Claiming from the trader
It's often best to try and claim from the trader first. But if the trader has gone bust, or you did not buy the goods yourself, you have to claim from the manufacturer.
What you can claim for
Damage to property
You may be able to claim the cost of putting right damage caused to your property by the faulty goods. For example, the cost of repairing your floor after the washing machine leaked water onto it. Or the cost of getting the mess cleared up by a professional cleaner.
Compensation for stress or anxiety
Sometimes you can claim compensation for extreme stress, anxiety, loss of enjoyment or loss of time experienced as a result of the damage. It is harder to claim for these things. If you decide to try, get advice from a solicitor about how much to claim. You may have to go to court.
If someone has been hurt
If someone's been injured because of faulty goods, you may be able to claim compensation from the trader or manufacturer. Always get legal advice first.
Finding out who the manufacturer is
The manufacturer’s name should be on packaging, a manual or instructions. If the goods were manufactured by a company outside the EU, you can take action against the importer of the product. To find out who the importer, is ask the trader who sold you the goods.
If you can’t find out who the manufacturer or importer is, ask the trader who sold you the goods. If they don't tell you within a reasonable time, or they can’t find out, the trader becomes legally responsible for the damage and you can make a claim against them instead. Between two weeks and one month might be considered a reasonable time.
Contacting the manufacturer
Contact the manufacturer as soon as possible to tell them what has happened and what you want them to do to sort it out. You should tell them:
- what the goods are and when you bought them
- what the fault was, if you know
- what damage or injury has been done and when
- what you have done so far, such as clear up any mess or report the issue to Trading Standards
- what you want done to resolve the problem. For example, money to fix the damage.
Follow up your phone call with a letter repeating what you said on the phone so you have evidence of your request.
Write down what you discussed with the manufacturer. If the manufacturer makes any promises to you over the phone or in person, ask for confirmation in writing.
What will happen next
The manufacturer may want to inspect the goods and the damage caused. You should allow them to do this and show them any extra evidence you have such as photos.
They may arrange to get the damage fixed for you. Or they will ask you to sort it out and will pay you back the money. Remember to keep any receipts.
If the manufacturer won’t do what you ask
If the manufacturer does not agree that the goods are dangerous or refuses to give you a refund or to compensate you, you could make a formal complaint.