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Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71034
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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hi I bought a car back in September 28th 2013 within 4 weeks

Customer Question

hi I bought a car back in September 28th 2013 within 4 weeks of owning the car it broke really bad oil leak which made the cam belt jump a peg and fan belt snap it had a full warranty with it, when it went to the garage it was there for six weeks and I had to pay £195 diagnostics fee to the garage before the warranty would do anything, the warranty would not pay for repairs as it wasn't a mechanical problem so the garage we bought the car from paid, as of yet 4 months later and despite several letters and emails I still haven't received the £195 back despite being told I would get it back what can I do next.
PS the car still isn't right I have done about 2000 miles since buying it and the gear box is playing up as are the windows which where supposed be fixed 1week after buying it
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.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi can I get the money back for the car as it isn't fit for purpose and can I get the money back for the diagnostics fee

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
The OFT have produced a very useful guide for second-hand car dealers which is here

please note that this is not the law but is simply a guide, however it is persuasive authority.

Please be aware that the age of the car and the mileage of the car and the condition it was advertised in and the price you paid is extremely relevant as to whether the quality is satisfactory or not for the purpose of the Sale of Goods Act.

You would not expect the same quality in a car costing £1000 as you would in a car costing £20,000.
Indeed, if the car cost £100 you would probably expect it to break down at the end of the road unless of course the seller said that it was in perfect working order.

So bearing the above in mind, it would appear that the seller is in breach of the Sale of Goods Act in that the goods (the car) is not of satisfactory quality.

As such, you are entitled to damages which is another word for compensation. The amount of damages in this case is likely to be the cost of having the car repaired.

Obviously, the garage is refusing to fix the car even though it seems it was sold with a full warranty. I fail to see how the problem that you describe cannot be anything other than mechanical and I think they are probably trying to fob you off that this was not covered under some kind of warranty which is of course over and above your rights under the Sale of Goods Act.

However it appears that trying to reason and negotiate with the garage seller is going to get you nowhere.

Your solution therefore is to get the car fixed elsewhere, pay for the repair and to simply sue the garage seller for the cost.

Before you do that I would send one more letter to the garage saying that unless all the outstanding faults are repaired by Friday, 21 March 2014 you will get the repairs done elsewhere and sue them in the Small Claims Court for the cost. Regardless of whether they reply or not, unless they actually offer to do the work by that date, you can issue Small Claims Court proceedings and let a judge decide the issue.

Here is the link to the Small Claims Court which you will find relatively easy and quick to use

Unfortunately, there is case law upon the point of returning secondhand cars and claiming a full refund and you have to act swiftly with a fairly catastrophic fault. It is now almost 6 months that you have had the car. However let me tell you that even if you were within the first seven days where you would be entitled to return the car for a full refund for a major fault, actually being entitled to that and getting it out of the garage are two separate things altogether.

Even if you were entitled to it they are not likely to take the car back and refund you easily and you would be faced with suing them anyway

Can I clarify anything for you?