a broken item than speaking with the retailer about it.

After you find you are unable to repair it yourself, you need to contact the retailer from which you purchased the product. You should tell the retailer the problem that you found with the item. So long as the return is within an acceptable amount of time, the retailer should allow you to return the item for an exchange or a refund. A reasonable amount of time is a subjective term and is not defined within the law. To find out what time you have, there will be information in the warranty that came with the product. However, any attempt by the retailer to extend the time of the return or to cause any delay may be a violation of your rights. Most retailers are going to be very willing and ready to assist you with any legitimate problem that has occurred with your purchased item.

Most individuals agree that the ‘reasonable time’ that is referred to in the law is the period of six months. After six months any claim of wear and tear or repair at all may be denied. Most claims for repair that are submitted within the first six months end up being replaced. After six months are up, you need to prove that the retailer sold you an item that they knew was defective. This becomes extremely difficult to prove because the item is not only older but it has also been used. Nonetheless, by following this step, you may save yourself a bundle of money.

Items that were bought second hand through eBay or another manner of resale are treated slightly different. Individuals still should expect the item to work but it is not the only factor to consider. The item may also have some slight defects as well as a lower price to highlight those problems. The lower price does not mean the item is free from this guarantee. All items are still protected under your rights. You have the right to confront the seller if the item breaks or needs repair within a reasonable amount of time. It is important to note that items that were sold under the condition that they were broken are excluded. A consumer cannot purchase a shovel knowing that the blade was rusted out and expect it to work. By trying to do this, you will only waste time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Overview of Consumer Rights When Buying

United Kingdom consumers have rights that they have been given by the U.K. government. Many consumers do not know the rights that they have been given and are unable to fight for them. There are three basic rights that all consumers within the United Kingdom need to be aware of: right of satisfactory quality, be fit for a purpose, match the item description.

The right of satisfactory quality tells consumers that an item that they purchase should be of high quality. It should not break apart and stop working when the consumer needs it most. Also, the item should be free of any defect, including any minor defects. This includes anything from mechanical defects to cosmetic blemishes. Any item that has a problem should have the problem fixed by the manufacturer. The item that the consumer purchases should also be safe to use after the consumer purchases it.

The item that a consumer purchases should be fit for a purpose. If a consumer purchases a fridge, then it should be able to cool items inside it to the stated temperature, provided the items inside do not alter the temperature by themselves. Also, the consumer must be able to use the item for any purpose they told the seller they would like to use it for. For example, it would be illegal for a merchant to sell a consumer a fridge-freezer knowing that it cannot freeze items (or even freeze them to the temperature stated). It would violate the right that the item be fit for a purpose.

The item must match its description. Sellers cannot use the infamous ‘bait and switch’ tactic that they have used in previous generations. Many sellers offer free samples of their product. For example, food companies are notorious for offering free samples of their product and then having the actual product close by to make a sale. The product that you sample has to be the same product that they sell. Otherwise, it would violate the consumer right that the item must match its description. The same applies for all items, including fridges.

Merchants that do not follow the consumer rights can be guilty of several crimes. These crimes can range from a minor infraction to the merchant being criminally prosecuted for fraud. Individuals need to be aware that they do have power in the marketplace. They are also protected by a number of rights that they have to ensure that they can continue to be safe into the future.

Consumers who encounter a problem with their item should contact the merchant first. They may be able to work out their problem with the merchant and not have to resort to contacting Consumer Direct. Consumer Direct can assist you in negotiating with the trader. Consumers may also have the right to dispute a charge with their credit card company if they fall under certain conditions. Also, some consumers may be able to take the merchant to court. However, this process is time consuming and expensive, so it should only be followed as a last resort.