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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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my daughter purchased a used bmw from a motor dealer at the

Customer Question

my daughter purchased a used bmw from a motor dealer at the beginning of this year,just before the expiry(2 days )of a 3-month warranty the vehicle was returned(via an AA towtruck)to the dealer.......this was 8 weeks ago and since then has been returned five more times to rectify starting/electrical faults......the latest fault(failed starter motor)has been described as unconnected with previous faults and thereby not covered by their warranty(to have the car off road for 2 months out of a five month ownership doesn't point to a reliable vehicle)......after requesting a refund of purchase price the dealership has offered a trade-in price which is £2000 less than the original purchase price....surely this car is not fit for purpose due to time off the road etc.?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

How many times has it been back for the same fault?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

4 times for same(connected)faults,this is now the 5th time of the vehicle being returned but with this time(according to dealer)of an unconnected fault

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Why type of faults?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

initial fault-car would not start/steering locked(this took six weeks to rectify)
subsequent faults/warning lights(airbags/plus other warning lights)
glove box fell apart and gear stick could be pulled out and spun round,dents to exterior bodywork,central locking failure and finally starting motor failure.......the first 4 visits the dealership has admitted were connected thereby admitting liability but are saying the starter motor is not connected thereby saying the warranty is no longer daughter has lost total confidence in the reliability of this car and questions its resale value

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Have the dealership conducted the repairs themselves?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, the dealership where the car was purchased does not hold a BMW franchise so all work has been passed to either a specialised auto electrician in the first instance and then on to her local BMW dealership who are now awaiting collection/payment of daughter has lost faith in the reliability of the car and questions whether it is fit for purpose and if paying for the return/repairs enters her into an acceptance of liability?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, but did they pay for the repair?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes,they have paid for all repairs thus far due to them being connected and extending beyond warranty.
The last problem/repair has been carried out and awaiting payment from my daughter as the sellers contest that it is connected to other electrical faults,,,,,,,,,my daughter has only had 5 driving days/use of her vehicle in the last 8 weeks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

I do completely see why you are aggrieved over this but ultimately we are all hampered by the law to some degree.

This is a purchase to which the Sale of Goods Act applies. That will mean under S14 SGA it must be ‘fit for purpose’. That does not mean perfect but it does mean reasonably good with reference to the price you paid for it, its age and history. This is a fairly recent purchase. Clearly it is faulty and they seem to accept that by offering a repair so that should be no difficulty.

You do have to reject anything you purchase under the SGA which has a fault if you have not already ‘accepted’ it. What it means to ‘accept’ an item depends on the nature of the purchase, the price of the item, the length of time you’ve had it.

It is possible that a Court could say she has accepted this vehicle given that you’ve had it for two months or so before it was returned. There are cases that allowed for much longer periods of time but generally they involved fairly catastrophic failings with the vehicle.

The fault was, however, discovered within the first six months of sale so there is a presumption in your favour that it existed at the time of sale.

You do have a right to demand either a repair or a like for like exchange. The dealer can only refuse one or the other if he can show that the remedy is impossible or disproportionate. He is probably relying on the latter.

However, under the SGA, if he fails to act within a reasonable time or causes you unreasonable inconvenience, you are entitled to ask for rescission of the contract and a full refund or a price reduction.

You do seem to be describing a lengthy repair which is significant so you could try to claim a refund on that basis.

Ultimately if they refuse though, they cannot be forced to provide you with an exchange. All you can sue for is damages in default.

The reason he is making an offer of £2k less than the purchase price is that they are not accepting that a refund is due and so is offering to buy the car back at its current value. Whether that would succeed or not is a matter for the court.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

she has requested a refund or a like for like exchange already with the only offer being the £2k less than purchase price, my daughter does not believe she should stand to lose this amount of money after 5 months of ownership.........sounds like a pursuit through the County Court then?


Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

She could sue at the county court. The value of the car will dictate the cost of doing so.

Obviously she does have to get over the hurdles I mentioned above and she should bear that in mind. She may well be able to do so but that is the test.