How to handle a dispute with a car dealer

Car buying advice
How to resolve a dispute with a car dealer

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.
Angry customer with mechanic at dealership

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…

Stuart Masson

Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

70 Comments

  1. Hi Stuart just read the article about disputes, I have had terrible trouble with Dacia I have had a nightmare with my sandero step way , broke down with only 5000 miles on clock 3breakdowns later ,I had to pay £1000 to have car repaired Dacia reneged on their decision to fix it . I bought it brand new they refuse to even discuss it . So I have initiated legal action against march2016 glad for any advice

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Dave. It is unfortunate that you have had to take such action on a new car. If you have already started legal action, it is best to stick with that course and let the lawyers handle it rather than taking any further actions yourself. Your lawyers should be speaking to Dacia HQ as well as the dealer, as the problems should presumably be covered by the New Car Warranty which is provided by the manufacturer rather than the dealer.

      Of course, this assumes that there is a clearly identifiable fault with the vehicle rather than anything you have done to break the car.

  2. Hi Stuart,

    thanks for your response. I guess in addition to what you have said, should the salesman at the dealer have told me about this before I agreed to place a deposit? And also, how would you know which finance company they use and if its the right one?

    thanks

    Reply
  3. Hi, my daughter paid a deposit of £200 on a used car but the insurance was so excessive she decided not to buy it. No contract was signed yet the dealer has kept £100 ” for his having to re advertise”. Is this legal

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      At the point your daughter put the deposit down on the car, she bought it. She should be glad that she got £100 back, as usually the dealer would want to keep the full £200.

      For more information, have a read of our article on buying a car and then changing your mind.

  4. Hi Stuart
    I ordered a 208 on the internet on 31 March. Delivered today 5 April – only to find some scratches on the paintwork. This is a brand new car. I sent the driver back up to the dealer !!
    They are now saying that I have no right to cancel / reject and using bullying tactics i.e. firm solicitors etc. Where do I stand ?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi John. Trying to reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act on the grounds of some scratches would be difficult unless they were severe (otherwise a repair would be much simpler).

      However, if you ordered the car on the internet and it was delivered to you, you have the right to cancel it within 14 days anyway. For more information, have a read of our article on cancelling a vehicle purchase.

  5. Hi Stuart i bought vauxhall zafira tourer diesel on 15 plate only had it few weeks now and its got a message come up on dash saying diesel particular filter full and every now and again i get no power in 1st gear and all a sudden it goes i phoned dealers explained the situation and they advising me to take it on motor way and thrash in high revs and it should clear out but i have to do this maybe twice a month due to me doing short journeys but i wasnt made aware of this that this car would not be suitable for me its really annoying and i dont get much time to go on motorways due to my work but shouldn’t be doing this can i give the car back and get a petrol one please advice thanks

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Imdad. The car is not faulty, so you can’t reject it on those grounds. You would have to argue that the dealership mis-sold you the vehicle based on your description of your requirements, and that is far more difficult to prove.

      The diesel particulate filter absorbs unburnt diesel particles when the engine is cold, and then burns them off at a high temperature once the system has properly heated up. In most cases, a driver will have the odd longer journey (20-30 minutes) where the particles are burnt off. However, if you are only ever doing very short journeys, the system never heats up sufficiently and the filter will fill up. At this point, you need to take the car for a longer drive to clear the filter. If you don’t do this, the filter will clog up and will need to be manually cleaned out. This damages the filter and may require replacement (which is expensive).

  6. Hi Stuart
    i have just purchased a used Skoda Octavia from a dealer, myself & my dad did a through as possible visual inspection of the car & both did a test drive. 6 days after purchase i started having problems with changing gear, i rang the dealer who is now saying it’s not his problem & that clutch’s can just go like that. I have driven the total of 38 miles since purchase so cannot believe that this small amount of driving has caused the gear box to completely fail. After much discussion over the phone he has agreed to have a look at the car, do you think i have the legal right to insist on a repair? Thank you for your input

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Jenjen. You definitely have the right to have the gearbox or clutch repaired, depending on the warranty offered on the vehicle when purchased.

      If you are wanting to reject the car, you need to show that the vehicle was faulty at time of purchase. This is likely to involve some arguing with the dealership, and you will need to be firm in holding your position.

  7. Promised a pick up the first of March end of April now there saying may now what are my rights plz

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Johhny. You should be able to cancel the order based on the fact that the dealer has well and truly failed to deliver the car within the promised timeframe, which should be noted in the terms and conditions of your vehicle order. You should also be able to get any deposit back.

  8. Hi Stuart
    I have recently just signed the Hire Purchase Finance Agreement for a car and now the company are saying that they have miscalculated the amount saying that the agreed monthly figure is going to increase can they do this

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Lindsey. Unfortunately, they can simply cancel the contract you signed, which it should explain in the contract Terms and Conditions. It sucks, because you wouldn’t have the same right to change your mind because you don’t like the amount.

      They will come back to you to offer a new contract at the higher payments. You don’t have to accept this, and can walk away from the deal altogether (with a full refund of your deposit), or use it as a way to negotiate a better deal from the dealer.

