Faulty iPhone out of Warranty? Help is at Hand!

UK consumers have a powerful friend in the Sale of Goods Act, if something they buy fails unexpectedly within a fairly long period of time - up to six years, in fact.

What does this mean if you have an iPhone that has stopped working just a couple of months outside the one year warranty? Quite simply, the law is on your side. A customer whose iPhone died during an iOS upgrade was told by Apple Store staff that the internal flash-drive had failed and that it could not be repaired. A new handset would be £139. Orange, the original vendor of the iPhone and contract, said that the Sale of Goods Act obligations had been fulfilled and that they would not help fund a replacement.

As it turns out, the Sale of Goods Act makes England/Wales retailers responsible for the items they sell, for up to six years, and all support staff at a customer-focussed company like Orange should know this. The Act is quite loose in its wording for how long something should work for, and it is a question of "how long most reasonable people would expect it to last". 14 months lifetime for an iPhone that cost over £400 new, is clearly unacceptable.

In this case, the customer got his iPhone replaced free of charge.

The essential difference between a warranty and the Sale of Goods Act is that the warranty is a virtually no-quibble guarantee that you'll get any fault rectified. The S-o-G Act provides the same level of protection (ie, the retailer must fix the problem to the consumer's satisfaction), but may require legal assistance to determine whether the fault occurred within a 'reasonable' period of time.

The trick with the Sale of Goods Act is that you have to use it, or you lose it! If you accept a settlement with the retailer (eg, going halves) then you cannot go back later and wave your legal rights at them. The agreement has been made and you have to stick with it.


by stuart on 11 January 2014
hi im going through this with Vodafone right now but every time I ring up I get a call centre in India and they do not know about the sale of goods act and my phone developed a hardware fault 3 weeks after the year warranty and they are charging me a hundred pounds for this and my father in law has a iphone 3gs which he has had since they come out and had now problems
by eefee on 22 February 2012
My iPhone 3GS developed a hardware fault after 22 months and now won't even switch on.

I approached my my phone company (Vodafone) and asked for a repair under the sale of goods act and was told in no uncertain terms that the warranty is 12 months and that I was not entitled to a repair.

After emailing the CEO of Vodafone quoting the sale of goods act, the reply (from someone else) didn't even refer to my rights, simply stating that 'Apple guarantee a 12 month warranty with all iphones and this is what we honour. We will not be able to replace or repair your handset free of charge. This would be Vodafone final position on the matter.' (sic)

I have spoken to a number of people who have experienced similar problems and it seems that most mobile phone companies are simply not accepting their legal responsibility under the sale of goods act.

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