New laws give car buyers extra protection

Car buying advice
Car buyers will benefit from the new Consumer Rights Act 2015

UPDATE – 28 SEPTEMBER 2016

Due to the huge number of questions generated by this topic, we have taken the time to replace this article with a brand new and more comprehensive explanation of your rights when rejecting a new or used car. Please follow this link to our new article from now on:

Rejecting a car – your consumer rights.

This old article will no longer be updated, and any questions will be directed to the new article. Many thanks, stuart.

(PS – if you’ve come here from the MoneySavingExpert forum, then they have been asked to update their links to the new article above. Also never take advice from the anonymous keyboard warriors on the MoneySavingExpert forum, as they are very often wrong and misguided!
stuart 11/08/2017)


Car buyers will get more rights when rejecting a faulty car from October 2015

From 1 October 2015, the old Sale of Goods Act 1979 will be effectively replaced for business to consumer (B2C) sales by the new Consumer Rights Act 2015, which is good news for car buyers. The new Act gives greater consumer protection in line with EU requirements.

The big benefit of the new law is that car buyers will have 30 days to reject a new or used car from a dealership if it has a fault which was present when you took delivery. The old legislation was vague and was not easily enforceable in the event of problems with a vehicle.

If a customer wants to accept a repair then they can, but they are not obliged to and can demand a full refund.

The new rules, which only affect private car buyers (consumers) rather than businesses, and only from cars bought from registered traders (i.e. – not private sales).  The Act covers both new and used cars.

This is a very powerful law in support of consumers, but it is important that you follow a clear and careful process to make sure you have the backing of the new law.

It is the customer’s obligation to prove that there was a fault when they took delivery of the car. Faults that only appear after you have driven off will not count unless you can show that they had to have been present when you collected the car.

The rules should be particularly useful when purchasing from auction, or other situations where there is little or no opportunity to inspect a car before purchase.

Tips for car buyers when rejecting a car

  1. A fault does not have to be a problem that renders the car undriveable. According to the Act, the “goods” (i.e. – the car) must in of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and free from any defect.
  2. Inspect the car for faults before purchase, and get written confirmation that they will be addressed prior to delivery. Take photos or video to highlight the problem so you can compare to the ‘fixed’ result.
  3. Inspect the car for faults at time of delivery. Do not allow the dealer to rush you and do not sign any documentation on delivery until you have inspected the car thoroughly.
  4. Once you have driven home, inspect the car again. If you spot any problems, take photos or video evidence.
  5. If you notice any problems, cease driving the car as soon as is practical. Notify the dealership immediately, preferably via phone and definitely in writing (email is fine).  Explain the problem clearly and in detail, and supply photos or any other evidence.
  6. If you are interested in pursuing your option to reject the car, do not keep driving it unless absolutely necessary and there is no alternative. If you do need to drive the car, make sure you inform the dealer to avoid any dispute later on.
  7. Get everything in writing, with clear dates. If the dealer is happy for you to keep driving the car until they are available to look at it, get an email confirming that.  A car dealer’s verbal promise is worth nothing.
  8. This is not an excuse to change your mind because you don’t want the car anymore, or you realise that you’ve bought the wrong car for your needs. There has to be a clear fault with the vehicle.
  9. Rejecting a car will be easier for a new car than a used car, simply because there are fewer grey areas and everything should be working properly on a brand new car. If you are buying a used car, especially an older car, you will need to clear (get it in writing) about anything that is not working that you want fixed before delivery. If a dealer is offering a car with a known fault, and it is advertised as such and sold ‘as is’, you can’t reject the car because of that fault.
  10. The Act only governs faults that were present when you bought the car, not ones that developed afterwards. That’s what warranties are for.
  11. Your 30 days is paused while a fault is investigated and repaired. This is to stop a dealer taking 31 days to investigate a fault and then decline to refund or repair because it’s outside the legal window.

Unless there is a clause in the sales contract which says you are obliged to return the car, then it is the dealer’s obligation to collect the vehicle. You only have to make sure the car is available to collect.

If you are rejecting the car under the new 30-day ‘short term right to reject’ legislation, you are entitled to a full refund by the same method in which you paid for the car. The dealer cannot charge for usage, damage, wear and tear, collection of the vehicle or anything else.


UPDATE – 28 SEPTEMBER 2016

Once again, please note that this article has now been replaced by a brand new and more comprehensive explanation of your rights when rejecting a new or used car. Please follow this link to our new article:

Rejecting a car – your consumer rights.

This comments section below will no longer be updated, and any questions from readers will be directed to the new article. Many thanks, stuart.

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.

582 Comments

  1. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sabrina. This is a UK site, and I am not familiar with the relevant laws in America.

  2. Hi, I would really appreciate some advice. I bought a car 3 days ago, from a dealer. It was a Merc c350. The advert stated it was 4 wheel drive , with 12 months M.O.T. I test drove it and purchased, using £300 cash and rest on card. When I got home I showed it as friend who told me it wasn’t 4 wheel drive. I called the dealer and he said ‘we dont do refunds’. I told him that was not right. He said he would try to find me an alternative, but I have been on their site and they have nothing suitable. I sent a letter of rejection this morning, asking them to pick it up and refund, by email, with screen shots of the ad I purchased from. Now I am worried they won’t do anything at all, as they have only been in business 1 year. Should I take the vehicle back myself and demand a refund? Am I in the right, I have assumed I am as it isn’t as described. How long does the dealer have to respond. I go abroad in 2 weeks. Regards

  3. Stuart Masson

    You will need some kind of proof that the car was advertised as 4-wheel-drive, or have it written on the contract. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has never been fitted with 4WD in the UK (they can’t get the system to fit in right-hand-drive models), so there was no way it could ever have been a 4WD model.

    If you can’t prove that the car was advertised as 4WD, you don’t have a case. If you do have proof (i.e. – a copy of the advertisement or it written on the contract), then you can definitely reject the vehicle and get a full refund. However, there is no specified timeframe for the dealer to complete this process, so there’s absolutely no guarantee it will happen before you go abroad.

  4. I recently bought a vehicle and noted a wobbling sensation when driving at higher speeds such as motorway, it wasn’t noticeable when doing round town speed, also around 8 days into the agreement when using full lock for the first time to exit a tight space a loud whirring noise appeared, I took the car to a local garage before contacting the dealership to get an independent opinion, as if it was minor I would of repaired it myself, when he took it on a test run he immediately ordered me to cease using the car as the steering rack or pump was shot and needed replacing, he also said the wobbling sensation which he couldn’t test due to lack of motorway space would more than likely be down to tracking or wheel balance, there’s also an issue with coolant, when I first took the car the day after it needed topping up which I found odd as it was mot’d that day, however I topped it up using proper coolant not water as per vauxhalls operating instructions on aluminium heads, 3 days later it needed topping up again, in total needing 1 litre of coolant in 12 days, there were no signs of leaks so it was apparent the coolant was going somewhere, the car also cut out whilst driving on a busy dual carriageway due to overheating, after gathering all these faults I decided to exercise my rights under this new law but the garage are now telling me the finance company are to take the car back as its sold from thier end, surely this isn’t the case ? The car has several faults one of which has been deemed dangerous as well as being 12 days after the sale I was under the impression that I could return the vehicle and get a full refund payable to the finance company due to these faults under SOGA, am I right or have I got it wrong ? Please help

  5. Stuart Masson

    Hi Clinton. You will need to work with the finance company as (assuming you have a PCP or HP agreement) the car belongs to them, not you.

    If you are still within 14 days of the finance being activated, you can withdraw from the finance agreement. However, as long as you are within 30 days of taking delivery of the vehicle, you can reject the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act (2015) – but again, you need to work with the finance company as it’s not technically your car to reject.

