Repairs, replacements and refunds
Under consumer law, if a product or service breaks, is not fit for purpose or does not do what the seller or advertisement said it would do, you can ask for a repair, replacement or refund.
Repairs, replacements and refunds are known as remedies. The remedy you are entitled to depends on the goods in question and other factors – see more below.
For products bought in a shop, you do not have a legal right to a refund because you change your mind. If you bought the goods online, in most cases, you have 14 days to change your mind and get a full refund. Read more about shopping and shopping online.
Which remedy do I have a right to?
You have strong consumer rights if you buy something that turns out to be:
- Broken or damaged (not satisfactory quality)
- Unusable (not fit for purpose)
- Not what was advertised or what the seller told you (not as described)
The retailer or supplier must provide a solution by putting the fault right (repair) free of charge or giving you a refund or replacement.
You have a right to the remedies for at least 2 years under EU law. In Ireland, you have 6 years to use your right to a repair, replacement or refund. How strong your rights are, and what type of remedy you can get, can depend on the following:
|Fault appears within the first 6 months||It is automatically assumed the fault was there from the date of
purchase or delivery and it is up to the seller to prove otherwise
This means you do not have to prove anything
|Fault appears after the first 6 months||The burden of proof switches to you
This means that it may be more difficult to get remedies as you could be asked to prove that the good was faulty from the day of purchase or delivery
If the product comes with a commercial guarantee and warranty, you may be able to make a claim using this additional protection.
|Fault appears within 6 years||You have 6 years to take a claim to the small claims court if a
retailer or supplier refuses to repair or replace a faulty product
This does not mean that a product has to last 6 years but if the goods do not last a reasonable length of time you may have a right to some remedy
|Is it a major or minor fault?||A major fault is when the product is not working as it is supposed to
(for example, a toaster than does not heat up)
A minor fault could be a problem with the appearance or finish (for example, a scratch) but it does not affect the working or performance of the item – you may not have a right to a refund
|Repair does not resolve the issue||Although, the law does not say how many times a product can be repaired before a refund must be given, if a seller offers repair and it does not resolve the issue, you can request a replacement, or a refund|
|The faulty item was a gift||If you received a good as a gift and it turns out to be faulty, you
need to show proof of purchase
If you do not have a gift receipt, you need to get a shop receipt from the buyer
If there is no receipt, a credit or debit card statement could be used as proof of purchase
|The item was bought on sale or it was bought at full price but is now reduced||Your rights when goods are faulty are the same whether the item was
bought at full price or on sale
If you bought the item at full price but when you bring it back it is now reduced, you have a right to a refund of the price you paid or a replacement of similar value (whichever is more appropriate)
However, if the item was reduced because of some fault and you were told about this before buying it, you may not have a right to remedies
What should I do to get a refund, repair or replacement?
If you have a problem with a product or service, or you feel you have been misled about the product, speak to the seller first.
The seller can ask you for proof of purchase. This can be a receipt, invoice or credit or debit card statement.
Remember that you can insist that the seller or service provider puts the issue right.
- Act as soon as soon as possible – bring the problem to the attention of the seller as soon as possible as a delay could be taken as acceptance of a faulty product
- Know who to contact – contact the person you dealt with in the company, the customer service department or speak to a manager
- Not attempt to repair it yourself or allow anyone else to carry out repairs
- Return goods to the seller - do not send the product to the manufacturer
- Keep evidence of goods not performing as expected (if applicable) – for example, a photographic or video evidence of a leaking washing machine
- Be clear – outline what the problem is and how you would like it put right
Find out more about making a complaint.
Advice on accepting the remedy offered by the seller
Repairs and replacements
The seller must complete any repair or replacement within a reasonable time, and without significant inconvenience to you.
Where a retailer repairs or replaces the faulty good and is sending it back to you, there should be no cost to you.
The seller cannot insist that you have the product repaired multiple times before they offer you a refund.
If have the right to a refund, the seller can offer to reimburse you in the following ways:
- Refund (sometimes called a cash refund) – This is a refund of the money you paid, usually to the original form of payment. For example, if you paid using a credit card or debit card the money will be refunded back onto the card.
- Credit note – This is usually a paper or electronic note that is given by the seller when goods are returned. It is like a voucher and can only be used to buy goods sold by that particular store or a chain of shops. You do not have to accept a credit note or a voucher if the good is faulty, is not fit for purpose or does not do what the seller or advertisement said it would do.
- Voucher or gift card – this is either a paper note or card that can be used for purchases with a particular service provider or retailer, a chain of shops or in a shopping centre. Find out more about gift vouchers.
How to make a complaintIf the problem is not fixed or you are not happy with the remedy offered, put a complaint in writing to the seller or supplier. Find out more about making a complaint.
How to take your complaint further
If you cannot resolve the problem directly with the seller or you are not happy with their response, you can:
- Contact your card provider (where you paid by credit card or debit card) and ask them to reverse the transaction. This is known as chargeback. Some other payment methods also provide protection schemes (for example,PayPal buyer protection). The CCPC has more information on chargeback.
- Take a claim against the seller through the courts using the small claims procedure.
If you need more help
If you cannot resolve the problem yourself, contact the following consumer bodies for advice and support:
- Disputes about an Irish-based trader: Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
- Disputes with a trader based in another EU country: Contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland
Find out more about consumer protection organisations.