  9. Hello Stuart, Dave here hope you can help! We brought a five month old Renault Captur 65 plate from a main dealer with the rest of a 4 year left on it. The price was £12,945 They allowed us £2000 for our old car, so we paid £10,945 cash. On the third day of owning the car we had the breakdown service out as it would not start. The mechanic said the battery was showing only 5%, He jump started it and we had a run around the block. The mechanic said that the battery was then showing 100%. We informed the dealer who told us to keep an eye on it to see if it happened again. Two days later the car just went dead, you could not even lock the doors. On the dash it showed break failure. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the brakes and think it is an electrical fault. The car is in the garage now and we are waiting to here from them. By the way we have only covered about 200 miles or less in the six days we have had it. We have lost all our confidence in the car, so would like to know if you think we would be entitled to a full refund. Keep up the good work! Regards Dave.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi David. I think you should probably be able to show that you are entitled to a full refund. For more information, have a read of our article on the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

  10. Hi Stuart , is it possible to get £21k on hire purchase finance ,no deposit on a provisional licence?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Suresh. Finance companies normally like to see some level of deposit when they are lending money, as it looks a bit ropey if you are asking for £21,000 but have nothing to contribute yourself. This is probably more of an issue than the provisional licence.

      You may find it easier to get a personal loan for the same amount of money.

  11. Hi
    I bought a used Toyota two weeks ago from dealer and yesterday I was on motorway and got fire and burned completely and it is hybrid car , please advice me on this as the car is third part only insured

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Abdullah. Your course of action will depend on the cause of the fire. If you are looking to reject the car due to a fault, you have to show that the fault was present when you purchased the vehicle – and that may be difficult if all that’s left is a burnt-out wreck.

  12. hi
    how long does a 2nd hand car dealer legally have to keep a car you have paid a deposit on before he can sell it to someone else

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Lins. It would depend on the circumstances of the situation, and the terms and conditions of the contract. You haven’t really given any detail of what has happened, so it’s hard to understand what you are looking for.

  13. Hi Stuart, Hope you’re well and can help us!

    We bought a car from a used car dealership… The MOT it had done that day mentioned seepage from the power steering hose as an advisory. We accepted the car with it being an advisory as there was a warranty included so knew if there was issues we’d get it repaired. Lo and behold the next day the power steering completely failed, It took a week from when we first reported an issue for it to come back to us after a major headache with the dealership.

    On the car being returned to us we took it for a drive, a mile up the road, the car wouldn’t go into gear. We had it checked out and the Slave Cylinder it seems has failed after the Dealership accused us of burning the clutch out, the car has since been stick driven to put it onto our drive as we had left it where it stopped working.

    At this point in time we want to exercise our Short Term Right to Reject the car, however the car is still on our drive and the dealership is 30 miles away, Doe’s the dealer have to pick the car up or do we need to get it there ourselves?

    Also we have found that the dealer has amended the order form after we have signed it and got our carbon copy, he was spouting off about not covering the clutch and it seems he has added this onto their copy of document. Do you know where we stand from on a legal point in regards to this?

    Hope you can help! :)

    Thanks Checky

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Checky. To reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act, you would need to return the vehicle to the seller. In other words, you will need to book a truck to collect the vehicle and take it back to the dealership.

      If you have a carbon copy of the original contract which does not contain a subsequent amendment, then the amendment has no legal value. Any amendment has to be present on all copies of the contract, and initialled by both parties.

      It sounds like he is a right charmer…

  14. Hoping you can help me here – I purchased a Ford Fiesta from a used car dealership. We originally went to collect on Saturday 4th June, but had to leave it and collect on Sunday as some work they had agreed to do first had not been done satisfactorily. This was resolved by the time we collected on Sunday, and we drove the car the 30 miles back to my parents with no issues; however, after a 10 minute drive home later the same evening, the car made an unusual rattling sound when I changed gears, and subsequently stalled. I managed to coast onto my drive, but on attempting to start the car once more, it rattled and stalled itself again. We contacted the dealership the following day (Monday 6th June) and they agreed to send out a mechanic to check the car on Tuesday 7th June (today) however have failed to give me any time frame in which they will do so, and are no longer answering my calls – I have two numbers for the dealership which I have tried (once around 9am and again around 12 noon,) but have yet to receive a call back. I am quite anxious at this point as they said that if they are unable to repair the car onsite (i.e., on my drive) they will have to arrange for it to be uplifted to their garage – At this point, I can’t see them being able to repair it on my drive, and they won’t have time to arrange for uplift, which will subsequently delay the repair. I’ve been contacting them on my mobile so that I have a clear record of how many attempts have been made to contact them, and the queries have been logged by text (as I have been unable to find an e-mail address for them.)

    The thing is, it was a lovely car when it was driving, and if they would just pull their thumbs out, repair it and get it back to me, I can’t see me having any further issues. I have got a 6 month warranty for the car, so I don’t understand why they’re being so cagey.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Robyn. Used car dealers have a reputation (often well deserved) for being sweetness and rainbows up until they have your money, and then very difficult to get hold of afterwards. Sounds like you have this exact problem. The best way to successfully get the issue resolved, as annoying as it may be, is to keep bugging them until they agree to resolve the problem just to make you go away. Stay calm and clear about what you expect, and don’t let the conversation get diverted away from delivering the outcome you are looking for. If the person you are talking to flat-out refuses to help, go up to the next person in the chain. Like most things in life, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

  15. Hi Stuart,

    This hasn’t turned into a dispute (yet) but I’d like to be informed whether it is reasonable or the industry standard.

