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.