What is an “inherent fault” when trying to get money back from car dealer

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    • #142249 Reply
      AvatarMike Pelss

      2009 Vauxhall Insignia showing 95,000 miles from a motor trader. The Auto Trader ad described the car as being in “Excellent condition”. Had a short test drive as the car had very little fuel the car was bought.

      1/2/2018 Around 30 miles down the road the car started to overheat. I was by then on a motorway. I stopped a number of times and limped into a garage and found the header tank empty. Put coolant home and got home.

      4/2/2018 Th dealer took the car back to be repaired. They had the car for 7 days. Picked up the car late evening. On the way home the low coolant warning came on.

      Got home and the header tank was below the minimum level.

      A friend suggested it might just be the rad cap so I bought a new one.

      During the next couple of days during the very short journeys, I noticed the coolant level was falling.

      I contacted the dealer who said he had no time to deal with this and that I could take the car to any garage and reclaim the cost under the WMS warranty supplied.

      For diagnostics, I went to a Vauxhall main dealer who diagnosed probable head gasket issue possible new cylinder head.

      I contacted the supplying dealer and again they referred me to the warranty company. However, the warranty only covered up to £500 and the estimate for the work was over half the value of the car. he said this was between me and the warranty company.

      I contacted WMS and gave them the background. I was told that I should have the work done and submit the invoice but that in view of the background of the car it might be determined to be a pre-existing fault or excluded due to overheating.

      Contacted the dealer on the 21/2/2018 and they refused saying there was no fault and that it was the problem of the warranty company.

      I SORNED the car and found the lowest cost parking I could (£5 per day) on my way to park the vehicle the brake servo stopped working and nearly crashed a couple of times. Started court proceedings.

      We were ordered by the court to appoint a joint sole expert. I had to supply 3 names. The dealer rejected all 3 and nominated another assessor. I wanted to get this expedited so went with their nomination.

      On the report, the engineer the “expert” stated the car was roadworthy even though he agreed the Servo was defective, later in writing he agreed that he did not know that a defective servo was an MOT fail.

      He did nothing much other than a visual inspection and concluded the coolant level was below minimum but could not identify the cause.

      The garage has made offers to settle: they buy the car back firstly I would lose £2,200 2nd offer I would lose £1,990 and now their full and final would leave me court fees, storage and loss on the car out of pocket to around £1,600.

      Their defence is that I cannot show that there is an inherent fault. Is that a viable defence for them considering the car (if it were road legal) goes from topped up with coolant to low level warning in around 35 -50 miles?

    • #143103 Reply
      Stuart MassonStuart Masson

      Hi Mike. You are well past your initial six months of ownership, so if you want to reject the car as being faulty then the onus is on you to prove that the car was faulty when you bought it.

      Proving something to the satisfaction of a court is difficult, regardless of how convinced you may be of the dealer’s fault. All the dealer needs to do is show that the car had a thorough pre-delivery inspection that showed no faults and it’s back to you to prove otherwise.

      In theory, you could have damaged the car five minutes after leaving the dealership – and it’s up to you to prove otherwise. If you want to pursue the matter beyond the dealer’s most recent offer, you probably need to get yourself a lawyer to advise you.

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