  6. Hello Stuart I bought a bmw x5 M 50d from a non franchised dealer i did only 150 miles in 3 days & something went wrong with the engine ! the dealer collected it and gave me a very inferior courtesy car (which I’m not using) they have had my car near 9 weeks now and they still don’t know whats wrong with it ! am i entitled to a refund ? many thanks in advance

  7. I bought a used truck a 2005 GMC Envoy from a dealership my warranty expires in 3 days I’ve had the truck in there 4 times now to repair the problems they’re wrong with it the check engine light keeps coming on they said it was an EVAP they put a new gas cap in it and it still comes on they inspected it and said that the light wasn’t on when the inspected it that it’s nothing to worry about they said my warranty I have a limited warranty 30 days or 1000 thousand miles they said that my warranty doesn’t cover a smoke test to find out why the EVAP keeps coming on do I have any rights to address this problem I told them they inspected it and they said that it wasn’t on when they inspected it now the check engine is on honestly I don’t know if my trucks inspected the right way any advice I asked them to put the warranty in writing because they told me that I could bring it back if something broke when my warranty runs out in 3 days but they won’t put it in writing which makes me suspicious any advice I would appreciate it thank you

  8. Hi,

    I was wondering if someone can advice me. I took personal finance on a car on and signed an agreement. The company transferred the funds to the car dealers but I decided my circumstances has changed and I do not want the car. I have not signed any agreement with the car dealers or picked up the car but the car dealer company is refusing to return the funds because they are saying there are no legal rights for them to return the funds. Can someone advice me or do I have any rights please? Thanks

  9. Stuart Masson

    Hi Brad. In moral terms, yes you should be able to say that this is not good enough and I want my money back. However, that is not necessarily the law. Under the Consumer Rights Act (2015), you have 30 days to formally reject a vehicle. That time has long passed, so you would need to find another way of tackling the issue. Your most likely candidate would be claiming the car is not fit for sale under the Sale of Goods Act. I would suggest you visit legalbeagles.info or speak to a solicitor about how you proceed to try and get your money back.

  10. Stuart Masson

    Hi Frank. Sorry, this is a UK site and we don’t deal with US cases.

  11. Stuart Masson

    The dealership is correct. You borrowed money from the bank and then changed your mind – which, if you have done so within 14 days means you can withdraw from the loan without incurring any fees or interest. However, you have already spent that money so you no longer have it available to give back to the bank. This is not the dealer’s problem.

  12. hi stuart, i have bought a motorbike from a dealer and paid the full amount by bacs, i have not had the bike delivered yet but have found another one which is newer for the same price, can i get my deposit and all the money i have sent the dealer back cheers gareth

  13. Stuart Masson

    Hi Gareth. There is no reason why the dealer should give you your money back – you signed a legally-binding contract and paid the money, so it’s now your bike. For more information, have a read of our article about changing your mind after buying a vehicle.

  14. Hi stuart

    I purchased a car from a dealer on 14 Feb 16 the car came with a 6 month warranty from a company called warranty wise.. however i have had a problem with the car on the 10 may 16 which has been diagnosed as a gear box fault and the garage want £1200 to fix this as the warranty company will not pay, as the part which is faulty is apparently not covered!!

    i have given the car back to the original dealer who we purchased the car from, and they are carrying out a diagnostic check!

    can i ask for a full refund?
    can they refuse to fix the problem or refund me?

  15. Stuart Masson

    Hi Alex. If the gearbox is not covered under the warranty, you’ll be required to pay for the cost yourself. It will depend on what the terms and conditions of the warranty document say. Aftermarket warranties are notoriously difficult to claim on, and the list of exclusions is usually significant.

    You are beyond the 30-day period to reject the car and also the 60-day period to demand repair by the selling dealer, so if it doesn’t fall under warranty then you are going to be up for the ocst of repairs yourself.

  16. Hi Stuart, would i not be covered under this legislation?

    Between 30 days and 6 months
    If a fault comes to light after 30 days but before 6 months have passed then you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. It is assumed in law that the fault was present at the time of purchase unless the seller can prove otherwise. During this period, unless you have agreed otherwise, the seller (dealer) has only one opportunity to repair (or replace) the faulty vehicle after which, if they fail to repair it, you are entitled to a refund.

  17. Stuart Masson

    Sorry, yes. Six months, not 60 days. So yes, you are still covered by this section of the Consumer Rights Act.

  18. Hi Stuart, this looks very helpful! I’ve just bought a car, test drove it and all seemed fine with no warning lights but 1 day after buying (to the hour) the engine light has come on and I now don’t feel confident in the car. It is a 03 car with 81K mileage, paid in full on debit card, will I be able to get a full refund?

  19. Hi stuart, I purchased a vehicle on friday, part exchanging my vehicle and paying £14,000 on my debit card. £250 had been knocked off the vehicle as a bit of paint had chipped on the rear quarter. I have got it home and done a further inspection and have noticed the car has undergone a full respray (poorly) the bottoms of the doors have orange peel all over them and are not smooth like they should be. There is also a discrepancy in the edging running along the vehicle which I wasn’t told at the time. Am I entitled to a refund? I would prefer a repair but just so I know where I stand. Thanks in advance

  20. Stuart Masson

    Hi Simon. It depends what’s actually wrong with the car. The engine light could mean there is a serious problem, or it could be something very minor.

  21. Would you recommend taking it to an independent garage, not the one I bought it from? If they found faults with the car would I be able to return the car to the dealer for a refund as it came with a new MOT with no advisories? I’m also thinking the suspension isn’t working correctly, I did test drive but it’s really only been obvious on bad roads and speed bumps that weren’t around where I tested

  22. Hi Stuart, i purchased a car in february, after driving away within 10 mins engine light came on i contacted dealership immediately, they had it back that day and informed us we need to book in for regeneration, this was done, we collected the car light came back on took back, this has happened 5 times car has even been sent to manufactures twice. light is back on along with engine malfunction warning. we have asked to return car but they are stating that as we let them look at fault we can’t get refund is this correct.
    Many thanks.

  23. Stuart Masson

    No, you should take it back to where you bought it from in the first instance. It may be something very simple, which would be ideal as there will be a lot of messing around trying to reject the car and then buying another one. If the dealer is not being co-operative, then you should go elsewhere for a second opinion.

    Saying the suspension “isn’t working correctly” is very vague and subjective. It’s impossible to know whether the car is supposed to drive that way or whether it is a fault – it could simply be that it doesn’t meet your expectations for ride and handling, but that isn’t a reason to reject the car.

  24. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sadie. You are still within the first six months, so you should be able to reject the car if the dealer has not been able to fix the problem. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are going to comply happily.

  25. Hi Stuart. I purchased a new Yeti in April this year. At 600 miles, but outside the first 30 days, I was aware of a noisy 2nd gear which seemed to be getting worse. The car was taken in on 17th May, with 1010 miles on the clock, to have the gearbox examined. I was told a week later that they are waiting to fit a part which should fix the problem, but if the problem still persists they will fit a replacement gearbox. Can I expect them to fit a new gearbox rather than a reconditioned one in view of the low mileage the car has covered? Many thanks.

  26. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ken. If it was a new car in April, I would be demanding a new gearbox rather than a reconditioned unit. It shouldn’t bother the dealer at all, as Škoda UK would be footing the bill.

  27. Hi Stuart,

    I bought a brand new Merc C220 Sport a year ago and have been plagued by problems which developed soon after I made the purchase. It’s a squeaking noise on slowing down and/or breaking.

    I have taken it in twice to be looked at but They have failed to rectify the problem, even telling me ‘it just needs a good run’ as if it is somehow my fault.

    It’s got 10k miles on the clock and is not fully operational.

    I’d like to take it back and have it replaced but not sure what my rights are. Maybe I have recourse as the car is not of merchantable quality?

    Or is there any other law I can cite in justifiably having it replaced?

    Your advice would be much appreciated as I’m paying £325 a month for a car that is not fully operational.

    Many thanks

    Scott

  28. Stuart Masson

    Hi Scott. You are outside the rejection periods for the Consumer Rights Act, so you would need to be taking the angle that the car was not fit for sale. This is difficult to win, and you would need to engage legal advice to tackle it (for a start, you’ve covered 10,000 miles in it, so it can’t be undriveable). The car is still under its New Car Warranty, so a Mercedes-Benz dealer should be able to replace any faulty parts easily enough as the factory is picking up the bill.

