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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48770
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Please can you assist me. I bought a 2011 Vauxhall Meriva

Customer Question

Please can you assist me .
I bought a 2011 Vauxhall Meriva car from a Vauxhall Main dealer in 2014 as an approved used Vauxhall . It was apparently a " mobility car " as originally registered by them .
I have now had it c 18 months and last week the steering failed . It is the power steering pump apparently that is totally defective and needs replacing . I have been back to the Vauxhall dealer , they have contacted Vauxhall HO and told me that the cost will be £1600.00 to replace with a " new unit " . I asked about recondititoned units and they have said that will be £1300.00 . I simply can not afford this . I have been on line and talked to other owners of the same model and it seems Vauxhall are well aware of this defect and many cars have developed this fault both under initial warranty and very soon after . It seems to be an " inherent defect " in this make / model . However Vauxhall have never recalled the model to deal with it , simply dealing with each case as it comes up ( and replacing free of charge when under warranty ) . My car has done only 28k miles , has been regularly serviced at the correct intervals ( initially by Vauxhall then when out of their warranty by a reputable local garage ) . I have complained that this simply should not have happened to such a young car with low mileage , especially regarding the history of this " problem " . Initially the Dealership said they might " contribute " to the cost but now have said I must pay 100% and they / Vauxhall take no responsibility . Is it possible for me to " reject " the vehicle as I bought pre 01/10/15 , under the Sale of Goods Act - as this " inherent " ( and much repeating defect on this model ) has only just come to my attention . Alternatively might I have any rights under the Consumer Rights Act ?? I am happy to keep the car if they would repair it at their own cost - even the cheaper less desirable reconditioned unit would be something . The Dealership and Vauxhall HO are being very dismissive of me and as a single parent ( looking after my daughter and her 3 children ) I am really struggling to cope with this situation . Thank you so much in advance . Sharon Dodimead 07970-340947
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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there Sharon. Based on what you have described and the experience you have had so far with the vehicle, please can you tell me what the ideal outcome would be for you in this situation?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben ,I would be happy if Vauxhall would simply repair my defective steering at no charge to me .
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded 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.

Many thanks for your patience. When a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a dealer they will have certain rights under consumer laws.

First of all, the following business practices are deemed unfair if they prompted you to make a decision to buy the car in question:

· Giving false information about the vehicle or deceiving the buyer through false advertising

· Giving insufficient information to the buyer, for example leaving out important information about the condition of the car

Failure to adhere to these rules will be unlawful and may even amount to a criminal offence so if you believe that the dealer acted in contravention of these rules you can bring this up with them when you contact them about this.

Your other rights are under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 state that when you buy an item from a business seller it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match its description. If the car does not satisfy any of these, the dealer will be responsible.

They will only be liable for faults that were present at the time the vehicle was sold, even if they become apparent later on. However, they will not be liable for fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage or any issues that were brought to the buyer’s attention before the sale. The age and value of the vehicle will also be relevant and the expectations of older vehicles will certainly be lower.

If the vehicle does not meet the above requirements, the buyer can reject the vehicle and return it to the dealer requesting a refund. However, this will need to be done within the first month after purchase.

If the buyer is too late to reject the vehicle, they could instead request that it is repaired or replaced without causing them significant inconvenience. The dealer may only reject a repair or replacement if it is impossible or disproportionate in the circumstances. If that happens, you are entitled to get it repaired elsewhere and claim back the repair costs, although there is an obvious risk in doing so as there is no guarantee in getting any of the money back.

If the dealer refuses to resolve this issue or accept any liability, you could take legal action against them. However, before going down that route you should try and resolve the issue directly with them by sending them a formal letter specifying how you want this matter resolved and giving them 7 days to respond. Advise them that if they fail to get back to you or deal with this in a satisfactory manner, you will have no other option but to report them to Trading Standards and issue legal proceedings to seek compensation.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should you decide to take this matter further, 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 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive advice with regard to my situation. I will now compile a 7 day letter but would be grateful for the "more detailed advice" which you suggested you may have in order to help my case.Many thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. 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.