    I’m waiting for delivery of my new car, and was given a delivery date a few days ago, of 2 weeks away. However, when I was emailed over the Confirmation of Registration form for the new number plate, the registration date is quoted as a few days earlier (2.5 weeks earlier than proposed delivery).

    I have questioned the date but have received vague and non-committal responses, basically dodging my questions, and have since just asked for the date to be changed, but no reply yet.

    Is this normal? Will I lose out on road tax and warranty? Can I insist that they change the date, and is it even possible?

    I have not yet arranged insurance for the vehicle, nor have I been offered or informed of free 7 day insurance.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      It is probably because the dealer wanted the car registered in October rather than November to suit their own numbers. It’s not your problem and you don’t have to agree with it. You don’t want the car registered until the day you pick it up – if anything goes wrong and you end up trying to cancel the purchase, it is always much harder once the car has already been registered.

    • Thanks Stuart. I have since been told that it was just a form for admin purposes and my car won’t be registered until the day before collection, however the skeptic in me now wonders why this was communicated over the phone when the conversation was via email up to that point. So I’ll have to check it again on the day…

    • Stuart Masson

      Probably just laziness. Salespeople tend to forget that while all the paperwork is second nature to them, customers often have no idea what’s going on and why they need to sign different forms or provide certain information. They generally need to be better at explaining the processes of how everything works, but generally dealers prefer not to tell customers too much about what is happening…

  16. Hi Stuart ,
    I bought my second new Audi A6 on a pcp agreement in March 2015 ( dealer incentive to swap over my 2012 Audi A6) and after 4 weeks , the reduce oil level message came up on the MMI display. I spoke to the garage and the car was returned to them and after 4 weeks they invited me in for a chat. Needless to say they were very apologetic due to their error in over filling the oil. In July 2015, the car broke down, the clutch went to the floor and the car wouldn’t move. The police were involved due to the position of where the car stopped. Audi assist came out and took the car and I to the local Audi dealership, who had the car for a week and eventually call me back to say they couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. By this time, I had enough of the car and sought to Return the car to Audi but as you quite right have said on many occasions , at least 50% of the pcp agreement must be paid first which equates to at least half of the agreement term. The alternative for me was to trade the car in for another at another Audi dealership, as didn’t want to drive the car anymore. I got another Audi A6 in August 2016 after handing more money out on another deposit and within two weeks, the same oil level issue appeared on the MMI. Surely I thought I cannot be that unlucky, two new cars and both with the same oil level problems, but I was as it happened again. The dealership was notified and the car recovered. The car was gone a week and I drove a hire car arranged by Audi assist ( this was the third hire car from Audi in 9 months). The dealership acknowledged they had overfilled the oil during the preparation before I took delivery and again they apologised. In September 2016, the oil level message appeared again and the car was taken back to the dealership where the oil sensor was changed. By the 15th October, the oil level light appeared and again the car return to the dealership ( I was now in a fourth loan car) with another oil sensor installed. By the 12th Nov , the oil level message appeared again and I contacted the dealership again and currently the car is with them trying to find out what is wrong and I am in the fifth loan car since March 2015.
    Needless to say I am not impressed with Audi and the issues that I have experienced since March 2015 have put me off buying another Audi. As I am in a 48 month agreement and I am only 15 months into it, do I have grounds to hand the car back due to reoccurring problem with the oil level without paying anymore.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Steve. If you have only been in your current car since August 2016, presumably they started a new agreement and you are only three months into it rather than 15.

      Since you have had your current car for less than six months, you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act and you can attempt to reject the car. The dealer is entitled to one attempt to fix the problem, which they have had. Given that they have failed to fix the problem, you can move to reject the vehicle. If successful, you are not entitled to a full refund as the dealer can charge for usage/wear and tear. You will need to do it in conjunction with the finance company, as the car belongs to them rather than you.

  17. Hi Stuart, no I have been in the second new Audi A6 since August 2015 ( after trading in the first new Audi A6 for it). Within two weeks , end of August 2015, the car showed the high oil level message which the dealership fixed. The car didn’t show the message again until September 2016 , just over a year since the first message. Since 1st October 2016, the car has showed the message three times, the oil sensor has been changed twice and currently the car is in the dealership. The latest information from them, is there is a likelihood of a leaky fuel injector which could be the reason for the increased oil level and hence the reduce oil level message.
    The finance company is aware of the issues and have eight weeks to investigate and then issue a first and final response. I have requested a cancellation of the pcp agreement, the car is bought back by the dealership and they settle the remaining finance on the car. I gather as the car is over six months from delivery, I am not covered by the Consumer Rights Act, is there anything further I can do to push through the rejection of the car.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Other than hassle Audi UK about the repeated identical problems and hope they offer something in terms of goodwill, there’s nothing you can really do to reject the car after more than a year.

  18. H Stuart, this is all rather depressing. My problem is not however about the car, a new Nissan Juke, but the dealership. I have just returned from taking my wife to collect her new car but without it it. I suppose I should have walked when the test drive took place in a car with a filthy interior.

