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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70414
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I purchased a 5 year old vehicle from a used car dealership.

Resolved Question:

Hi, I purchased a 5 year old vehicle from a used car dealership. Within 10 days it developed a fault and has now been with the dealership for 5 weeks for repair. Despite giving the dealership two deadlines they have failed to repair it for both. Additionally, they advised that it had one owner from new but upon receipt of the V5 document, there have been 2 previous owners. I have rejected the vehicle twice and despite them initially saying that if its not repaired in time for my holiday they will give me a money back they have declined to refund me stating that they are repairing it and I will get it back when its ready. They have provided me with a substitute vehicle which is not the point here. As I wish to pursue the refund should I return the loan vehicle?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How much did you pay for it please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
£7500 cash (via debit card)
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
This is just one single repair ?
But it is taking a very long period of time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I had the car for 5 days when it lost power and would not accelerate. I took it back to the dealer who booked it into a garage. They advised they could not find a fault and I received the car back the following day. A couple of days later the same thing happened so I took it back. They booked it in with another garage and advised that it may be the 'stop start function' - the car doesn't have it!. They were not sure what was wrong. After several days they booked it in with the main dealer (Citroen) who advised it was the fuel pump and it would cost £600+ to repair. A couple of days later this was authorized. Citroen then came back and said that it wasn't the fuel pump but a problem with water in the fuse box and it would cost another £1500 to repair. I then got stuck in a dispute with the dealer and Citroen which ended up in Citroen removing the fuel pump and the car going back to the dealer who were going to book this in with their own specialist. This was 3 weeks ago. I was going on holiday for 2 weeks and was guaranteed that this would be repaired by my return. When I called the dealer on Monday 14th they were still awaiting to order the part. I called again on the 17th and was told the car would not be ready until next Wednesday 23rd. This is not acceptable as in the meantime I discovered the discrepancy in number of previous owners. I do not know what the problem is as it keeps changing. The delays appear to have been due to the owners of the garage being on holiday so unable to authorize any work and then the mechanics have been on holiday. These delays have been totally unacceptable, I have lost all faith and just want my money returned.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It is not that simple I'm afraid.
So this is the second repair of the same fault?
How long have they had it this time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Its still the same repair. They have had the car since the 11th August
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Have you had a courtesy car throughout?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ive had a car for about 4 weeks.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
It is very difficult to reject secondhand cars. Caselaw says they have to be pretty much falling apart before that is an option. The SGA allows for a person who has purchased a vehicle that is not ‘fit for purpose’ to demand either a refund, exchange or repair unless the merchant can show that one or the other disposal is disproportionately expensive for them. That is the caveat upon which they always rely I’m afraid and usually it works with second hand cars.
Therefore there is a duty to give them a reasonable attempt to repair any fault. In fairness, they have had the vehicle a very long time but they will say that you have had a courtesy car and so are not suffering any unreasonable inconvenience.
There is case law that suggests that a general rule is that a merchant should be allowed three attempts at repair before your rights to a refund are triggered again. You are almost there already since they have tried twice.
You could also argue that there was a misrepresentation as the vehicle had more owners than you were told but realistically that would only attract the diminution value between the price you paid and the sum the vehicle was worth had the true number of owners been known. That said, they might not want to be challenged upon it and might cave in.
There is also the issue that they are in breach of your deadlines. You could argue that you made time of the essence in the contract and therefore the breach triggers are right to a repair but it would be irresponsible of me to tell you that this is your best chance I’m afraid.
Sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
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