19 July 2018 at 9:37 am #134818
Good morning. I am hoping somebody may be able to advise me as I really don’t know where else to turn at the moment.
Brief backstory (nothing else after this is brief!!) – I got hit from behind and my car was written off. I had a hire car and without warning received a settlement cheque on a Saturday. I was going on holiday on the Wednesday and was told that hire car was obviously being taken off me so I had to take Tuesday off work and had one day to find a new car. I decided to get car finance with Zuto and found a car on their website through their list of recommended traders and so went to view it on Tuesday.
Car garage is in Enfield so I drove from my hometown about 40 miles away and took it for a test drive. Didn’t like the way it drove but whilst I was at the garage I noticed another BMW they had. It was a year older (61 plate) but £400 more expensive. Test drove it, liked it, asked if it had all the same spec as the previous car I’d test driven including parking sensors and was told yes. I also confirmed this in the office and was told yes. Paid a deposit, filled out the paperwork and then had to rush home to get the finance paperwork completed and scanned across before I left for the airport at 5am.
I came home and got a cab directly from Stansted airport to the car garage. Paid my final contribution to it (I paid £2000 and finance was for £6695) and drove it home. As I drove it home I saw a warning light on which I couldn’t work out what it was for. The next morning when I pressed the ignition switch once I saw about a vertical headlight failure and as I reversed i also noticed there were no parking sensors. Got into work and emailed the garage and said that I was unhappy as there was a warning light and despite me asking twice and being told that there were sensors, there were definitely not. I got a response saying ‘Let me know when you can come in to check the bulb and the parking sensors for you’.
We arranged a date in a couple of weeks as I work full time and Enfield isn’t that easy to pop to. In the next 14 days I had a warning come up about coolant so took it to Halfords and they said it was bone dry. Bought a new one and topped it up and then two days later had the same warning come up telling me it was dangerous to drive with the lack of coolant. On top of this the engine started smoking, the passenger side window wouldn’t do up properly (kept going up and down and glass wouldn’t lie flat when it was fully down) and all the controls on the steering wheel stopped working.
I had had enough by this time and told them that due to all the problems and being mis-sold the car as having parking sensors I wanted to reject the car. They didn’t bother contacting me so I called them to check they had received my email and I was told to take in in the next day which I did (having to take the day off work). The man at the garage was awful to me, intimidating, rude and even saying “You’re not dumping it back on us!”. He told me he was going to get it inspected at an independent garage and i asked who and was told ‘it’s none of your business’. I was shaken and left after that and called the finance company to explain the situation and also called Zuto and told them how one of their ‘trusted’ garages had behaved. This was 15 days after i had picked up the car.
I heard nothing and went into work on Monday to find an email disputing everything, their technicians have checked it and saying they’ve fixed the issues but didn’t mention anything about the engine smoking etc. They said the headlight and steering wheel problem had been due it the functions being switched off on the settings. They said the coolant was full and fine. And then they said that I had simply driven 1,000 miles in the car. In two weeks! I wrote back and said that I didn’t believe it was an unbiased check as they had told me it was going to be independent but admitted that their technicians had looked at it and also rubbished their claim that I had driven 1,000 miles. I asked about the warnings regarding the coolant (I took a photo which was time and date stamped) and suggesting that there is clearly an issue with either a coolant leak or some kind of electrical problem if warnings are coming up for nothing.
They also said in their email that the car doesn’t come with sensors and I must have noticed that in the test drive. Obviously I wasn’t reversing and I’ve never had parking sensors in a car so how would I know? I would obviously believe them!
So anyway, it’s then gone to finance company and it’s now been 6wks and nothing has been done. The garage still have the car, I’m still having the pay the monthly finance charge of £200 and car tax for the car and I’m still sitting here waiting. The finance company, Startline, have done absolutely nothing. I got a phone call yesterday (only the second time I’ve heard from them in 6wks, I’ve been having to call them every week!) asking where the car is and about doing an independent inspection on it. Unfortunately, she called me two weeks ago and asked me the same question so clearly they haven’t done one thing in that two weeks and haven’t even got a clue what is going on!
I made the point that the garage have had the car for 6wks, what would the point of an inspection be as they have had ample time to fix any issues to say that the car is roadworthy? Irregardless, I said to Startline that I have been mis-sold the car as having sensors and they are saying I don’t have proof but doesn’t the reply email saying they will check the headlight and the sensors constitute as agreement that they’d told me it had sensors? Surely they would have disputed it there and then otherwise??
I’ve been told the process will take 8wks and then I’ll find out if Startline will support my rejection but with only 2wks left on the clock I know they are not going to support me, they are clearly geared to themselves and the garage as don’t want to lose the interest on my finance. I don’t know what to do next. Is it worth going to financial ombudsman when they make their decision or just paying to go to small claims court??
NB. I’ve had to buy a car on my credit card in the meantime (£1,400 on a Renault Clio) as I’m a single parent and have to take my daughter to school every day and also commute to work so I’m now in a massive financial black hole and the stress is killing me. I really have no idea what to do here. Please, any advice would be so welcome!
Thanks in advance and sorry for the story, I didn’t know how to simplify it!!!
23 July 2018 at 9:12 am #135245
Hi Caroline. Given the amount of correspondence back and forth between you, the dealer and the finance company, you really need some professional legal advice to work through everything with you and see where you stand.
I doubt you will be able to win the parking sensor argument. It doesn’t matter what a salesperson told you verbally, as they will be able to swear on a stack of bibles that they never said that. Stick to what you can prove, based on written and photographic evidence.