    We arrived to collect the new car and found it stood in the dark on the lot with little space to even open the doors. It was suggested that we might want to look at the car whilst some paperwork was redone I had no desire to stand in the rain looking at a wet car in the dark. It was impossible to check for any faults but when my wife got into the car we found that it was un-valeted and had not been prepared as promised (this was a new vehicle). Although we had arrived on time we were abandoned to sit and wait.

    When I spend money on a new car I not unreasonably expect the experience of collection to be pleasant rather than annoying, I don’t need a big reveal or flowers just courtesy and professionalism. I now have no faith in this dealership and refused to accept the car.

    I imagine they will try to resolve my lack of faith by threatening to keep my deposit. We shall see.

    I wonder if it is worth speaking to Nissan?

    Regards

    Steve

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Steve. First port of call is to try and resolve the matter with the dealer principal/general manager. If the car was due to be collected, it will have already been registered in your name and is therefore a pain to either undo with DVLA (and the time limit to do so may have already expired) or the dealer would have to buy the car back from you – which would be for less money than you paid for it, as VAT and other costs of sale have already been paid.

      If it is a new car, there should be no mechanical concerns and it is simply a matter of poor customer service from the dealership. You will be making your own life much easier if you make your annoyance very clear and then give the dealership the opportunity to rectify the problem. They may offer some fuel, free servicing or other gesture of goodwill, and will save you a lot of hassle in terms of cancelling a contract, having to get the refund processed and then go elsewhere to purchase another car and go through all the same purchase processes again.

      If you are unhappy with the response from the general manager of the dealership, then by all means escalate the matter to Nissan UK. Again, the offer is likely to be one of goodwill and compensation for your poor experience rather than cancelling your contract and refunding your money. Legally, there is no recourse for rejecting a car because it has not been valeted.

  19. Hi! Stuart, I hope you don’t mind me asking but I would like some advice please. My son bought a 10 plate BMW at a local garage here in Liverpool around 9 months ago on finance, and he received 3 months warranty i think. He had some trouble mechanical trouble within the warranty period and had it repaired free of charge, However he had more trouble with it outside of the warranty period with the flywheel, which I needed to be replaced at a cost of around £500 approximately, then all of the electrics went down and he had no indicators, no central locking and no heater etc, so he took it to an expert who deals with this kind of thing, only to be told that the clocks had been changed at some point before my son bought the car and the wrong clocks, with a different mileage, which showed almost double the genuine mileage. The technician told my son to take it back to the local garage from which he bought the car from but my son told me that because it was outside of the warranty he would have to pay for it himself, which horrified ,e. My son is a registered ATA panel beater and works for a Vauxhall dealership here in Liverpool, and has informed myself and hi Mother, my wife that there is something else wrong with the car now as well and it is going to cost him Approximately £1,000 to have it put right. I believe that the car is not fit for purpose and therefore the HP should be annulled or the car should be completely repaired free of charge and would like your expert advice on this matter please if that is possible and you don’t mind,
    Kindest Regards,

    Graham Howard

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Graham. It would be unusual for someone to change the speedometer for one with double the correct mileage – usually you would be trying to replace it for one which has fewer miles on it to make it look like the car has done less mileage.

      It’s entirely possible that the car has either been involved in an accident or suffered some fairly harsh treatment by the previous owner(s). The car is outside the six-month window provided under the Consumer Rights Act, and even when those cases have been taken to court, judges have been very lenient on dealers with used cars with problems. Trying to prove that a six-year-old used car is not fit for purpose is a very tough ask. You may be able to make a case if you have clear evidence of clock tampering, but probably not for mechanical faults on a used car that is out of warranty.

  20. Hello,
    We have agreed a PCP for Nissan X- trail for 12000 miles a year and £403.83 monthly payment. We sign the contract after 2 weeks and after a week we receive a letter from Nissan Finance, stating that our agreed mileage are 8000 miles a year. Then I contact the dealer and they have changed the mileage , without my permission, telling me this is a better deal and monthly payment remain same. Then have lied us, because on today of signing , they changed the mileage and never show us a copy of agreement to be read. Now I am asking them to change the mileage and dealer doesn’t wish to do that. Very disappointed and this was my first time buying a car in UK, What are my rights?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Shenel. It would be impossible for you to sign an agreement without physically seeing the agreement, so you have a responsibility to read what you are signing. However, it sounds like the dealer has behaved in an unscrupulous manner (it’s certainly not a better deal). You should get in touch with the finance company regarding the dealer’s behaviour and insist that the mileage be amended. You should also contact the dealer principal and make the same demand. If the dealer does not co-operate, contact Nissan UK and make a formal complaint about the dealer’s behaviour (frankly, you should be making that complaint anyway, as pressure from the manufacturer is the only way the dealers ever will be pulled into line).

  21. Hi Stuart,
    I bought a car 2 weeks ago. It was delivered to me and I have only contacted the seller via phone and email. They had confirmed that the car had never had any accidents and it’s in very good condition. When the car was delivered it was a sunny day (the car is silver), so unfortunately I didn’t see anything wrong with the bodywork and the paintwork and paid the full amount on the day.
    I didn’t use the car at all, and then one day I noticed that the car is far from perfect, rear panels repaired and a few other elements painted. Everything quite badly done.
    I’ve contacted the company and they agreed to take the car and get it properly done.
    What are my rights now if I want to return the car and get my money back?