    A better bet would be to escalate your complaint through the dealership and potentially to Mercedes-Benz UK if you can’t get it properly sorted. For more information, have a read of our article about resolving a dispute with a car dealer.

  29. Hi Stuart, I purchased a 58 plate Nissan xtrail from a local Arnold Clark dealer on Thursday. I gave it a 10-15 mins visual inspection as best I could given that it had only just arrived and was needing a good clean. Just collected it yesterday, and noticed that my 5yr old could’ve cleaned it better! The scuffs haven’t been touched up as promised and now showing many more, some with rust to add to the mix. I also notice that it has been in a collision at the rear end, with a poor attempt to fix it. As I intend using it to tow, this is a concern to me. I have handed it back to the dealer while they contact their customer service team to see what they can do.
    My question is, am I eligible for a full refund due to the damage to the rear bumper?
    Thanks, David.

  30. Stuart Masson

    Hi David. Your right to reject will depend on the extent of the damage. If it is purely cosmetic and does not affect the function or safety of the car, it would be difficult to reject. If there is genuine structural damage to the vehicle, you would be much more likely to win the argument.

    Arnold Clark has a reputation for being difficult to deal with after a sale, so don’t expect it to be easy. Have a read of our article about resolving a dispute with a dealership.

  31. Hi Stuart. I bought a second hand golf 6 months ago. Within a week of having the car the clutch broke and it had to be recovered and repaired, this happened on a very busy Manchester motorway and was very dangerous. They fixed the car and returned it to me. Now 6 months later the accelerator stopped working, again on the motorway. I saw the aftersales manager yesterday and they gave me a courtesy car. I gave them the keys back and told them that after nearly dying ( twice) I have no faith in the car and no longer want it. Its a 3 year old Golf GTD and I paid £17,000 with dealer finance PCP. Am I able to walk away? I have asked that they replace it with a new one

  32. Stuart Masson

    You can’t simply walk away. If you are still within six months of purchase, you can demand that the car be fixed properly, and if it isn’t then you can reject the vehicle. You have had two separate problems, so you can’t so far say that the first repair has not worked. If you do want to try and reject the car, you will need to work with the finance company as the car belongs to them – not you.

    If the car is less than three years old, it would still be covered by its New Car Warranty. So check the date of first registration.

    You could also look at alleging that the car was not fit for sale. However, that is difficult to prove and you would need some good legal assistance if you want to go down that path (which will cost you a significant amount of money).

  33. Hi there

    We recently brought a new Dacia Logan. After 6 days of having a stiff tear down I managed to look at what could be the problem. I report straight to garage and many things were done for the car to be assessed. The garage are now stating that they believe we caused the faulty door after a 15 minute inspection (it def was there from new)

    Where do we stand. We have started proceeding to reject the car as they hadn’t offered us even a repair. What will happen now?

    Thanks!

    Beckie

  34. Stuart Masson

    Hi Beckie. I’m not sure from your description what the actual problem with the car is. It needs to be fairly significant to be able to reject the vehicle, otherwise it should be covered by your New Car Warranty.

    If you are trying to reject the car but the dealer refuses to comply, you will need to engage legal support to assist you.

  35. We recently bought a new car from a branch of a well known car dealership. When we arrived to pick the car up there was a number of chipped paint marks on the body which they said they would repair. Upon closer inspection once we arrived home it became clear that the car had sticky residue left on it from display stickers. After challenging the dealership they admitted that the car had in fact been one which they used for display purposes. As we were told by the dealership that the car would be a new model brought from Vauxhall and not the one which was on display on the day of purchase, can the dealership rightfully sell the car as new when it had actually been on display with many customers having been in and out of it?
    Can we reject this car for a brand new one?

  36. Stuart Masson

    A ‘new’ car is simply defined as one which has not previously been registered, so this car would still be considered new – even if it has been used for test drives (using a trade plate as it would not have been registered) or display purposes. Unless you have some written evidence where the dealership promised that they would supply a different car rather than the showroom one, you have no grounds to reject the vehicle.

    At most, you can hit them up for a proper valeting, since it sounds like they didn’t do the job properly before you picked it up.

  37. Hi Stuart
    How can I solve this problem,
    I purchased a car less than 2 weeks ago which was stated to be in full working order with everything working, with mot with no advisories, ect ect.
    On purchasing this car we done a part ex with our car an paid £300 towards the other one. Ours was sold with full history an paperwork in full working order.
    Since having this car we have found several faults that weren’t mentioned, we have had excuse after excuse for not having the Mot cert aswell (which we still haven’t been given) and there was several advisories on the Mot also which we have found out since. We have asked if he is willing to solve the issues an have been told he was coming to sort them several times to then ignore calls when the time arrives. So have had the problems fixed an paid for it our selves.
    He has since sold the car we part ex with this one an the person who purchased it has damaged it and he has had to refund them, so in respect to this we do not want a refund as we would be without a car or our old car back (as he’s broken it). Where do we stand with getting the repairs paid for by him? (refunded to us as we have already paid for them)
    He is a back street trader (but says he has a traders licence which I haven’t seen) does he have a right to ask for this car back now he has sold an broken the other one? And do we have a right to ask for money for the repairs we’ve had to pay for on his one ? He’s saying we haven’t got a leg to stand on because the car was less than 1000?

  38. Stuart Masson

    Hi Laura. Let’s work through your issues one at a time:
    – faults and advisories are two separate things. You can reject the vehicle if it has genuine faults which were present when you bought the car. MOT advisories are advance warnings that work will be required reasonably soon in the future. A trader is not required to fix an advisory before selling the vehicle, but they would have to fix an MOT failure.
    – Once you have sold your car as part-exchange, it is gone and you have no rights or responsibilities over it afterwards. He has sold it on and nothing after you hand it over to him is your problem. You would not be getting your old car back if you rejected the car; you wold be getting a refund of the sale price of the new car.
    – You can either reject the vehicle or demand it be repaired. You have 30 days from purchase to reject the vehicle, or up to six months to claim repairs. If the repair does not fix the fault, you can reject the vehicle even if it is after the 30-day window.
    – If you have already paid for repairs elsewhere, you are destined for a long battle to get him to pay for them. You need to go bak to the seller if you want to claim repairs under the Consumer Rights Act, or get his agreement to have it repaired elsewhere.
    – The price of the car is irrelevant. If he is a trader rather than a private seller, you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act.

  39. Hiya, sorry i couldnt figure out how to do own post. I brought a car friday 4 days ago, i checked for everything that i could think off. But didnt check the dashboard. The car sales place made me sign this piece of paper saying once i buy the car any problems are mine. Soon as i got off the industrial estate i was checking my speed after crawling about, and the speedo wasnt working… Its still not working and someone mentioned this new law. What can i do? Ive been trying to fox it myself but im upset that i brought a car with a problem they probly knew about which is why they got me to sign that paper. Will be greatful for a reply
    Robyn

  40. Hi Stuart,
    This is a weird problem that I’ve never heard of before. My wife has ordered a new car from a main dealership. The agreement has been signed and a deposit made. The dealers have acquired the vehicle and fitted it out to my wife’s specification, but now say that they cannot register it, and that the DVLA refuse to say why. Whenever we chase them, they just shrug their shoulders and say that it isn’t their fault. This has been going on for weeks. Any idea what might be the reason? Do we have a right to cancel?

  41. Stuart Masson

    Hi Robyn. Their piece of paper does not trump the law. Under the Consumer Rights Act, you can reject the car or have them fix the problem. A car without a functioning speedometer is not fit for sale.

  42. Stuart Masson

    Hi Colin. That does sound unusual, but presumably there is a reason why and the line that “the DVLA refuses to say why” sounds suspicious. The DVLA may be the most incompetent organisation on the planet, but they would at least give the dealership a reason for refusing to register the car. It sounds like you are not being told the whole truth.

    And yes, if the dealer cannot register the car then you should be able to cancel the contract and get your deposit back. I assume that they will try and dissuade you from this and get the issue resolved, but without knowing what the problem is I couldn’t guess as to what the likely outcome will be.

