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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12073
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Hi. I am a disabled person, using a wheelchair. I drive

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I am a disabled person, using a wheelchair. I drive using a push/pull brake/accelerator. I believe I'm entitled to purchase a car VAT free.
However I am repeatedly finding dealers refusing to sell me a vehicle VAT free. I want a Skoda Superb because of the way the rear seat flips up, which will allow me to roll the wheelchair in through the rear passenger door and step in to the driver's door. This is the only car that I know that does this, so my options are limited.

The dealer who I first went to said that I 'either pay the full VAT or don't buy the car'. I believe this to be in breach of the Section 29 of the Equalities Act 2010, Provision of Services. on the basis of refusing to provide the service or subjecting me to a detriment. I have tried to contact the dealer management, including requesting their complaints procedure and they are simply ignoring me. I wouldn't buy a car off them now anyway due to the way they have treated me.

I have contacted Skoda UK repeatedly. Initially I suggested it was a "training issue" and hoped they would be positive in supporting me. They repeatedly say that this is a "sales issue" and therefore nothing to do with them. I have contacted other Skoda dealers who clearly don't understand the VAT situation, including one dealer who said I was "wrong" and that only the adaptation is VAT free.

I am concerned that this practice is potentially widespread. Disabled people are either being manipulated in to the Motability scheme (I keep being told about it despite wanting to buy a car) or they are paying 20% more than they are legally required to.

Do I have a case to sue under the Equalities Act?
Can I sue both the franchisee and franchisor?

Thanks, Keith
Thank you for your question.

You have a case but not under the Equality Act 2010 as there is no discrimination between you and a non disabled person in this instance.

Your case is quite simply under the VAT legislation. As long as the vehicle you buy is adapted for your disability there is no VAT payable on either the vehicle or the adaptation.

Here is the HMRC guidelines for you:

The issue is that the car has to be adapted before the purchase, not after.

Happy to discuss further.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi JMC, thanks for the response.


So it doesn't come under Section 29 (2)(c) "by subjecting [me] to any other detriment" by refusing to charge VAT correctly?


I sent the link to the VAT guidance in my original email. How do I bring a case on the basis of refusing to sell to me at zero VAT?


Thanks, Keith

No it doesn't as there is no discrimination between you and a non disabled person. They are simply refusing to zero rate the purchase, not discriminate against you as a disabled person.

Did you complete the form and give it to them. If so and they refused to sell you the car without charging VAT then you remedy is to report them to HMRC for a breach of the VAT regulations. That may trigger a VAT inspection which they certainly won't want.
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