    Regards
    Martin

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Martin. If you have already agreed a resolution to the issue with the selling dealer, you can’t really change your mind and now reject the vehicle. Under the Consumer Rights Act, if the dealer’s repair does not fix the issue, you can then reject the vehicle in the first six months.

  22. Hi Stuart,
    We bought an ex-Motability Qashqai from a main dealer just over a year ago. Part of what we were told about the Motability scheme was that the cars had to be serviced annually. We also had a warranty for a year.
    A couple of weeks after the first year was up, the gearbox developed a rattle, and the dealer has told us that the gearbox needs to be replaced, at a cost of over £7000. The whole car cost us £12,000!
    We hadn’t had the car serviced in that year (but we were about to!) and the warranty period had just ended.
    The dealer put in a claim to Nissan, who said that they wouldn’t accept any responsibility, as the car had missed 2 services – at which point we were told that the car hadn’t been serviced in over a year before we bought it, or by the main dealer just before we bought it. We obviously had assumed this had happened.
    This car has only done 17,000 miles, and we have driven it very carefully.We feel that we have done nothing wrong, and that the dealer, or Nissan, have let us down badly here.
    What are our rights? Can we demand that the gearbox is replaced free of charge? We simply cannot afford to pay for this ourselves.
    Thanks for your advice.
    Peter

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Peter. Your chances of success will depend on what proof you have about the claimed service history. If you have nothing more than the dealer’s word, there’s not a lot you can do. If you have anything in writing that the car had been serviced, such as the original advertisement or an email from the dealer, then you can claim against them.
      Your position is more difficult in that you bought the car a year ago, and presumably you have had the car’s service books in your possession for that entire time, so you have failed to notice that the car did not have a proper service history. This is something that you should have noticed and raised with the dealer at point of delivery or shortly afterwards. It’s a bit late to raise this now, as you have clearly been driving the car around for a year. Your argument that you have driven very carefully is irrelevant, since there is no proof of that and the dealer could argue that your driving caused the gearbox failure. Proving who’s right and wrong would be a lengthy and difficult process, and you probably don’t have a strong case.
      Nissan head office is unlikely to budge in its position, since proper compliance with service requirements is a condition of any new car warranty.

  23. hi stuart , i have a problem with a car dealer , so last week on friday i was at a car dealer in milton keynes to see a car .. finance car..second hand one.. 6000 pounds..
    ok then i liked a car and they obtain a finance for me one hour later and i signed online a contract.. it was a hire and puchase finance on the car.. then when i want to take the car home they told me.. wait the car is not working you leave the car with us for 3-4
    days and you will take it like new..
    i said ok no problem.. then when i arrived home i thinked better and i call to cancel the contract…so all this was in the same day.. last week on friday.. i called also the car dealer and the finance company..
    now the problem is that the finance company allready send the money to car dealer after i signed
    the contract…and finance company told me that i should speak again to car dealer so they can send back the money to them… so i called again car dealer and they told me that they are not obligated by the law to send money back but they will discuss with the finance company and will see…
    couple days ago i got a letter from finance company where they stated that i have to pay the loan… you know.. like the contract its still in use… crazy no…
    like i said i didnt touch the car the car is still with the car dealer i was suppose to came back 3-4 days later to take it.. but i didnt wait i cancel the contract in the same day when i signed for it… to avoid any cancelation fees..
    now tomorow they suppose to meet each other so they discus about this bettwen them… finance company and car dealer… but im affraid all this will be on me.. even if they cancel the contract they will put me to pay huge fees… im not sure..
    please stuart help me , i dont know what to do is a matter bettwen them.. who send the money to who.. i dont care..
    i dont have the car and dont have the money.. but by the letter from finance company i should start payng back the loan from 24 may…
    i called to cancel in the 14 days that is written into the contract so whats my fault?
    what should i do.. help please thank you Peter

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Peter. The 14-day cooling-off period applies to the finance, not to the car purchase. By cancelling the finance agreement, you are basically saying that you will find another way to pay for the car. Cancelling the finance agreement does not get you out of the car purchase.

      It is very unusual for the finance company to pay the dealer for the car on the same day you signed the order, especially if the car is not being delivered to the customer for several days. I would contact the finance company and try to speak to someone else, and get confirmation that they have definitely sent the money to the dealer.

      For more information, have a read of this article: I bought a car and have now changed my mind

  24. i bought a brand new fiat panda cross, picked it up dec 2016 with the sat nav which i was told went with the car to integrate to its Blue&me technology. Dealers have finally accepted my car does not have Blue&me and my sat nav is not compatible, yet i bought the car for this feature (Blue&me) and the salesmen were aware. the dealers have investigated why it isn’t compatible, at one point ordering a special tool from Italy to take the dash out to see why it wasn’t wired for the facility. they waited 6 weeks for the tool and had the car for four days. My car has been in their workshop 4 times since bought. They have now admitted it does not have the facility. I have a meeting with the franchise manager this week, and would like to reject it or them to provide me with an alternative. Obviously the dealers are aware of this and cannot replace the car for the same make and model as they are all built now without the facility. I am in my legal right to ask for a 4×4 with sat nav if it means upgrading to another model of car? with no extra cost to me?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Sarah. According to the Consumer Rights Act, you have the right to ask for a refund, and the dealer has the right to deduct for mileage/usage.

