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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have rejected a second hand car as the removable roof leaked

Resolved Question:

I have rejected a second hand car as the removable roof leaked and returned it to the dealer to reject it. They told me they have a legal obligation to try to fix it. They refitted the roof and told me there was no fault. When it next rained it leaked very badly and so we returned the car again putting in writing we wanted to reject the car and did not want it repaired.
They have since driven the car to another garage without our permission and got the roof repaired even though we told them we did not want it repaired. They have now said they are putting it in secure storage and will charge us £30 a day until we pick it up.
We called the police as they have driven it without our consent and are waiting for them to look into this further, however the police said they cannot force us to pick it up however the dealer is still going ahead with it.
Our two areas of law we would look to state in court are:
1. Bowes v J Richardson & Son Rugby County Court, 28 January 2004.
The Sale of Goods Act was applied in reverse, when considering whether a seller has accepted a buyer's rejection of goods. The Defendant had carried out repairs without Mr Bowes’ authority. In doing this, they had acted in a manner inconsistent with Mr Bowes' ownership, thereby accepting that the car had been rejected. They were bound by their acceptance of Mr Bowes’ rejection, even if he had not in fact been entitled to reject the car
This is clearly the case as we have written to you countless times tell you we did not want the car repaired.
2. Clegg v Olle Andersson, 2003
This is relevant as they have admitted, in writing, that they sold us a car with a fault and was therefore of unsatisfactory quality. We retain the right to reject it as the sale of the jeep in this state constituted a breach of the original purchase contract.
The dealer is refusing to speak to an independent mediation company and we have now reached a dead end in trying to get our money back outside of court. The only thing they have offered is £11,000 but this would still lose us £12,200.
We bought this on a Debit Card and so are trying to use the new Chargeback service and will see where this gets us.
My questions are:
1. Have they driven it without my consent as we have told them we did not want it repaired – the theft act states they must believe they have a legal right to do so
2. Are they allowed to get the car repaired against my wishes – they have not tried to charge us but we have no idea what they have done to it
3. Do they have a right to repair it (I know there is a court case where they were given three chances - however we believe they have already accepted the rejection)
3. Are they allowed to hold us liable for the storage as we have a legitimate complaint
4. Is the small claims court now £15,000 as we have been told by Trading Standards.
5. Can you only claim back 70% of your fees if it goes to county court
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
1. Have they driven it without my consent as we have told them we did not want it repaired – the theft act states they must believe they have a legal right to do so
It is not covered by the Theft Act. They must have an intention to permanently deprive you of the vehicle, they did not, they simply drove it to being repaired.
2. Are they allowed to get the car repaired against my wishes – they have not tried to charge us but we have no idea what they have done to it
If you have rejected it then no. Rejection is just that, you do not want the vehicle.
3. Do they have a right to repair it (I know there is a court case where they were given three chances - however we believe they have already accepted the rejection)
You have a right to repair or reject, it is up to you wish you want to do. If you have given them a chance to repair and it failed, then you generally can only ask for further repairs. If you want to reject that is done straight away. If you rejected on the first case then they can not repair.
3. Are they allowed to hold us liable for the storage as we have a legitimate complaint
No. It is unreasonable unless you have agreed to storage costs.
4. Is the small claims court now £15,000 as we have been told by Trading Standards.
No, it is £10,000.
5. Can you only claim back 70% of your fees if it goes to county court
You can't claim back any legal fees if you have lawyers in a small claim. Court fees you can claim back in full but costs are at the discretion of the Court. If the claim is over £10,000 then costs are subject to assessment at the end of a trial Typically the Judge reduces costs by around 30% or so.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

In regards ***** ***** repir / reject - when we returned it they said there was no fault it was just a badly fitted roof. I allowed them to refit the roof as they were sure this was the reason it leaked and after spraying a hose on it it appeared it was the problem.The roof seal had actually gone and so they did not repair what we rejected it for in the end. Can we still reject it?

For the theft act it is the part that coveres joy riding not actual theft. Taking without consent. I believe they have driven my car with no legal reason as they need to believe they have a right to drive it to not have my express permission. We expressly told them not to get it repaired so they have no legal right to drive it. Would this not be classed as joy riding as surley they cannot just drive a car when they want to?

And finally in regards ***** ***** case I mentioned, as they have undertaken unauthorised repairs to the car does this mean they have legally accepted the rejection?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I think the fact you accepted a repair means you are in difficulty in rejecting it now - you should have rejected it outright first of all. It may be that the Court says you allowed a repair and therefore it should only now be repaired.
Theft - the Police will consider this a civl dispute and wont get involved.
Repairs - if you allowed them to repair, then its a repair and too late to reject. If you did not allow any repair and they did, then you can still reject.
Does that help?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes thanks - one final question. We put in writing that we wanted to reject the car when we first returned it. However they insisted that it was not faulty and it was only the roof that was fitted badly. They said it was their legal right. Would refitting a roof count as a repair? We took it back after that first time as it didnt look like it leaked.

We then rejected it again and they have undertaken additional repair work where they have actually had a roof specialist do the work. We told them we did not want the work done aso does this not mean they have accepted the rejection as per Bowes v J Richardson & Son Rugby County Court, 28 January 2004.

Would it be up to the court to decide if the refitting of the roof (which as it is a removable hard top) counrt as a repair?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes I think roof is a repair. If they said you did not have a choice and they MUST repair I think you could argue you can still reject.
It would be up to the Court to decide whether the roof was counted as repair, but if its a small claim you dont need to worry about legal costs.
Does that help?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your help - the problem is the car cost £12,200 so it would be outside small claims. They have said they have repaired the leak so we are trying to decide what to do. We do not want the car but they are saying they are putting it in storage tomorrow and charging us £30 a day. Even though they cant do legally we will not be able to get our money or the car back without going to court.

If we go to county court and the fees are £10,000 - if we only get 70% back it would cost us £3,000 and we would be better just taking the car back and reselling it or taking their offer of £11,000.

We seem to be unable to do anything without it costing us a great deal of money

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Indeed. Sadly you never get 100% of the fees back in the County Court.
You could limit the claim to £10,000 and then any loss is only going to be £2,200. But I see you would lose £1000 if you took their offer.
If their offer is not on the basis of full and final settlement you could accept it and sue for the £1000 balance.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

no that's great thanks

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Good luck with this.
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Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi

I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?

If you have not done so already might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.

If you need more help please click reply.

Alex