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Claiming from the manufacturer for damage caused by faulty goods

If something you bought turns out to be faulty and causes damage or injury, you may be able to claim back the cost of putting right the damage, from the manufacturer.

This page tells you what you can claim for and what to do next.

Top tips

If your goods are dangerous, take action

If you haven’t yet read Goods are dangerous and unsafe – what to do, it has some helpful advice on what immediate action you should take if your goods are dangerous.

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.

Top tips

Product warnings and instructions

If you think your goods are dangerous, remember to take into account warnings or instructions for use on the products. If you make a claim, the manufacturer will want to know that you used the product correctly. Some products may seem dangerous but they are made safe by warnings, instructions or safety features. For example, a step ladder may have safety clips to make sure it doesn’t slide open when up. If you did not read the instructions and use the safety clips, the ladder may slide open and you might think – wrongly – that it was a faulty, dangerous product.

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.

Claiming from the manufacturer

When you claim from the manufacturer, which law you claim under depends on how much you will be claiming for.

Your claim is for more than £275

If you are claiming more than £275 you will be claiming under the Consumer Protection Act (Consumer Protection (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 in Northern Ireland). There are some restrictions. You cannot claim:

  • for the cost of the goods themselves
  • if the goods were used as part of a business
  • if the goods were first supplied before March 1988
  • if the fault was not present at the time when the manufacturer first supplied them
  • if your goods are more than ten years’ old.

You have three years from the date the damage was done in which to make a claim against the manufacturer. If the damage wasn’t obvious, the three years starts from the date on which the damage was discovered.

Your claim is for less than £275

If your claim is for less than £275 you will be claiming for negligence. You’ll have to show that the manufacturer did not show a ‘duty of care’ and that you, as a result, have suffered loss, damage or injury because of the dangerous goods.

You have six years In England and Wales and five years in Scotland from when you bought the goods or from when the fault was discovered, to make a claim for negligence. If you are claiming for an injury to yourself, the time limit is three years.

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.

Next steps

Citizens Advice

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