      Anything else is outside the auspices of the Act. You can negotiate whatever you like with the dealer if they are prepared to go along with it, but they are not obliged to go beyond what the Act says.

  25. Hi Stuart
    I bought the BMW 525d used manufacture approved car from BMW over 8 months ago.
    The car have a faulty air condition from day 1, I did contact the dealer same day to let him know that there is a fault and he advised me to take car to local BMW. They have diagnosed and tried to fix the car 5 times with no success. Air con stops working always after about 5 weeks.
    Last 2 repairs they asked me to cover the cost, which were refunded after my complains to customer care.
    However the air con is not working again and again they are asking me to cover the costs.
    Could you advise what I can do next?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Mac. If you have had the car for more than eight months, it will make it difficult to reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act – unless the total time the car has spent back at the dealership is more than two months, which would bring you back under six months of net ownership.

      You should still be under the 12 months used car warranty from the BMW dealer, so you will need to keep chasing the dealer and, if necessary, the warranty provider (which is probably not BMW UK). You may need to consider engaging a solicitor to help you get this sorted properly.

  26. Hi

    I bought a Seat Leon 2007, from a private dealer, using finance. Within a week of driving the car, it developed issues, some of which I pointed out at the dealership, they claimed it wear and tear, but it was obvious faults. I called the dealership, and as usual, those smiles turned into angry face, always giving me a winning persuasion. I cc’d my finance company in every email I sent to them, but the dealership never has replied, always I have to call them to chase them. Anyways, I told them the issues, said that I would need to get it fixed, I proposed that I get it fixed at my local garage, as the dealership was 100 miles away. They agreed. When I gave them the quotes, out of 10 garages I gave them the cheapest. They laughed at me, stating that their mechanic could do it for free. I contacted my finance company, and they advised me I have to take it to them to repair, that was still WITHIN the 30 days, and submitted this via email, on a legal template, and informed them by text, phone and informed my finance company that I wish to reject the car. Issues were these:

    1. Alternator or starter motor pulley or mechanism is faulty. Squeals on start-up. May be misaligned or bearings worn out.
    This should not sound like this and the start-up should be smooth.

    2. Centre console buttons do not open or close central locking. Needs replacing. Please replace.

    3. Engine management light has come up. Diagnostics indicate issues with evaporative emissions purge flow. The n80 and n115 valves need to be changed.

    4. On idle, idle in not constant, and stutters slightly. Indicates issues with timing.

    5. ALARM system does not work. Sensors or door do not trigger alarm when armed with doors locked.

    6. On pre collection, a full service was promised, due to the car not having any prior service history. My Mechanic has checked spark plugs, air filter, these need replacing. Please replace.

    7. Right wing mirror does not retract properly. You can hear the motor struggling when closing.

    8. Remote key does not open and close the car at all times. Works intermittent. May have something to do with the alarm system?

    9. Door speaker passenger door side has intermittent connection. Please investigate and repair.

    I gave them everything that needed to be repaired. A week later, I called to chase this up with the dealer, and they said the car was ready. When I went to the dealer, to be honest nothing had been done. All they did was replace the door speaker. They kept on telling me the car was not sold with an alarm, when it clearly states on the auto trader ad, alarm. I showed it to him, he laughed and said the alarm only goes off when the window is smashed. Even though my car is supposed to have an ultrasonic alarm that activates if something moves in the car. I have driven seats for 10 years now, and I have done my fair driving and research to at least know the basics.

    I drove the car home, bearing in mind, now I had spent so much money on fuel, days off etc. and it’s gotten far worse. It’s been 2 weeks now, and my finance company are playing games with me. They telling me to go to a mechanic, get the car diagnosed, and quoted for repair, then they will speak to my dealer. I have now spent more money on diagnosing it, given them the estimate and the faults found. I bought the car on 04, 04.17, and today its 17.05.17, and the car is just sitting there. I have constantly emailed my finance company, telling them I am at a loss. I can’t drop my kids to school by car anymore. Incurred so much costs, time, days off taking time to deal with the issues in chasing up the dealer, finance co and getting quotes from the mechanics.

    I just wish to give the car back, and get free from this nightmare.

    What advice can anyone give?!
    ?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      The best advice I can give is to speak to a solicitor. Clearly you are not getting anywhere at the moment and that is unlikely to change in a hurry – the dealer is presumably hoping that you will give up and simply collect the car. It will probably take legal action to kick them into life.

