The company recalling the product should cover any costs. Your rights to get a refund or a replacement depend on whether the fault makes the product unsafe.
Do not use recalled products
Do not continue to use a product that has been recalled. You may be aware of the hazard and feel happy to accept any risk, but anyone else who comes into contact with the product may not be aware.
The company recalling the product should cover your costs
The company recalling the product should pay any costs involved and keep your inconvenience to a minimum.
Sometimes, the company may repair the product (e.g. by fitting a new part), and should arrange for this to be done for you.
Returning the product
You may be asked to return the product to a retailer, or directly to the manufacturer using a postage-paid envelope or courier.
If the product has a low value, you may just want to throw it away instead of seeking a refund or replacement. If you decide to do this, Trading Standards recommends that you contact the supplier so they can account for your product. Throwing away a product may be the easiest option for you, but it will make it difficult for the company to monitor the numbers of affected products and whether the recall has been effective.
Make sure that the faulty product cannot be used again. If the product it is not disposed of correctly, it could be reused or on-sold later putting a new user at risk who may be unaware of the fault.
Contact the supplier if you have concerns about the method of returning the product. Their contact details should be in the recall notice.
Can I get a refund or a replacement?
When a manufacturer recalls a product because of a fault, your rights to get a refund or a replacement depends on whether the fault makes the product unsafe.
Faults that do not make the product unsafe
Usually, if you have had the product for some time, and a fault occurs that:
- can be easily and quickly repaired
- the retailer or manufacturer offers a prompt repair with all costs covered
this is all you will be entitled to. You will not have the right to claim a full refund or a replacement.
Faults that make the product unsafe
The Consumer Guarantees Act says that where a fault makes goods unsafe, this is a “failure of substantial character”. This type of fault gives you the right to reject the goods and claim a replacement or a refund.
If you choose to reject a product, you must contact the retailer and tell them you are rejecting the product and the reason for your rejection. The retailer is the one you paid money to, so it is the retailer (not the manufacturer) who the Consumer Guarantees Act says has to give you a refund or a replacement. If you cannot sort this out with the retailer, you can choose to take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal.
Because you did not pay the manufacturer for the product, your rights to make a claim against them are different and not as clear as those against a retailer.
See Got a problem with faulty goods? for more information.
Taking a claim to the Disputes Tribunal
If you take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal, you will have to show that the product is not of acceptable quality and that the product is unsafe.
You can also claim compensation for extra loss or damage, if you can show that these are directly related to the failure of the product.
It will take at least six weeks for your claim to be heard in a Disputes Tribunal.
Some advice about offers to remedy a fault
Our laws work by setting general principles or rules.
However, sometimes it can be unclear how these rules apply to a specific situation. You and the retailer may disagree about the facts and about how to apply the law.
In the end, only the courts can give a definitive answer about how the law applies to a particular situation. It is always a good idea to leave yourself room for negotiating and for reaching a settlement in a dispute.
Before rejecting an offer from a retailer or manufacturer, consider:
- Is their offer a reasonable compromise and will it fix the problem?
- How long can you afford to wait for the dispute to be resolved
- How sure are you that you can prove your case?
- How much time do you have to put into resolving this dispute?