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Ask F E Smith Your Own Question

F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have an issue with a vehicle I bought a few months ago,

Customer Question

Good morning,
I have an issue with a vehicle I bought a few months ago, which has a structural fault. Can you guys assist or do I need to talk to a specific subject matter expert?
Kind regards,
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Are you in Scotland?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

I may have responded to you by accident.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I'm in Scotland and the vehicle manufacturer is in England.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Are you in a position to help me out?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

ok sorry I can only assist with English law and by being in Scotland there may be issues I cannot help with so I will opt out and another expert who can help will get in touch eventually. Thanks

Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

I will try to assist you with this.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies to both England, Wales and Scotland. There are certain provisions with regard to letting agents in the Act which do not apply to Scotland which do not apply here. And one small part applies to Scotland only but otherwise, the whole statutory provision applies to both.

Goods have to be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

This is a car and hence it is fit for the purpose of being a car.

It is not of satisfactory quality and that is a breach of section 9 of the Act.

The act is here

if you can tell me the nature of the fault and whether it’s possible to put it right and if so, how much, I can tell you how to deal with that.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok, here goes:I bought a Range Rover on a 65 plate, 2 months ago, from a garage. The car was previously owned for the first 4 months since registration, so I'm the second owner.
It seems and has been confirmed by Landrover that the structural beams in the roof have become separated from the roof panel, resulting in the roof now dented like a ripple effect. When I open and close a window at above 50 miles per hour it make a loud banging noise and this acts like a vacuum, sucking the roof in around 2 inches or so from it's natural shape. From the outside, looking over the roof it's clearly dented the roof and caused a ripple effect.
Landrover body shop have assessed this and agreed that the roof is damaged through a structural issue and will need to be cut off and replaced.!
As you can agree I'm sure, you shouldn't spend £65,000 pounds on a vehicle, 8 months old and expect to be told the whole roof needs to be cut off and replaced, not to mention the safety and the integrity of the vehicle structure. This is unacceptable in my mind, so I'm looking for some advice with my consumer rights.
The only thing I've said to them is that I'm unhappy with the decision to replace the roof, so I'm currently waiting for them to come back with the official decision. ( which, I've been told, they will want to replace it)
Regardless of the value of the vehicle, it's the principle of the matter, plus the fact that the vehicle is only 8 months old, it's still under full manufacturers warranty and the only option so far, is to cut the roof off! I'm struggling to accept this, from a satisfaction point of view, as well and the depreciation in value.
I guess my question is, legally, if I don't accept a new roof, what are my choices? My thoughts are, I want an equivalent vehicle to replace it, or a full refund on what I paid for it in the first place.Can you please provide me with some advise on my options, or who I need to speak to, in case they come back to me with one option, of replacing the roof!Kind regards,Gary..
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

I would not disagree with you at all. I can understand exactly how you feel.

If this was in the first 30 days, you could reject the goods/vehicle and get a full refund under the Consumer Rights Act. After 30 days your remedy is damages (another word for compensation). Compensation would be either the cost of putting the vehicle right or sum of money which could be up to the value of the car if it is not possible to put the vehicle right.

It is worthwhile mentioning that even though your statutory right within the first 30 days (I know this is after 30 days) is to reject the goods and get your money back, garages in particular do not normally roll over without a fight and refund £65,000 in full.

If you purchased the car on hire purchase, then liability for this rests not only with the garage but also with the hire purchase company.

For a claim brought within the first 6 months after purchase there is a presumption that the goods were faulty at the time of purchase. After six months, the onus is on you to prove that the goods were faulty at the time of purchase.

To bring a successful claim to recover the cost of the vehicle, if the garage will not pay up and simply want to repair it, you would have to prove using expert evidence that the integrity of the vehicle has been compromised and that regardless of how much work they do on it, it will never be as good as a new and repaired vehicle. Without that evidence, your claim for a full refund will fail.

I understand how annoyed and frustrated you are particularly in view of the value of the car but from a legal point of view it is the legal principle which is important not the amount of money which is in issue.

The first thing you need to get is the engineers report to confirm that the integrity of the roof has been compromised and that no amount of work can ever put that back. Once you have that, you can then move forward but if the garage will still not refund your money or replace the car, you will have no alternative but to go to court. At this stage, because you have only had the car for 2 months, I think you have a reasonable chance of getting a straight swap although that comes down to the garage. If they won’t, then your remedy will only be available through court although they may settle out of court to avoid incurring legal costs.

I cannot see how they can be anything other than liable, it’s just the amount of liability which is in issue. Incidentally, liability rests with the retail garage and any hire purchase company, not with the manufacturer.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


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