  27. Hi Stuart
    When my car was getting serviced by Kia Marshall in Ipswich where I brought my car from. They said due to radiator cap going missing it ruined the engine. I told the manager who serviced my car, that I got no need to touch the cap, and the last people that touched anything in my bonnet is the Kia garage, they’re the ones that serviced and looked all over, the day before I purchased the car. I told the manger who ever serviced my car, they didn’t screw the cap on properly, and the manager than said “you wouldn’t have made it home from our garage if we didn’t screw it on properly”, I live 10miles away from the Kia garage. I than said to the manager if you think I opened the cab and didn’t screw it on than how did I manage to drive 200miles on a motorway. It’s a Kia Rio car, purchased on the 29/09/2016, the radiator cab fell off somewhere on the motorway, I only drove that car for 6month and and it was my first time on a motorway when my car broke down due to the cab not screwed on properly. Now the Kia motor asking me to pay £2,000 to get the engine replaced. They said I got no warranty. I got the car brand new in 2016 with 3years contract.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Salima. It’s a difficult situation, because neither of you has proof as to how the problem has occurred. As much as you may know that you have never touched the radiator cap, you can’t prove that the dealership didn’t screw it back on properly six months ago.
      If you want to pursue the matter, you are probably going to need to get legal assistance so that you can work through the process with some expert support. However, if you don’t have a solid case, you will end up spending more on legal fees than the engine repair will cost.

  28. Hi Stuart,
    I’ve bought a brand new VW Polo 17 May 17, on Saturday the engine light came on. It’s been in the VW garage and the engineer has advised that a stone has made a hole in the air cooler radiator. The car has under 1000 miles on the clock and it hasn’t even been driven on a motorway yet. The garage has sent me a video to show the “damage” and has advised a cost of £455 to change the air cooler that is leaking coolant.

    Can you give any advice or help?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Chris. What advice are you looking for? Are you suggesting that the dealership is lying to you about the cause of the damage?

      The sort of damage described doesn’t have to happen on a motorway – a car travelling at 30mph colliding with a stone that has been flicked up could potentially cause this damage. It’s just unlucky.

  29. My daughter purchased a used car from a small used car dealership and it had some transmission issues that the dealership said they would pay to have fixed. It has been in two different auto repair places for most of the last two months. She has just made her second car payment and still does not have the car. She is a single mother and has two children that need to be transported to and from school and daycare. Is there anything she can do to make the dealership stop dragging their feet and get the car fixed?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Judy. It’s difficult, as trying to take any kind of action against the dealer will possibly take longer to organise than it’s likely to take anyway! Keep hassling them, and become the most annoying (yet at all times polite) person in the world until they get it done.

      You can chase the finance company to see if they can put any pressure on the dealer, but it’s always come back to you having to chase it, unfortunately.

  30. Hi, my mum and dad purchased my first car on 28/07/17, it’s a 2007 MINI One 1.4, they part exchanged our Ford KA and payed a further £1200. Whilst initially viewing the car my dad noticed that the tread on the front tyres was low, the salesman insisted that the car would go through tests to make sure it’s roadworthy before they collected it. They agreed to buy the car and a week later collected it, the owner of the garage believed that the front tyres were in good condition so they weren’t replaced, the owner also tried to give my parents £500 less for the car they were part exchanging than what was agreed the week before.

    When they arrived home with the car the red oil light flashed on and then off. The car has continued to do this ever since when the engine is hot and the car is going very slowly or reversing. My dad contacted the AA who towed the car back to the dealership the following day. The dealership said they would fix the car and they had it for a week however the owner was very reluctant to do any to the car and cleaned there was nothing wrong with it until my dad said the AA had towed the car and that he had a report from them. The owner said the a new oil pump, oil filter, pressure switch and exhaust vanos had been fitted to the car. But the oil light still continued to come on and off.

    Yesterday my dad took the car to a mini specialist who plugged it into a diagnostic machine, which revealed that the oxygen sensor has issues. Despite these issues the engine management light was not illuminated. When my dad arrived home, he took the speedometer off the car and found that the bulb for the engine management light had been surrounded by black silicon to prevent the light being visible. My dad then looked at the oil filter, which he believes has not been changed by the garage. When my dad called the dealer he then said that the oil pump was second hand and not brand new, which had been previously implied.

    Meanwhile my mum contacted the previous owner of the MINI, who also bought the car from the dealership. She said that she has the car for 4 weeks but only had it at home for 2 days as there were many issues. She said that when the car had supposedly been fixed she drove down the road and all of the warning lights illuminated. She then insisted that they take it to a specialist, which they said they did but she found out that no specialist mechanic had been consulted and that the car hadn’t moved from the car park, So she got her money back.When my dad told the dealer about this, he said the woman was lying and that she returned the car because she couldn’t afford the finance. The woman also has a friend who is currently in court proceedings with the same dealership.

    My dad has paid for new alloys, new brake pads and the diagnostics test as well as £1000 for my mums insurance (she’s a new driver) and £80 to transfer a private reg onto the car. My dad feels like he’s invested too much money into the car to just return it and get his money back and ideally wants the car to be fixed if possible. He’s booked it in with the specialist for a few days time but is still uncertain as to whether the dealership is willing to pay for the repairs to be done on the car. Should the dealers legally have to pay for the repairs or does it have to be one of their mechanics- considering all the cover ups and lies that they’ve told?

    Sorry for the long story and I apologise if my story has sent multiple times as it wasn’t posting at first.
    Thanks in advance,
    Elisha.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Elisha. By the sound of it, these guys are not just lazy and/or ignorant like many rubbish used car dealers. They are deliberately meddling with their vehicles to turn a quick sale, and it sounds like they are used to dealing with angry customers. If you want to challenge these guys, you are going to need to get the help of a lawyer.

