What if the dealer still refuses to cooperate?
Even if you have a clear-cut case where you have the law on your side and the dealer is in the wrong, it doesn’t mean they will play nicely and give you what you want. Our forum and many of the comments on our articles will testify that dealers will sometimes simply refuse to comply with their legal obligations. Unfortunately, all you can really do is engage a lawyer and take them to court – and they are betting on you not wanting to go to that level of cost and effort.
Understand that you may not get what you want
If a dealer is prepared to defend itself from legal action or an Ombudsman’s inquiry, then the management obviously feel that they have a very strong case and that you are in the wrong. Regardless of how aggrieved you feel about your problem, there is always a strong chance that you won’t get your problem resolved the way you want it. You need to be prepared to accept that the dealer may have no obligation to fix your problem, even if leaves you with a broken car or a large bill.
I was promised something and the dealer is refusing to honour it
This problem can easily summed up in the section “It’s all about the paperwork” above. If you don’t have a written promise, then it doesn’t exist. If you do have it set out in writing, you should be able to get what you are entitled to without many problems. If you have a written promise that’s not being honoured, you will need to escalate the matter until it is resolved.
I want to cancel my car order but the dealer won’t let me
When you sign a vehicle order form, you are signing a legally-binding contract to purchase a car and the dealer is signing a legally-binding contract to supply it. In most cases, there is no legal provision for cancelling your purchase, so the dealer is under no obligation to let you walk away from your contract. Usually, these matters end up being resolved with the dealer agreeing to cancel the order in return for keeping the buyer’s deposit. For more information, read our in-depth article about cancelling a vehicle order.
Once you have taken delivery of the vehicle, trying to hand it back for any reason is usually complicated and expensive, even more so if you have taken out car finance to purchase it.
My car has broken and the dealer won’t fix it
Vehicle faults are often the most difficult issues to resolve. As already mentioned, cars are complicated machines and they operate in very harsh environments. It is entirely likely that something will go wrong at some stage, and fixing problems can be tricky.
A vehicle fault may be covered under its new car warranty, which is provided by the vehicle manufacturer. A used car warranty is usually provided by a third party on behalf of the dealer or manufacturer and underwritten by an insurance company. The dealer generally does not provide the warranty and requires approval from the warranty provider to carry out any work under warranty.
One of the issues with disputes over vehicle faults is that is can be difficult to show how the fault was caused, and owners will often refuse to accept that they may have actually caused the problem themselves. Used cars are especially difficult in this regard, as the car was not new when purchased and will have already experienced wear and tear. Indeed, a fault may have been caused by a previous owner and gone completely undetected until the new owner has a problem. Tracing problems can be expensive and time-consuming, and dealers will inevitably be wary that customers will sometimes never be happy with the result.
Be patient, be persistent and appreciate the effort that goes in on both sides to sort out a problem, and you are likely to get there in the end. If you rant or are unreasonable in your demands to the dealer, they are unlikely to cooperate.
Of course, you could do what this customer did and trash the dealership, but it’s not recommended…