  43. Hi Stuart

    I’ve only paid a £1000 deposit for a car from used car dealership and signed the order form. Next morning 15hours after signing and paying the deposit I changed my mind because I found the same car from a different dealer £3000 cheaper so I called to cancel and asked if the deposit can be refunded before any prep took place for the car. No finance was going to be used and they gave me a 7-10 day delivery date. Now they won’t refund my 1,000 as I’ve purchased my new car… Anything I can do to retrieve this £1000??

  44. Stuart Masson

    Nope. Same as the last bloke just above, you have made a legally-binding commitment to buy one car, then decided to go and buy another car instead. There is no reason why the first dealer should refund your deposit.

  45. Hi Stuart,
    I brought a rather nice 2nd hand white mini a couple of days ago from a main dealer it is a year old but like new. The only thing is it smells really badly of smoke and it did when I viewed it in the garage but the salesman assured me that they would bomb it and the smell would completely go.
    When I paid for it and picked it up it had a very strong smell like air freshener trying to mask the smoke smell. So today just taken it back to have it bomb cleaned again but not happy with the smell. This does seem petty but I have paid a lot of money for the car.
    Can I return the car or does it have to be a proper fault ie brakes etc?

  46. Sophia here, hi there stuart,
    i brought an old used Honda accord with 85,000 on the clock nearly 2months ago.
    On the test drive the dealer was driving and the power cut out at a traffic light. i thought this odd but don’t know much about cars and the dealer said it was due to running on fumes as low fuel. topped up some fuel and it didn’t cut out again.
    I was concerned re the cut out but the dealer typically assured me that the car was fine and that if i continued to have problems they would take it back or fix the issue. i asked her to write it on the contract.
    i hadn’t noticed at the time but she didn’t write this agreement, all she wrote was that the car had cut out during test drive. The next day the car wouldn’t start at all. called the dealer they came and jump started the car and said it was as old battery not used for awhile..
    for the next few weeks the car would intermittently not start first time and i noticed crunching noise and difficulty changing gear on occasion, i just figured i was getting use to a different gear box even though never had this issue in 12 years of driving. on a couple of occasions i noticed a odd buying smell but i wasn’t sure as the episodes didn’t last long if it was coming from he engine or outside in the environment.
    Then last Thursday i was fearful whilst driving as the power cut out while i was driving three times in motion and twice at lights with difficulty restarting and lack of control of steering when cut out. Naturally i automatically stopped driving the car from this point due to extreme safety and roadworthy concerns. the next day i text the dealer to report the issue. it was bank holiday i didn’t get a response so waited until post bank holiday, Tuesday. many calls not answered eventually replied by text to say bring the car in and they would look at it. delighted i went to my car to take it to them and the car won’t start or won’t stay on cuts out immediately also there is now no tension in the clutch pedal meaning unable to put her in gear. tried to contact the dealer again that Tuesday with no luck. yesterday i got hold of the other lady that works at the garage, explained the situation and she said leave it with her shed get back to me. still hadn’t heard anything by today Thursday lunch time so i called and called eventually she text saying they do not have recovery facilities and i had to get the car to them. I argued that i can drive the car. what rights do i have? i have asked if they are prepared to share the cost of hire a recovery vehicle but i am still awaiting them to agree. The issue i have is i brought the car to facility me being able to work around the country, currently i am out of work and don’t have much money so spending close to £100 just to get the car back to their dealership seems unfair but is this just the way it is? If they are not willing to help get the car to be seen, can i start the rejection process without taking the car to them? If i do, is it then their responsibility to get the car to a garage or still mine? As the car is so will they easily be able to claim wear and tear especially in terms of the clutch? and in terms of the power cutting out, as she wrote that it happened on the paperwork but she didn’t mention my concerns of it or her verbal promise of what it is, by it being written on the paper does that mean its shows as me executing that fault even though i dint as such and only did on her saying it wasn’t a car fault and due to petrol? please help! that you, Sophia.

  47. Stuart Masson

    Hi Elizabeth. Unfortunately, the smell of cigarette smoke is really hard to get out of a car, so an air freshener bomb is simply not going to do the job. Often the carpets need to be completely replaced to get rid of most of the smell, which is obviously a considerable expense. Even then, the seats and other materials will have absorbed the smoke for the last year and that is unlikely to completely go away anytime soon.

    I don’t know whether a court would agree that it is a significant fault with the car if you are considering rejecting the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act. You are more likely to (eventually succeed) if you claim to the dealer that you have been mis-sold and were promised that the smell would be removed before you took delivery of the vehicle. The fact that they have used two air freshener bombs and have still not been able to get rid of the smell proves that they were aware of the problem before you picked the car up, but if they haven’t provided a written promise that the smell would be removed then it could be difficult to get the dealer to agree to give you a refund.

    Have a read of our article about how to handle a dispute with a dealer, as you may be in for a long struggle to get them to take the car back.

  48. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sophia. The dealer might not be very co-operative, but you should be able to use the Consumer Rights Act to get them to resolve this. You are past the 30-day window to reject the vehicle as a first option, but you have six months from purchase to demand that the fault(s) be rectified. If they can’t fix the fault, then you are entitled to a refund.

    As for who is responsible for paying for tow trucks and so on, I don’t think the law gives any real guidance. My guess would be that you would have to pay for it now, but if you are rejecting the car because the repair failed to fix the problem then you could probably claim for the cost of the tow truck as well. I would suggest visiting legalbeagles.info, which is an excellent source for consumer legal advice (and I’m not a lawyer!).

  49. Hi Stuart, Thanks for your reply. I too found the dealer’s excuse rather suspicious. As it turned out, they contacted my wife yesterday to say that she could collect the vehicle, which she duly did.

    Their story about the delay had mysteriously changed into something about the brakes, which didn’t exactly fill me with faith in them! For her own reasons, my wife didn’t challenge them on this. Anyway, she has her new car and is happy with it, so all’s well that ends well. Thanks again.

  50. thanks for your reply. there are two main issue i can figure with the car one th problem of the power cutting out rendering the car useless.. and the issue that the clutch appears to have gone whilst I’ve not been using the car in the last week. Do you think they could claim the clutch going as wear an tear despite it being less than 2months since i brought the car? secondly if they claim the clutch is due to my driving can i sill reject the car for the power cutting out issues? What if they claim there is no problem with the power? thanks again

  51. Stuart Masson

    Hmmm. Maybe they just didn’t want to register it in May and made an excuse to hold it over until June because it suited their numbers better…

  52. Stuart Masson

    I would also suggest that you write to the dealership and demand to know what the problem was – especially if they are now saying it was something to do with the brakes (which has absolutely nothing to do with the DVLA, obviously). If you do not get a satisfactory answer, write to the manufacturer’s UK head office and complain about the whole saga, suggesting that you are concerned about possible safety implications if there was a problem with the brakes. That should at least get you some answers.

  53. Stuart Masson

    Well the sales contract clearly states that there was a problem with the car on the test drive, so they can’t argue that the problem wasn’t there when you bought it. I would stick with that argument and not get distracted by other issues. If you engage a lawyer to represent you, they are going to hold a very firm line, so you should do the same.

    You don’t know how much the clutch is going to cost to fix; it could just need a new cable, which is cheap as chips for a dealer to buy and fit, so don’t let them bring that into play.

  54. Hello Stuart. I bought a uses car from Evans Halshaw went and signed all the paperwork on 20 May 2016. However due to all the fuss and carry on with the garage before this date i didnt get chance to inspect inside when i signed for it nor the week before as it was locked. However i did put enough petrol (i did check it was as i always buy petrol cars) in to get me through til payday. I called the garage to say i wasnt happy with inside and went to show the used car manager the next day who said he would book it in to get he scratches sorted. On 27 May 2016 i went and filled the car up with petrol – same place and got about 5minutes down the road to which it broke down. I had to call the breakdown people out and ended up getting towed to the garage – the battery got replaced as they thought that was the problem however it wasnt. They said it was contaminated fuel. They cleaned the tank, flushed it and replaced the fuel. I then picked the car up 2 June 2016. They have assured me it shouldnt happen again.
    I did raise the fact i wasnt happy and considering it had been health checked twice i didnt feel confident and wanted them to take the car back. They told me that if it was a mechanical issue they would so they are not. Thet also said they have not billed me for any work and gave me a loan car – to which i was grateful for.
    I am a single mum and have 2 small boys and do not feel comfortable with the car considering i bought on finance too and paid £3000 deposit please can you advise me what to do.
    Many thanks
    Clair

  55. Stuart Masson

    Hi Clair. If the fuel was contaminated (which can happen), then your issue should be with the petrol station, not the dealership. If that is the cause of the problem, then the dealership has gone above and beyond their obligations by cleaning and flushing the tank, replacing your fuel and giving you a free loan car – if you had accidentally put diesel in the tank and needed that service done, it would cost hundreds of pounds.