  31. Hi Stuart.
    I purchased a second hand car through a finance company.
    I had the car serviced and then 3 weeks later the clutch went.
    I got the clutch fixed.
    And then I was driving and it started to make a loud noise from the engine.
    I got the car recovered home and phoned the car finance company.
    After 4 weeks they said they would send an independent company to check the problem.
    I gave them a list as on closer inspection there was a list of problems from leaking front shock absorber to sensor on windscreen not working which also means automatic wipers or lights don’t work.
    Hole in the exhaust brake disc and pads worn to metal.
    And the company they sent out said the big end bearings had gone.
    I only had the car for 10 weeks.
    They have just phoned me and said I will have to pay for repairs as it is wear and tear.
    Although the inspection didn’t check the shock and didn’t say much regarding the sensor.
    Is this right as I now have a car I can’t use and have to still pay for it.
    I’m now in debt for a car that does not work

    Reply
  32. Hi. I bought a car online last Tuesday and but £200. Deposit down on it. And arranged to pick the car at the end if the week. I noticed the mot had finished on it and told them. They said that they will put 12 month mot on it for me. Following day they phoned me to say that the car had failed it mot and and it would cost to much to fix. I was bit disappointed with this . Asked if they can pay the deposit back into my account and if they could let me know when that have repayed me. They have only been intouch with me once and that was when I taxed them to see if they had paid the deposit back to me with a answer of ” Yes regards”. 9 days later in still waiting to get my money back feom them.

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Dei. You’ll have to keep chasing and hassling them every day, and basically become the most annoying person in the world until you get the money back in your account. Yes, it’s annoying, but if you don’t keep at it then you may never get your cash back. Phone them, don’t text, as you’re giving them the chance not to confront you. Advise them that if the money is not back in your account by day X, you will be calling Trading Standards.

  33. Hi Stuart.
    On 14th October I bought a 3 year old car with 35k miles from an approved dealership, and this morning when I got into the car, the inside of the front windscreen was dripping wet. I’m not just talking about a bit of condensation, it was dripping with water onto the dashboard. It was a very misty morning today – the first one we’ve had since I bought the car – and I don’t know if that is related. If it was below freezing I would have been scraping ice from the inside of the windscreen for sure.
    I rang them up and booked it in for an inspection and test to see if there is any water ingress, however when I rang them they said “Yes, we’ve heard of this with some cars” and I got the impression that they did not see it as an issue.
    My preference is that this is fixed and I keep the car, however if they don’t or can’t fix it, or even say there is nothing wrong with it, where would I stand? After paying £17k I don’t think it is of satisfactory quality.
    This will be the third time I have had to take the car back by the way, the other two times were for tracking and the 4WD geometry, not that that’s rleevant to this of course, just venting a bit…
    Thank you for your advice.
    Chris

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Chris. I’d suggest searching online for other owners of the same make/model to see if this is a common problem or something unique to your car.

      It could also be something very simple – if you’ve recently had the car cleaned, there could be some dampness inside that’s then condensing on the windscreen overnight. Or it could be a window not properly closed, so that the interior gets colder than usual so water forms on the inside of the windscreen. Or there’s a leak somewhere in the windscreen rubbers – maybe the windscreen has been replaced at some stage, which is common enough, and the new one hasn’t been sealed in adequately.

      Until you can be sure what’s causing it, it’s difficult to know how to proceed.

  34. Hello Stuart.
    I bought a used car the other day from a (dodgy) dealer and now have issues with two things:

    1. The car was advertised as having a new cam belt (on the description). Speaking to him, he confirmed to me that it had recently been replaced. Very foolishly, I did not check for servicing/proof that the cam belt was replaced during the viewing – I knew about the Consumer Rights Act and thought I would be covered… I have since checked the original ad and it seems he has edited the advertisement and removed the bit about the new cam belt!

    2. Upon inspection, the bumpers looked dodgy and he assured us that the bumper had not been replaced but just painted over. We get back to find a receipt from a year ago for a new front bumper, in with the car manual.

    I have basically been lied to, which surely is not legal. I paid by bank transfer and do like the car, but just want him to pay for a new cam belt if that is what was originally said.

    What approach can I take? I have admittedly been quite naive. I would really rather not take legal action but could threaten to?

    Kind regards,

    Paul

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      Hi Paul. Your chances of success, either informally or via legal means, will likely rest on what written evidence you can provide. If you have a copy of the original ad that claims a new cam belt, that’s a good start. If you don’t, it’s all down to he said/she said and that’s difficult to win.

  35. Hi Stuart,

    Hopefully a quick question…

    we bought what proved to be a faulty car, ended up going thru small claims and got a default judgement against the dealer which was enforced by bailiffs, but there was no mention as to what happens to the vehicle now, we cant afford to insure it further and buy and insure another car, but cannot SORN it as it is parked on the road (no alternative), we don’t want to repair if the dealer can then come and make a claim for it, and therefore we will have wasted probably hundreds of pounds getting the car fixed and he will benefit from then having a fixed car free of charge.

    So what should we do? who owns the car?

    Reply
    • Stuart Masson

      I think you should get professional legal advice on the matter. You can start with the excellent site legalbeagles.info, but you may need to engage your own solicitor to help you out.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

Lost Password

Tweet
Share
Stumble
+1
Share