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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I purchased a car on 22/2/15 ,500 + 1,500 cash in pex

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I purchased a car on 22/2/15 for 5,500 + 1,500 cash in pex for my car. Within 3 weeks the front cornering lights were intermittently coming on, causing a problem in particular with oncoming vehicles. Took car back to salesman and he booked car in for auto electrician to investigate. I was told by the repairer that the car had shown a fault on the ECU unit, so they took out the bulbs which corrected the problem. I am not happy that this was conducted without my consultation. I approached salesman who said I had said that I did not want the lights and this is why they took the bulbs out - my son was initially with me and there was no way I said that. I said that I would like the fault corrected properly with receipted confirmation or my money back. The garage has now told the salesman that there is no problem with the ECU unit - he most definitely did say that there was. Because of all the lies, I asked for my money back but was told this would not happen as he did not have the money - where do I stand please?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Has the fault been resolved?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No - I don't know what to do next as he keeps lying to me

Does the fault remain?
I thought you said it had?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Apparently not because they took the bulbs out, but I believe they have just taken the easy way out and not sourced the fault in the correct way.

Have you inspected it yourself?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


How do you know the fault isn't resolved then? Just trying to understand the position.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Because I took the car in to the garage to have the lights sorted out - to just take the bulbs out does not solve the problem - I want the problem solved with the bulbs left in!

But surely if the new bulbs cause the lights to work then the fault may have lain with the bulbs?
I am really sorry but there is no realistic prospect of a refund on this basis. I suppose it is possible the dealership could give in.
If you went to court though then I am afraid they would not be made to offer a refund.
This is a fault with the meaning of the Sale of Goods Act. That triggers your rights to a refund, exchange or repair. You get to choose which remedy unless the seller can show that one or the other is disproportionately expensive. There are a wealth of cases that say that a vehicle needs to be literally falling apart before a full refund is due for a secondhand sale.
There is a need to do the work properly and if they have not then you need to give them two further attempts before you can instruct another and sue them for the cost.
I'm very sorry but that is your position.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They have not put new bulbs in - they have left them without any in - if they put them back in then the fault appears

Well, possibly but that doesn't entitle you to a full refund Im afraid.
It entitles you to have the fault repaired. It depends. If the fault lies with the bulbs rather than the vehicle then probably there isn't a claim as bulbs can go at any time. If the fault is internal then you do have a claim for a repair.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

With due respect I don't think you understand - the faulty lights/bulbs caused a problem with the ECU which is a very internal and costs about £500, so by the garage taking out the bulbs the ECU shows no fault,

by them taking the bulbs out is a cheap way for them to solve the problem

Yes, that might be right.
But that doesn't entitle you to a full refund for the reasons above.
In actual fact, they don't have to do the repair the expensive way. They just have to do it to a reasonable standard.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But surely taking out bulbs does not repair the fault

It may. It depends. That is a mechanical question.
If it does then that is all they have to do.
If it does not then clearly there is a claim for more.
I am not going to be able to agree that taking out the bulbs cannot repair a fault ever.
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