    You don’t appear to have a case for rejecting the vehicle unless it turns out that the breakdown was a vehicle fault rather than contaminated fuel.

  56. Stuart,

    Thank you very much for getting back to me, I did read most of the comments previous and the article, I am sorry I think I was so annoyed with the dealership and wanted to know what to do as I had bought a used car from them 4 years ago and had no issues with the service I got from them, plus I prefer Nissan cars so stuck with them more for loyalty more than anything (probably why they have looked after me I suppose too in a way) However this time round everything just felt rushed and their lack of communication with me has been disheartening to say the least, but I will certainly do more homework next time round.

    Thank you again for your help
    Clair

  57. Hi Stuart, thank you for putting this article up. I hope you can help me with a problem my partner has. He is on a PCP agreement with a 13 plate car from a leasing company called Hippo. It has a 3 month warranty on it. He received the car on 20th March 2016. The first day he drove it, it came up with a service alarm on the screen saying it needed new oil, Hippo said don’t worry it was serviced just reset the computer our team obviously forgot to do that.
    It broke down 11th May. The screen said it was overheating and the engine cut out but the water level and oil were fine. Got it to the Vauxhall garage, they plugged it in, said the whole computer needed resetting so they did it. At the same time they said that was very rare and it definitely won’t happen again the computer should be fine.
    He broke down again with the same problem on 23rd May – engine cut out and smelt like burning. He got it taken to a local garage this time, at Hippo’s request as they prefer them than main dealers. The mechanic said the computer says its fine but actually the problem is a lot more serious but he can’t even imagine what it could be. E.g. its probably something with the engine but it would take hours of labour and basically pulling the car apart to work out why the computer says its fine but its basically cutting out for no reason. All the mechanic did this time was take the fuel injectors out have a look at them then put them back in, and the car started – by fluke more than anything else. His advice was for the car to be returned as it was not fit for purpose.
    We are just waiting on a statement from the mechanic to Hippo to say that it isn’t fixed and not fit for purpose. My partner really wants to swap the car, but since receiving such poor customer after care from Hippo wants to return the car and cut ties with Hippo all together (which I think is going to be far too difficult). If Hippo reject the mechanic’s professional advice that it is not fixed, is there anything he can do under the consumer rights act? the warranty runs out on 21st June and he’s concerned they’re trying to waste time so they aren’t responsible for it.
    Thanks
    Steph

  58. Stuart Masson

    Hi Steph. The warranty is probably provided by a third party, so check who is actually providing the warranty and discuss with them how they would like you to have the car inspected and repaired so that you can claim. As long as you report the fault within the three-month period, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to fix it.

    In terms of rejecting the vehicle, you are outside the 30-day window for rejecting the car without having to accept an offer of repairing the fault. However, you can insist that the fault is repaired within the first six months, and if the fault is not fixed then you can return the vehicle. You need to work with the finance company on this, as it is legally their car and not yours. Hippo is probably not the actual finance company or the seller of the vehicle, and is more likely the broker in the middle. You will need to speak with the seller of the vehicle and the company providing the finance.

  59. Hi,
    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
    My son in law purchased a 2nd hand bmw series 3 from a dealership on Tuesday 31st May, at the time of purchase he did mention that the garage put a massive push on him to purchase this car and not really look at any others. Which he thought was strange but he liked the car.
    On Thursday 2nd July the engine management light came on and would not go off. He has taken it to a local garage who have done diagnostics on the car and reported that the catalytic converter needs replacing hence the warning light. And since after filling with petrol the petrol tank also has a leak in it ( again when he brought the car he did mention to the garage why was the car so low on fuel and they said it was his responsibility to fill it up)

    He has rang the garage and they have said they need their mechanic to look at the car and can only refund monies Monday -Friday but they will not refund any deposit?
    Do you think he is entitled to a full refund under he right to reject act?

    The garage are currently being quite aggressive on the phone and have blocked his number so he has to ring on a different number in order to speak to them

  60. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tina. Firstly, it’s perfectly normal for dealers to sell cars with almost no fuel in the tank. Simple penny-pinching, and most of them do it – especially used car sites.

    Secondly, it’s not surprising that they only refund Mondays-Fridays as accounts people don’t usually work at weekends, only the sales staff and maybe some of the service team.

    Thirdly, a catalytic converter fault and a fuel leak should definitely qualify for rejecting the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act. He will need to formally reject the vehicle in writing and request acknowledgement in writing – a phone conversation carries no legal weight whatsoever. He would be entitled to a full refund, including deposit.

  61. Hi Stuart
    some advise needed please
    I bought a Dacia from a local Renault dealer (Dacia retail) on the 31 March this year when ever I have the air con on I can hear a rattle
    I booked it in on the 5th May to get in into the dealer on the 10th May they kept in 5 days and changed the Air Con compressor but upon taking it back I could still hear the noise I again took it back on Monday 16th & they agreed they too could hear something but wanted to compare it the same model to see if it is the car or just the norm since then I have not heard a word from them

    where do I stand
    thank you Stu Boyle

  62. Hi I purchased a car from stone acre on finance 8 days ago I noticed some paint work issues when purchasing and I still bought the vehicle but I have since noticed my passenger side door does not lock from the inside the catch must be broke. The car is not central lock either so I have to work round the car to lock from the outside when locking. Also it doesn’t go in to reverse gear sometimes are these things covered by the consumer rights as if they are can I reject the vehicle and give it them back ?

  63. Hi Stuart
    I recently purchased a vauxhall Astra VXR 2015 ex demo car from Manchester and I live in London 6 weeks ago today from day one of driving the car when changing gear from 1st to 2nd the car violently jolts when leting go of the clutch with that their is a rattle you can hear coming from the under the gear stick whilst In the car.

    A friend of mine who is ver knowledgable about mechanics of cars who also to very recent owned a VXR himself told me the issue is down to a noisy release bearing and I should take it back to get fixed.

    Now from day one I realised the fault but thought it was just me being paranoid and also coming from a diesel car after 2 years I thought it was just me but as the weeks passed slowly realised it really was not right I originally called the dealer regarding it for them to say their isn’t nothing they can really do and the car had all its checks so basically they was just trying to say it wasn’t like that when they gave to me this was at the 2 week mark.

    I called vauxhall yesterday explaing the situation and was told by my local dealer that even know my car has 2 years manufacturers warranty if they’ve find that any of the components I.e clutch release bearing of slave cylinder are causing issues due to wear and tear I would be charged for any of those parts to be replaced and also charged £500 alone just for them to reassemble the gear box as it would need removing to check these parts.

    I’m literally lost what to do I got the vehicle with the warranty and being only a year old think I was going to have no issues and if I did it could be resolved and 6 weeks in I’m being told I’m going to have to fork out money.

    As far as I know I’m too late hand the vehicle back and to be honest that exactly what I want to do now due to the situation I love the car but I shouldn’t be experiencing hurdles like this so early especially ones that involve spending money so soon.

    I have contacted vauxhall customer care and they have told me they will call the dealer and see what they say but obviously they are going to say it was fine when it left them regardless or not and customer care will contact me Monday

    But I’m just worried about being in this mess with a expensive car in a long contract so soon and I can’t even hand it back.

    What do you suggest I do and do you think this is a way I can get round this and possibly hand the vehicle back.

