FAQ Friday: My new toaster has stopped working; who is responsible for fixing it?

May 26, 2023

On the last Friday of every month, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the thousands of consumers who contact us. This month’s FAQ Friday explains your consumer rights when it comes to guarantees, warranties and your statutory protections.

Do I need to buy a guarantee or warranty to make sure I am covered if something goes wrong with my new toaster?

No, you do not need a guarantee or warranty if something goes wrong with an item you bought. You have statutory rights regardless of whether the item comes with a guarantee or if you buy extra cover, such as a warranty.

If you’re not happy with what you bought, you have certain consumer rights:

  • Short term right to cancel: You can cancel and get a full refund when a fault occurs within 30 days of receiving your goods.
  • Repair or replacement: When an item is faulty, you can decide if you want a repair or replacement. It should be provided free of charge by the business, within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to you. If the fault is serious, or if the business cannot repair or replace the item, you may be entitled to a refund.

It’s important to know that a guarantee or warranty does not replace your consumer rights. Find out more about how you are protected when buying and returning goods.

What is the difference between a guarantee and a warranty?

A guarantee is usually provided free of charge by the manufacturer of an item. The manufacturer agrees to repair or replace your item if something goes wrong during the period of time covered by the guarantee. It generally comes with household appliances, electrical goods or furniture.

Top Tip

If your item includes a guarantee, you should read the terms and conditions. These may say that you need to register your item before the guarantee is activated.

A warranty is usually offered by the retailer. It usually costs money and it is an optional extra protection, similar to an insurance policy. A warranty may last longer than a guarantee and may offer you more protections – but you should always read the terms and conditions before you decide to buy. These will set out your entitlements if something goes wrong with the item.

Learn more about the differences between guarantees and warranties.

If my new toaster stops working; should I bring it back to the retailer or contact the manufacturer?

You should bring your toaster back to the retailer you bought it from. When you buy an item, your contract is with the business that sold it to you, not the company that made it.

When you notice a fault or issue with an item, contact the retailer as soon as possible. Your short-term right to cancel means you can return a faulty item for an automatic full refund within the first 30 days of buying it. Of course, beyond that 30-day period you still have rights as a consumer, including repair, replacement or refund for faulty goods.

Within the first year after you buy, the law is on your side and presumes that the fault was there at the time of sale. You generally have up to six years to take a case against a business under the Statute of Limitations. Any goods you buy should be fit for purpose and work for a reasonable amount of time.

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