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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47877
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I purchaed a new caravan in May 2014 and now a crack, some

Customer Question

I purchaed a new caravan in May 2014 and now a crack, some 19" long has appeared in the roof panel. I have done some research and found that this is a well documented fault that the manufacturer has know about. They have agreed to supply a new panel free of charge but the dealer I purchased the caravan from requires me to pay £780 for fitting it. Because I did not have a yearly service by them, the warrenty is invalidated. As this problem is one of manufacture and not a service issued, is this charge by the dealer correct?
Thanking you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. So as far as you are concerned this issue was present at the time you bought the caravan?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As a manufacturing fault, yes although the crack was not present at the time of purchase
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank for your patience. When a consumer makes a purchase from a business seller, they will have certain 'statutory' rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (it has now been replaced but it was the legislation which applied at the time of sale). The law states that the goods must be:

· of satisfactory quality – they must not be faulty or damaged when you receive them;

· as described – they must match any description given to you at the time of purchase; and

· fit for purpose – they should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for,

If they do not match the above requirements, you will have certain legal remedies against the seller. Your rights will not be against the manufacturer as they will only be responsible if there was a manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee with the goods. Also note that there is no protection against fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage, faults that were pointed out at the time of sale or if you change your mind and no longer want the goods.

If the goods do not meet the criteria mentioned above, you will have the following rights:

1. Reject them and request a refund - this is only possible if the rejection occurs within 30 days of purchase.

2. Ask for a repair or replacement – if you are too late to reject the goods you can ask the seller for a repair or replacement.

So even if you did not take up the warranty they offered, under law you still have the right to get any issues repaired free of charge, as long as they were issues which were present at the time of purchase. Whilst the crack may not have been there at the time, it was due to a manufacturing fault, i.e. an inherent defect, so it would have been considered present at the time of purchase.

A useful rule is that if a fault appears within the first 6 months after purchase, the law assumes that they did not meet the statutory requirements at the time of sale. If the retailer disagrees, it is for them to prove that this was not the case. However, if the fault occurs more than 6 months after purchase, it would be down to the consumer to prove that they did not meet the statutory requirements set out above at the time of sale. You can use the information you have found to support this argument.

You can quote the applicable rights you have under the Sale of Goods Act as mentioned above. If they appear reluctant to assist, write to them one more time, warn them that they have 7 days to comply and inform them that if they fail to meet their legal obligations, you will have no choice but to report them to Trading Standards and start legal proceedings to seek compensation for your losses.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have should they refuse to assist, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. If no resolution can be reached then in the end you may have to get someone else to conduct the repairs and pursue the seller for these costs. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your prompt and sound advice which I will definitely follow. Much appreciated.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome, all the best