    Apologies for the essay

    Gaz

  64. Stuart Masson

    Hi Stuart. If the problem has not been fixed then you will need to keep hassling the dealer until it is done properly. The tendency will be to assume that if you’re not complaining then it’s all sorted. For more information, have a read of our article about resolving a dispute with a dealer.

  65. Stuart Masson

    Hi Kimberley. The paintwork issue would probably not be considered significant enough to warrant rejecting the vehicle, and the central locking issue is debatable (the door can still be locked, you just don’t have the convenience of working central locking). However the problem with the gearbox is probably enough to warrant rejecting the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act.

  66. Stuart Masson

    Hi Gaz. It sounds like they are trying to give you a scare story to put you off making a warranty claim, as the gearbox certainly shouldn’t behave that way. The problem is likely to be that you have continued to drive the vehicle for six weeks, so the dealer can always argue that it was fine when you took delivery and you have caused the problem yourself. Under the Consumer Rights Act, to reject the vehicle the problem has to have been present when you took delivery, and you say that you called them “as the weeks passed”. You have also continued to drive the vehicle, so it makes it a more difficult case to prove.

    You are past the 30-day automatic right to reject, so you would have to have the selling dealer attempt to fix the gearbox. If they can’t fix it, you can reject the car – but you still have to be able to show that the problem was present when you bought the vehicle and you did not raise the issue when you first noticed it (“from day one”).

    It may be a better bet to try and have the gearbox fixed under warranty instead of trying to reject the vehicle. The car will still be under its new car warranty, so you should be able to get any Vauxhall dealer to repair it under warranty without having to go back to Manchester.

  67. I’m about to buy a certified 2015 Nissan Xterra with 10,300 miles on it. They want me to sign papers saying they’re not responsible for the repairs. But, I can buy a bumper to bumper extended warranty from them. I read Oklahoma is a flooded area. So, if the CarFax shows no water damage and it has some can I get my money back. The main concern it’s 4,500 under blue book. I hate for 4500 to cost me double or triple.

  68. Stuart Masson

    Hi Renee. We are a UK site, so unfortunately we can’t help you with US issues.

  69. Hi Stuart,
    Please could you give me some advice? My husband recently bought a 1992 Dodge Ram 250 from a garage for £3000. Through the same garage, he then got the van resprayed, windows tinted, converted to LPG and lined (ready to later convert the van to a camper), serviced and MOT’d – in total paying the garage £8700 (for all the work and the van itself). He wasn’t given any receipts at any point. Within 2 days of having the van, it broke down. My husband told the garage, who tried to blame my husband. Without receipts, does the garage have any obligation to rectify these faults? And in the absence of receipts, does my husband have any rights as a consumer? Is he protected by the law above? Thanks, Sara

  70. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sara. He may not have receipts, but he should have a sales contract. It would be unusual for a business to do all that additional work without some kind of paperwork.

    If he doesn’t actually have any paperwork, it may make it more difficult to have any faults rectified but not impossible. There are presumably bank records showing money being transferred from your husband’s account to the dealership – unless he paid cash, in which case he has even less opportunity to have it sorted.

    However, if the dealership has acknowledged selling him the vehicle, then he should be able to force them to rectify any faults present. You may need the help of a lawyer to see it through, though.

  71. Hey again Stuart. i got advice re my honda accord a few days ago..

    I now feel the lady or her mechanic is totally trying to fob me off. i paid to have the car taken to them first thing Friday morning. on Saturday she told me they had the car on the ramp. Saturday afternoon text twice asking for update (she has insisted on communication only via text). at nearly 7pm sat she text to say still looking at it update you tomorrow. then on Sunday when i text at 5.2p0pm to ask i get a reply that says:
    “the engine was flooded, it has now started and isn’t cutting out or loosing power. will check it again tomorrow but at the moment there are no issue” to this i replied basically saying i am no mechanic but i thought a flooded engine would be expected due to repeated failed starts prior to them having the car and that a flooded engine is a consequence of a fault not the fault itself. to that i received no response. Today i got a text after lunch saying: the car has been running fine on the rolling road no issue, starts and stops as it should and is ready for collection.

    she made no reference to my questioning that the flooding wasn’t the initial fault, no comment on the slipping of gears and other issues.. what is you opinion. i feel they have olly dress the obvious and not actually looked for the fault or they found it and are hiding it..

    what options from here do i have. the problems i experienced prior were intermittent. i am not confident they have fixed this car, and i don’t feel confident that it is safe and truly roadworthy.

    sophia

  72. Stuart Masson

    If they have not fixed the fault, then you can reject the car within the first six months. But you are not going to know this until you get it back and drive it. It may all be absolutely fine.

    If it is not fine, and they want to oppose you rejecting the vehicle, you would need to seek professional legal advice.

  73. sorry its me again with the honda accord. They drove the car back to me last night at 10pm. when they returned the car they said it had no faults and had driven perfectly the 40mins to me.i went 30mins down motorway to see my partner in the car. On the way how i lost the ability to get the car into gear on a motorway slip road (3,5hours after i received the car back) and was left broken down there. the highway ppl came, the gave me no choice but for them to tow the car which i couldn’t afford to pay. so they dropped me home (high wycombe) and took the car to there place in slough. The emergency tow is apparently £180 and then an additional £20 /day the car is there. Where di i stand in that fee? can i now reject the car in writing without taking the car back to them? If so who would have to pay the recovery? I’m really infuriated, but received i didn’t end up in a crash!

  74. Hi Stuart,

    Just found this thread. I bought a second hand Vauxhall Astra 04 plate (140k miles) from a car garage because I wanted a cheap car that could handle the motorways better than my tiny Kia Picanto. I’d been assured by a mechanic friend that Astra’s a reliable and not uncommon to do 250k miles + so I thought for £600 this would see me fit for a year or so.

    I’ve had the car just under 8 weeks and the other day without notice it completely overheated on the motorway and smoke started coming from the engine. I called the breakdown company to tow me home and they checked the engine. They confirmed that the head gasket had totally gone and it would cost more than the cars worth to fix so suggested I scrap it. As you can imagine it don’t really want to throw £600 down the drain. I’ve been asking around and I’ve learnt that a there is a product you can buy that you can add to the coolant system that will prolong a blown head gasket for a few months and I am suspecting that this may have been used prior to me buying the car. I haven’t had the car properly looked at but I have called CA and they advised me to send them a letter recorded delivery asking for a repair or refund which I have.

    I checked the original agreement yesterday and noticed that I’d signed to say the garage had given me the option to check the car for faults prior to buying and I was satisfied with it’s condition. Would this piece of paper stop me making a claim against them?

  75. Stuart Masson

    You should have grounds to reject the vehicle as the repair clearly has not worked. As for the costs of recovering the vehicle, I’m not sure and you would need to seek legal advice. Start with the excellent consumer legal advice forum at legalbeagles.info, but you may need to engage your own lawyer at your own expense.

  76. Stuart Masson

    Hi Alex. No, their form does not override the Consumer Rights Act. You can write to demand the vehicle be repaired, as you are beyond the first 30 days but less than six months. If the repair does not fix the fault, you can then reject the vehicle.

  77. my wife and I purchased a Range Rover in Oct 15 and paid cash for the car. It came with a 12m warranty. SInce then in June the engine overheated and blew the gaskett. We now find out the warranty was never registered with the company. Do I have a legal argument against the dealer of the car?

  78. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jon. Yes, if the car was advertised as being sold with a 12-month warranty. You will probably need to engage the services of a lawyer to assist you if you hope to succeed.

  79. Hi I bought a car 6 months ago to the day. The starter motor went on it yesterday, I phoned up the garage to be told that there was nothing they could do about it. Is this something that would have been present at the point of sale? Are the obliged to fix the car, or is it my responsibility?

  80. Hi Stuart, I would appreciate your advice since I am unsure on how to go about this.. We just bought a used Honra CRV 2006. When I checked the car there was a funny smell as if the car was damped or had a dead rodent inside… I made note of this and the seller guaranteed that it was because they had recently cleaned the car and the windows were kept closed because of the weather but he said that the smell would go away as soon as we left the windows open, etc.

