I just bought a washer and drier, pretty expensive one ($2,000). It failed after 2 runs. It's brand new and substandard in terms of quality).

I called to the store, they referred me to the warranty vendor. The warranty guys told me that was pretty normal, and they would come over and fix it.

My problem is I don't want to start out repairing a new appliance. This was a defective item. I want a replacement, but they told me no.

I contacted the manufacturer who told me they it didn't matter, even if I bought it yesterday. They said the only option is to fix it. I asked if they could send a technician and take a look at it and diagnose without starting the actual repair. However, they refused. They said, once they send a technician, they will have to repair.

So I want to file a small claim against the manufacturer for selling me a lemon. Can I do this? Or should I let their repairman try to fix it. The problem is, they might apply a temporary patch, so it would work for a year, and then there is no warranty at all.

  • 2
    Which jurisdiction are you in? (i.e. which country and state?) Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


Can you sue them? Generally, yes.

More cost-effective: Use the merchant's return policy if you want to return the items. Or, if you purchased them with a credit card or other payment transfer service, check their terms: Often they will assist with returning goods for some period after purchase even when the merchant doesn't want to.

  • Unfortunately, the merchant does not accept returns. And my credit card does not have those benefits.
    – Emily
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 19:58
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    I don't really want to sue anybody, it's just I think it is unfair. An appliance should work for a while until it breaks. It they get it repaired, then it's not brand new anymore.
    – Emily
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 20:19

I know you don't want to sue anyone; nobody rational wants to sue, ever. But the legal system is there to get redress when someone fails to honour a contract. Companies know that consumers are often scared of going to court, and they exploit this by stonewalling. Don't take "no" for an answer.

Depending on where you are, you should be able to take action in your local Small Claims court, or equivalent thing in your jurisdiction. Googling for "[your jursidiction] small claims" will often find the right web page, and these days lots of jurisdictions let you file the paperwork electronically and generally make the process as straightforward as possible.

As a rule you will need to write a formal letter of complaint to the company you plan to sue. This should be the people you originally wrote the contract with, which is probably the store. Check your receipt; it should have some information about that. The warranty company isn't a party to this; they are merely on the hook to repair it under warranty. If you want to reject the goods then its the people you bought them from who are your target.

The letter should list events and dates; purchase, failure, communication since then. At the end tell them what you want to happen, and state that if it doesn't happen within a set time frame (1 month is typical) then you will take legal action. If you don't get a reply, go ahead and file for a small claim. If you do get a reply then you can start dealing with them.

Look out for mandatory arbitration clauses in the fine print. These are a trick, and not a nice one, to replace an impartial judge with someone else who is chosen by the company and knows which side their bread is buttered. I'm in the UK where these are not a thing in consumer contracts, so I don't know much about this. Your jurisdiction may also have limits on that kind of stuff; check it out. Don't assume that just because its in the fine print on the back of the invoice that it will actually stick.

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