AA Legal Documents
Law guide



Electrical appliances

If you have bought electrical goods such as toasters, washing machines, microwaves, stereos and televisions, they must be:

  • Of satisfactory quality
  • Fit for their purpose
  • As described
For more information on your rights in relation to goods in general that you have bought, see our 'Problems with goods' section.

When an item doesn't meet some or all of these conditions:

After minimal use

If you have only used the appliance a few times or haven't had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you are probably entitled to a refund for a fault or poor description, or alternatively, you may request a replacement.

If the fault is only minor and can easily be put right, it is reasonable to accept a repair. This repair should be done to a satisfactory standard at no additional cost to you. If the repair is not carried out to a satisfactory standard, you are entitled to seek a refund.

After frequent use

If you have used the appliance more than a few times or have had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you are probably still entitled to a repair or replacement. A repair should be carried out within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience. You may be required to pay for the repairs depending on the circumstances. Any repair should restore goods to a satisfactory condition. If the appliance is not restored to a satisfactory condition, you are entitled to a refund.

If the goods cannot be replaced or repaired

If the goods cannot be replaced or repaired economically, you are entitled to a refund. The trader may make a reduction from the price you paid to allow for the use you have had from the goods.

If the fault caused additional expense

If the goods have damaged anything else or you are out of pocket in any other way, you may be entitled to compensation over and above the price of the goods.

Important points to bear in mind:

  • If you are entitled to a refund, replacement, repair or compensation, it is the trader who must sort out your problem. The trader cannot tell you to go back to the manufacturer.
  • If you bought on credit, you may be able to claim against the finance company.
  • You have seven working days to cancel a contract for goods ordered by telephone, mail order, internet or fax, except for those goods which are made to order.
  • All electrical goods need to be used and looked after in line with any instructions.
  • Fair wear and tear is not a fault.
If things go wrong

If you determine that there is a problem with the electrical goods you have purchased, do the following:

  • If you can, stop using the goods at once.
  • Check there really is a fault; read the instructions carefully.
  • Be certain that the fault was not caused by misuse, an accident or by not following the instructions.
  • If you can, collect together any instructions, leaflets, packaging etc. which came with the goods. Pack them all up with the goods.
  • Locate your proof of purchase. If you haven't got a receipt, you can use a credit card voucher or cheque stub. Own-brand goods, something exclusive to one shop (such as a customised carrier bag) or the packaging may prove where you bought the item. If someone was with you when you bought it, they can back you up. Remember, it is up to you to show where and when you bought the goods.
  • You will now need to contact the trader straight away and report the problem. If you bought the goods locally, visit the trader. Take the item, the packaging (if possible) and any proof of purchase with you. If you cannot take the goods back to the shop, either phone or write to the trader.
Gas appliances

There are a few additional considerations to bear in mind in relation to gas appliances:

  • All gas appliances need to be used and looked after in line with any instructions.
  • Gas leaks should be reported immediately to National Grid on 0800 111 999.
  • For safety reasons, all gas appliances must be fitted by a registered installer (GasSafe in England, Wales and Scotland and CORGI in Northern Ireland).
It is against the law for anyone to use a gas appliance that they think may be unsafe.