    A week has passed and we tried several products – from active charcoal to powder on the seats and wash – but the smell persisted. Yesterday I took the car back to the dealer. He disagreed that the smell was bad and tried to convince that it was a normal “used car smell”. After some discussion he agreed to keep the car overnight and do a “smell bomb” and a proper wash on the carpets and matts. He said the replaced the mats and even showed me some pictures that according to him proved that he even cleaned under the car flooring.

    The car smelled good but I could still feel that odd smell underneath. I told him so and that I would wait a few days for the perfume to wear off and see if his cleaning would actually fix the issue. It has being 3 days after their deep cleaning and the smell is back again.

    I know that if I go back there they will again disagree with me. I use this car for camping and sleep inside, etc and the smell is just unbearable.

    Do I have enough grounds to return the car and what would I do if the seller is resistant to taking it back?

    many many thanks!

    Murilo Lessa

  81. Hello, hoping this is going to be a straightforward for you. I bought a brand new Fiat 500 upon which we had a couple of options fitted (Bi-xenons and navigation) which we took delivery of on 9th April 16. On 9th May the engine started misfiring and the ‘malfunction indicator light (MIL)’ engine light came on (276 miles on the clock.) We took the car back to the dealer on Friday 13th May which was the earliest that they could look at it and didn’t drive it in between. They had it for 8 days and fitted a new ‘uni air’ module which then caused another unspecified leak which delayed things further. We got it back on 21st May and it seemed OK.

    Then on 1st June it started misfiring badly and the MIL light came on again, this time flashing mean serious problem. The car was only firing on one of its two cylinders at this point. We got Fiat Assistance to tow the car back to the dealer that afternoon (now with a huge 422 miles on the clock) and raised a complaint with the dealer, Fiat and FCA the Fiat finance company. Fiat now sent an engineer to Ancaster Fiat to see if they could find out the problem. They have said that the thermostat was leaking onto the ECU wiring loom causing the problem and it needs a new ECU, wiring loom, thermostat and cover. The car is still in there now, the parts are due in today but it’s going to take several days to fit them indicating that it is a massive job.

    We’ve had other issues with the dealer over their failure to offer a courtesy car both times it’s been in although after Fiat intervened and told them off, they have now provided us with a advertisement covered lesser model Fiat 500 to drive about in.

    At this point I am of the rock solid opinion that I never want to see our car again. It has broken down twice, will have been taken apart and rebuilt twice by the local dealer with less than 500 miles on the clock. To me this is not a new car but rather a rebuilt one so I want a brand new one out of the factory. Fiat, (who to be fair have been helpful) have said that only FCA can entertain our request for a brand new car and I am waiting a call back from them.

    I read that the dealers are entitled to one attempt to fix a new car which they’ve had so am I now within my rights to demand a brand new one? Over 25% of the time we’ve owned the car it’s been in for repairs whilst it depreciates in value at its fastest rate.

    Thanks

  82. Stuart Masson

    Hi Keeley. This is unlikely to be claimable under the Consumer Rights Act. The starter motor was presumably working perfectly for six months and has only now failed. If the car does not have a valid warranty, then you are likely to have to pay for any repair yourself.

  83. Stuart Masson

    Hi Murilo. Yes, you should have sufficient grounds to reject the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act, but if you do not have a clear paper trail which records your concern over the smell and the dealer’s actions towards fixing it, then it may be more difficult to make it happen. At least the car has been back and the dealership has performed work on the vehicle, which means that they have acknowledged there is an issue.

    If the dealer does not agree to your rejection, you will have to take legal action against them. This will mean engaging your own legal support.

  84. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tim. Yes, it sounds like you are definitely entitled to reject this vehicle. The dealer is the party obliged to replace the vehicle (since they sold it), but you will need to work with the finance company to make it happen, as the car belongs to them and not to you until it is fully paid for.

  85. hi.

    my partner bought a car on finance 8 weeks ago and the car was mot’d 8 weeks ago as well. On sunday it started making a squealing noise and he took it back to garage he bought it from and they said the clutch was broken and even though the car is under warranty for 15 months they said my partner will have to pay 50% of the repair fee as the clutch is a consumable. We think that he shouldnt have to pay anything as it was only mot’d 8 weeks ago and passed plus a clutch should last a lot longer than 8 weeks.

    can you advise on what to do please.

  86. Stuart Masson

    Hi Melanie. To make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act, the problem has to have been present at time of purchase. This is difficult to prove on a wear-and-tear item; some drivers can manage to burn out a clutch very quickly if they are are not very adept at changing gear. Even allowing for the fact that the car passed an MOT inspection two months ago, it is entirely possible the clutch could have failed since then.

    You could try to fight the dealer and demand that the clutch be repaired for free under the Consumer Rights Act, but if they refuse to do so then you will have to get a lawyer involved to take legal action against them to try and force the issue. Even if this works, it is still likely to take a long time and cost you money. If you can’t prove the clutch was faulty at time of purchase, you may be better off taking the offer of paying 50% of the bill.

  87. i purchased an automatic chrysler grand voyager from jjg surrey ltd on 6/05/16. it was advertised as having 35000 miles on the clock, with rear parking sensors and dvd. the car appeared to be in good condition but the dealer said he didnt have a dvd disk for us to check the player but assured us that if there was any problem at all with the car he would sort it. However within 60 miles of leaving the garage and in slow moving traffic the car developed a fault, the engine warning light came on and it lost traction. had this occurred on the motorway it could have been a disaster for myself, my passenger and other road users.
    i caller hte garage and the salesman insisted i had knocked it out of gear, i have driven automatics for over 20 years and i know i didnt knock the gear shift.
    i was instructed to move it through tiptronic gear shift to reset the gear box, which it appeared to do. In less than 10 miles the same problem occurred again.
    i contacted the garage again, was told to go through the tiptronic system again and take it to a loal garage as the car needed to be put on a diagnostic system to have the computer reset to clear the fault
    this showed 2 faults and the computer was cleared and reset. 5 miles later this happened again so went back to the garage who again put it on the diagnostic computer and the same faults showed up.
    the garage suggested i phone the dealer and have the car put on a recognised chrysler diagnostic computer as they specialise in chrysler cars and their systems would show more in-depth readings
    i phoned the dealer and he agreed for this to be done and he would pay for it .. the chrysler garage report showed 4 faults and they said the car needed a replacement gearbox and advised me not to drive the car on the public highway as it was unsafe.
    i phoned the dealer and told him i was rejecting the car as it was faulty and not as advertised (i had found out when i got home and reversed into my drive , there were no reverse sensors and on closer inspection no dvd monitor either.)
    he was abusive and unhelpful. said i had drove the car in first and it was my fault, he even even accused me of smashing up the car. his closing remarks were i say what goes on not you and i`ll see you in court in 6 months!
    i am at a loss as what to do. i have sent him emails, recorded letters, which he refuses to accept and standard class letters all of which he does not respond to.
    i have had a letter from lawgistics saying their client says i drove the car on the motorway for 60 miles in first gear and caused the damage myself and am not entitled to a refund at this juncture.
    i did not drive the car at high speeds and was not on the motorway as the dealer states when the car broke down i was trvelling in slow moving traffic past stonehenge which he was well aware of when i phoned him.
    i feel that under the 2015 consumer rights act i am entitled to regect the car, claim a full refund for the £10,960.00 for the car and the £72.00 for the diagnostic test which ht edealer agreed to pay for.
    at present the car is in my drive and has not been driven since the diagnostic tests. i have emailed and posted to both the dealer and his solicitors , (lawgistics) proof of the diagnostic reports which clearly show the faults, photos of the car proving i havent smashed it up as the dealer claimed and a photo of the mileage.
    please can you advise me where to go from here.

