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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71136
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My mother wanted to buy a car. She put down deposit on a car,

My mother wanted to buy... Show More
My mother wanted to buy a car. She put down deposit on a car, for about £800.00. At the time, she was a bit unsure about whether or not to buy it, as it had been advertised as having 26,000 miles on the clock, buit had 31,000 miles instead. The advertisement had also been taken down from Auto Trader before she went to look at it, and this raised alarm bells. She has recently been widowed, however, and is not processing things quickly and so didn't raise these concerns at the time. When the car arrived at her house, it was making a horrendous noise and she refused to accept it. The garage is refusing to refund her money. What is the legal position? Can she expect her money back?
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Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did she agree a cooling off period please?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

No; it didn' occur to her.

Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


I'm not sure if you received my response to this already. She didn't agree to any such period.





I'm just travelling home from court and require about 30 minutes to prepare your answer. Is that okay?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


Yes' that's absolutely fine. We look forward to hearding from you.


Many thanks,



I'm back now.

Was this deal done in store? I notice you refer to auto trader but did she visit the showroom and see the car?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


She bought the car in a used-car dealership. It wasn't a showroom.







Did she pay a total of £800 or a deposit of 800?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

A deposit of £751.00 and a warranty of £63.00.


The car was being sold for £4000.00; my mother negotiated that down to £3750.00.




When she saw it on the forecourt was it displaying 31,000 miles?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

It was. It rang alarm bells, but, because she's still in grief about my father passing away, it didn't process until she was home, later that evening. She's just told me that she knows she has no comeback on that; nevertheless, it contributes to a wider picture of a car that she feels was advertised in a misleading way.


Her main concern was the engine (the loud noise referred to in my first email) and she didn't want to pay for a sub-standard car, which also seemed flawed in other ways and, again, which she felt had been advertised in a misleading way.


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

Unfortunately the distance selling regulations will not apply to this type of sale and so there is no automatic right to cancel.

Similarly there isn't a misrepresentation because she knew about the mileage.

However, 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 was a recent purchase and it was a significant price.

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. I don't think anybody would suggest here that your mother has accepted this item.

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

Even if the rejection fails there remains 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. Since he is making no offers at all, the right to recission of the contract and a refund is triggered.

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

If she was to issue against him then its not very likely that he would contest the matter. Its not worth the manpower costs of doing so.

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



A couple more quiestions, if I may. Sorry - my ignorance about legal matters is shocking and my mother is so stressed about this.


Firstly, does this mean that we can ask for a refund, but that he may say no and,instead, offer to fix the faults or offer another car?


Should this be the case,would my mother be entitled refuse either of these solutions (we're sure he's an Arthur Daley character and really don't want to do any business with him).


If she refuses, and he refuses to offer a full or part-refund, do we then trigger a case against him, as the car is not in as good a state as was advertised?


Many thanks,






1 Yes, but he isn't doing that.

2 Yes, she could argue she is rejecting it but if he won't agree she will have to sue.

3 Yes, you could sue.