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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9784
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I purchased a motorised quad bike from a UK supplier. The

Customer Question

Good afternoon. I purchased a motorised quad bike from a UK supplier. The first bike was repaired twice and almost caught fire and was replaced. The replacement had a gear box problem and a carburetor problem which have both been replaced and now another carburetor problem. We have quite a few emails that we have sent the trader. We asked for a refund as we feel it is not fit for purpose and faulty. He refused. We contacted Citizens Advice and sent him a letter explaining the problems and again asked him for a refund under the consumer act 2015. I have just received an email refusing a refund but offering to repair. How do I stand on this?
Thank you
Carl Leach
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

Hello - were these bikes new or used and how long did you have it before it went wrong and same with second one please?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
The bikes were new and purchased 30th May 2017. The first bike caught fire in 3 days and again a day later after repair. The second quad was delivered about 10 weeks ago and broke down with a broken gear box within 3 weeks. Although the second quad was delivered with faulty indicators.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

The relevant legislation here is the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

People very often get Satisfactory Quality and Fitness for Purpose mixed up although there can be an overlap.

This is a quad. You can sit on it and presumably ride around on it so it’s fit for purpose. If you had bought it to tow a plough rather than just ride round on, and it isn’t strong enough, then it’s not fit for purpose. It may be a perfectly good quad (I appreciate it isn’t) but just not fit for purpose.

If it keeps breaking down however and you bought it to ride around on, it’s fit for purpose but not of satisfactory quality. However don’t get bogged down on the technicalities.

The legal situation is that under the Act you are entitled to reject the goods within the first 30 days for a substantial fault.

Now, having said that, being entitled to a refund and actually getting it out of the retailer (the retailer is liable here) are two different things altogether if they walk beatifically rollover, take the item back, and refund you.

I don’t know whether you paid any part of the purchase price and credit card (even part of the purchase price such as a deposit is enough to cover the whole transaction) or whether it was on finance but if you did then you have the protection of Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act which puts liability onto the credit provider along with the merchant.

You are now outside the 30 day right to reject and you have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace the goods. The retailer chooses which option. If the attempt at repairing the item doesn’t work, then you can claim a refund or a price reduction depending on whether you want to keep the item and resolve the issue yourself or whether you just want to get rid and get your money back.

The retailer has no right to keep trying to repair the items indefinitely. Any further attempts at repair are at your discretion.

You should now tell the retailer in writing that he’s had multiple attempts at repairing the item and clearly further attempts are going to be short lived or futile. But you now formally reject the goods and that you want a full refund. He is entitled to make allowance for the length of time that you’ve had the vehicle after the first 30 days.

As I said, actually being entitled to reject the goods and get a refund and getting the money out of the retailer are often two different things altogether and if the retailer refuses, then you are faced with issuing Small Claims Court proceedings which you can do quickly and easily here www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

a court will then decide the issue for you. The only problem is that the court process is not particularly quick but there is no way of speeding that up if the retailer decides just to be difficult.

There is one of the things that you can do if you feel it’s possible and it’s not just poor equipment, and that is to get it repaired somewhere else and take the retailer to court for cost of the repair.

.Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello. I have written to the trader and explained exactly as you stated in your previous message. He has no replied stating he replaced the original vehicle, in good faith. He is now stating the original faults could have Been caused by our driving or a collision. He is insisting we send the quad back to him so he can decide if he is going to refund us. My problem with that is he will then have the vehicle and the money and I have nothing. Can he insist on us returning the vehicle before he agrees or pays refund or can I hold on to it until I have either payment or confirmation that he is going to pay?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 14 days ago.

I’m afraid that the words “good faith” mean nothing in English law. I can’t see how the carburettor problem could have been caused by driving or a collision.

My suggestion would be to tell him that you will agree to return the vehicle to him for inspection provided he agrees to return it to you on demand because if he says he will and then he doesn’t, you can then make an emergency application to court for an injunction (and legal costs) to compel him to deliver it back to you and you can do that on an emergency basis whereas suing him for money is going to take some months.