  88. Hi Stuart,

    I have a very serious incident I need advice on. I purchased a car from a local dealer on 4th April 2016. On my log book the last service was at 82k miles. Upon write off (4th July) the vehicle was approximately 83k miles. Upon purchase (done via a finance company) the dealer sent to a local garage and performed a MOT.
    To the incident now. I was driving along and my car started smoking quite drastically. From the exhaust and from the bonnet. The smell of burning was almost instant and the heat rapidly increased. I pulled over at my first opportunity and the front of the car was on fire. The help to block off the road I received aside, the whole car was in flames within seconds and the bonnet exploded. Luckily nobody was hurt, I escaped unscathed although a few moments later would have been a different matter.
    This is currently being dealt with by my insurance company, and luckily I have GAP RTI In place as well. With this being a potentially life threatening or losing situation, where do I stand on a legal ground? I am confident my insurance will cover the costs, however who is liable for this? And am I able to claim anything, refund or even compensation wise? As you can probably appreciate, this is a pretty alien situation to be in so I would very much appreciate any advice you can offer on the matter. I had the vehicle in my possession for 2 months exactly when this event took place.
    Many thanks

  89. Stuart Masson

    The laws on the Consumer Rights Act do not make distinction between different kinds of fault or provide for compensation of any sort. You would need to seek professional legal advice on the matter, and a solicitor would be able to advise if there are any legal avenues available to cover your situation.

    Your insurance should cover your financial loss, but as to whether you can claim any fault under warranty for the vehicle will depend on the T&Cs of any warranty contract you have.

    I assume that the car is now a burned-out shell, so tracing the cause of the fire on a used car which has covered 83,000 miles – and then trying to establish fault or liability – will probably be difficult.

  90. Stuart Masson

    Hi John. If a dealer refuses to accept your rejection of the vehicle, you will need to engage your own solicitors to fight your case. He can claim anything he likes to his solicitors, just as you can do the same to yours. If the two parties cannot come to a settlement and you take the matter to court, it will be up to a judge to decide which of you is telling the truth (or more of the truth).

    You appear to have taken the correct course of action so far, but that doesn’t mean that a dealer will play nicely and it looks like this one isn’t. Obviously ‘going legal’ entails significant costs and does not guarantee that you will win your case – and even if you do, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be made good for your costs.

  91. Stuart, I recently purchased a used Ferrari from an approved dealer and had to make a 1,000 mile round to collect the vehicle which included 2 ferry journey’s and two nights hotel accommodation. My expenses including fuel were in the region of £700. I rejected the car within 48 hours of returning home due to numerous significant faults. Am I entitled to be reimbursed for the travel costs incurred in addition to any other compensation for the inconvenience?

  92. My partner bought a car sold as seen and we test drove it new of all its minor scratches and faults and was checked to a vey good standard so we purchased the car and drove home the next day we drove 5 miles to a garden centre and on the way back the car basically blew up ( im currently pregnant and have a week till baby arrives hence why we bought a new car for the baby. The car went from normal to top revs in seconds my partner took out the keys the revs kept going car stopped within seconds the car was full of smoke you couldn’t see anything we had to evacuate the car and run as as as fast as we could as we thought the car was going to blow up we managed to get away from the car and the revs were still going and smoke filled the air you couldn’t see the road or car five, thankfully cars stopped to help and the ambulance fire engine and police all came to help the fire department after ten minutes of investigating couldn’t give us an exact problem but had a special fire mechanic with them that claimed the car wasn’t going to blow up but the radiator had blown and oil had come out everywhere they then helped us move the car. Police took a statement and asked if we was ok and I was checked over by the medical team as the trauma of the shock of it all could of sent me into labour or affected me and the baby thankfully we was all sad and the car didn’t set on fire) we got in touch with the private dealers we bought it off and we told them what had happened and that we what’re out money back they said they would get back to us. The next day they arranged to come see the car and talk my step dads a mechanic so we left the car with him in his garage and met there they said they couldn’t give us our money back because it was sold as seen but did offer to help pay for damage repair however I’m terrified to get back in the car and so far the problem isn’t found as we have to get a new radiator and injectors just to be able to see what other problems there could be they don’t seem to understand how much this is all going to cost and don’t seem like they’re going to part with much money what can we do about this situation ? If the engines blown then that’s more than the car cost to buy there not going to replace that. Need help because my partner thinks we don’t have a leg to stand on but I disagree.

  93. Hi Stuart,

    I bought a car yesterday from a private trader and was happy with everything, when I started the car today, an engine management light came up on the dashboard. The ad was listed as ‘sold as seen’ and I signed an AA contract which he’d printed out for us to sign. Where do I stand? Thanks x

  94. Stuart Masson

    Hi Bernard. No, there is no provision for anything in the Act beyond a full refund for the vehicle. For anything else, you would have to negotiate with the dealer.

  95. Stuart Masson

    Hi Shannon. You said the seller was a “private dealer”. What do you mean? If it was a private sale by an individual, there’s nothing legally you can do unless you want to take a civil action against them (which would be difficult to win). If it was a dealer, then you should have cause to reject the vehicle – assuming that the engine blowing up was a fault with the car rather than anything you had done to cause it.

  96. Thanks I will write them a letter asking for a repair mentioning the consumer rights act.

  97. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sarah. By “private trader”, do you mean an independent garage or a private individual? If it is a trader, you are covered under the Consumer Rights Act. If it was a private individual, you are on your own unless you want to bring legal action against the seller.

  98. Hi Stuart

    I have a vauxhall zafira recall kinda related question for you ?

    We bought our car on finance in Sept 2015 ….. the eml came on within a few months and we’ve had persistent oil problems. I know proving being sold a faulty car will prove almost impossible however now with this car being on its 3rd recall and currently ‘unfit for purpose’ is there anything we can do ?

    We’re still paying finance. …… the dealer we got it from seemed a bit shady but I didn’t twig until after ! Dealer was unhappy about dropping price, we didn’t notice a drop in price ? When I collected car it had been egged ! Literally! And there’s 2 forecourts in separate areas for this one car sales name however where we got it from was advertised as shirley car sales ……. the sticker and paperwork were from parkway cars…… ??? I’m not sure how relevant that would be but now with the third recall and a trip to Cornwall in 6 weeks I feel it would be unsafe to travel some 6 hours away on the chance it might not burst into flames ! We have 7 children altogether and my husband will also be travelling in a different vehicle. But neither vehicle can carry 9 people! I’m being given mixed answers about how to resolve this ……. to be honest I’d rather drive a chappy beat up old banger if I really had to

    Any advice would gladly be appreciated to a very frantic worried mum x

  99. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jayne. The oil problems are likely to be entirely unrelated to the “Zafira bursting into flames” recall issue. Any Vauxhall dealer should be able to arrange the necessary recall work in fairly short order. If you have any concerns about that issue, you can call your nearest Vauxhall dealer or Vauxhall head office.

    The point about the dealership operating two different sites with two different names is not unusual. Dealership A may have bought out Dealership B at some point, and they now operate as one company with two sites. Half the stock would nominally belong to each site, but both sites can sell any of the vehicles.

    You have had the car for nine months and have continued to drive it throughout the whole period, so you can’t claim it is unfit for purpose. You are beyond the point of being able to reject the car because they have failed to address the ‘persistent oil problems’, so you can either spend the money necessary to fix it or you sell the car and settle the finance.

  100. Hi Stuart,
    I purchased a car from a dealership in February. Wishing days i called and emailed them with a list of faults, including a water leak and intermittently the sat nav not working. They said all faults were covered by the warranty and to book into my local dealership. The car has been there three times now and i have been told the water leak and sat nav are not covered by the warranty. The dealership has, in the past 2 weeks, offered to assess the car if i drive the car back to them (Bristol to London). I have stated i want to reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act several times as the faults were reported within 30 days of purchase and were likely to be present at purchase. Further more, i was given mileage and HPI certificates which i was told had been completed ahead of my purchase and verified the HPI status and correct mileage of the car. I have since discovered (on receipt of the V5) that these were issued ahead of the last owner taking ownership of the car. The dealer has refused to acknowledge this. I feel the faults and mileage/HPI certificates make the car not of satisfactory quality and other than as described. Do i still have the right to reject? The dealers ADR scheme does not cover claims to the value of my car. I have complained to an alternative scheme (with the dealers consent) but the dealer has no replied to them. What do ido next. Ihave considered the money claim on line system.

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