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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I bought a car in february from a user-car dealer and noticed

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I bought a car in february from a user-car dealer and noticed a noise coming from the front axle within a day of taking it home. I took it back and the dealer had a garage look at it; they agreed there was a problem but couldn't track it down at the time. the dealer told me to bring the car back when the problem was more obvious so they could fix it. I brought the car back two weeks ago and have just been told that they won't fix the problem because it's not covered by the engine/gearbox warranty I bought with the car.
Now, surely the warranty I brought has nothing to do with a problem discovered within the first six months - do I have a claim I can make against this dealer for not honouring his promise to fix the car?
I don't have proof that I bought the car back within the month of purchasing, and only had a verbal promise to fix the car when the problem was more obvious.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you have proof that the problem actually manifested itself so early on after purchase?


Hi Ben,


only verbal - I brought the car back and the garage the dealer uses for repairs said there was a problem but it wasn't clear exactly what part needed to be replaced; so the dealer told me to bring it back when it was easier for them to fix. The problem (grinding in the front axle) happened every time I drove the car at that point, but they said they couldn't find the exact cause.


now, that was back in feb or early march - very shortly after I bought it (i.e. couple weeks). But I don't drive that car much - it's really just a weekend car - so the problem only progressed to something I felt sure they couldn't ignore in October. Back in June/July, however, I had the car serviced by a local garage and they told me the problem was easy to see - it was a CV joint (£690 to replace). The car dealer I bought it from told me three days ago it was waiting for a CV joint from Mercedes and would be ready today. Today I called and they said it wasn't the CV joint but was a drop-link, and wasn't under warranty so they wouldn't fix it.


I know I've been taken for a ride on this one - my phone calls have never been returned by the dealership, I always have to chase them, and now they've wriggled out of repairing something that was a problem when I first bought the car

Ben Jones :

When a consumer makes a purchase from a business seller, such as a second hand car from a car dealer, they will have certain 'statutory' rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

The law states that the goods must be of satisfactory quality, as described and fit for purpose. If they are not, you will have certain legal remedies against the seller. These are in addition to any warranty you may have been given under contract so they cannot just use the warranty as an excuse not to resolve this.

If the goods are not as described, of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose, you have the following rights:

1. Reject the goods and request a refund - this is only possible if the rejection occurs within a 'reasonable time'. This period depends on the circumstances, although it is generally accepted to be within the first month after purchase, so must not be delayed.

2. Ask for a repair or replacement – if you are too late to reject the goods, you can ask the seller for a repair or replacement without causing any significant inconvenience.

A useful rule is that if the goods are returned within the first 6 months after purchase, the law assumes that they did not conform to the statutory requirements at the time of sale. If the retailer disagrees, it is for them to prove that this was not the case. However, if the goods are returned more than 6 months after purchase, it would be down to the consumer to prove that the goods did not meet the statutory requirements set out above at the time of sale.

As you appear to be too late to reject the goods, you can still try and resolve this by contacting the seller and asking them for a repair or replacement. You can quote the applicable laws and rules as mentioned above. If they appear reluctant to assist, write to them one more time, warn them that they have 7 days to comply and inform them that if they fail to meet their legal obligations, you will have no choice but to report them to Trading Standards and start legal proceedings to seek compensation for your losses.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you


thank you for the answer - I'll get a letter out to the dealer today

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