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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I purchased a second hand car on 29th August for £4,150 (13

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Hi there, I purchased a second hand car on 29th August for £4,150 (13 plate 28,589 on clock). There are a number of minor flaws with the car, but I accepted them as I failed to inspect the car properly at the point of sale. However, after personally driving less than 20 miles in the car it failed to start at all on 8th September. A mechanic looked at it and said it was the starter motor which was faulty and needed replacing. I called sales person the next day to be immediately told that the battery and starter motor are wear and tear giving me the impression that it wasn't even covered under warranty. After a heated discussion I told him I would get car back to him and reclaim the moneys paid for it, but he has point blank told me that he will not be giving the money back. Citizens Advice have told me I can claim my money back under the Consumers Act 2015, however trader has not replied to my letter. I have now been advised to contact a mediator to try to resolve out of court, but I am worried that I will end up wasting even more money if the trader is in fact in his rights to refuse to give me my money back. I would be grateful for any advise you can offer me as to whether I should pursue this or not.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Did you purchase the car in response to an advertisement or did you go to a dealer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I saw the car initially on autotrader website, then went to the dealers forecourt to purchase.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you

No problem at all

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again Ben, I realise you are busy this afternoon, however to bring you up to speed I have literally just received a letter from the trader who has offered to now fix the car, however he states that he is unable to take the car back as the V5C has already been sent to the DVLA in my name.I personally cannot see what significance this has to my rights to reject, however I thought I would let you know in case it makes any difference in the way you look at it. Thank you again, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks for your patience. When a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a dealer they will have certain rights under consumer laws.

First of all, the following business practices are deemed unfair if they prompted you to make a decision to buy the car in question:
• Giving false information about the vehicle or deceiving the buyer through false advertising
• Giving insufficient information to the buyer, for example leaving out important information about the condition of the car

Failure to adhere to these rules will be unlawful and may even amount to a criminal offence so if you believe that the dealer acted in contravention of these rules you can bring this up with them when you contact them about this.

Your other rights under the Consumer Rights Act state that when you buy an item from a business seller it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match its description. If the car does not satisfy any of these, the dealer will be responsible. This is in addition to any warranty.

They will only be liable for faults that were present at the time the vehicle was sold, even if they become apparent later on. However, they will not be liable for fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage or any issues that were brought to the buyer’s attention before the sale. The age and value of the vehicle will also be relevant and the expectations of older vehicles will certainly be lower. Whether the issues can be attributed to wear and tear will really depend on how long they would be expected to last and if a car at this age and this mileage should have an expectation to have these last longer. You will likely need the professional opinion of a mechanic to determine this

If the vehicle does not meet the above requirements, the buyer can reject the vehicle and return it to the dealer requesting a refund. However, this will need to be done within the first month after purchase.

If the buyer is too late to reject the vehicle, or they do not want one, they could instead request that it is repaired or replaced without causing them significant inconvenience. The dealer may only reject a repair or replacement if it is impossible or disproportionate in the circumstances. If that happens, you are entitled to get it repaired elsewhere and claim back the repair costs, although there is an obvious risk in doing so as there is no guarantee in getting any of the money back.

If the dealer refuses to resolve this issue or accept any liability, you could take legal action against them. However, before going down that route you should try and resolve the issue directly with them by sending them a formal letter specifying how you want this matter resolved and giving them 7 days to respond. Advise them that if they fail to get back to you or deal with this in a satisfactory manner, you will have no other option but to report them to Trading Standards and issue legal proceedings to seek compensation.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you should follow if you wanted to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. In the circumstances you would be seeking to get compensation for the repairs needed.

Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben. I really don't know whether to hold out for a refund or not. I can ill-afford to lose even more money than I already have.
I feel a bit of a fool as the car was shown to me while it was dirty and although I could see there were minor dinks in the paintwork I didn't check them closely enough. The sales person verbally told me they had not gone through the paintwork but on washing the car I now realise they have meaning that should I keep the car I have paintwork to sort out before it becomes rusty.
The windscreen has numerous chips, although none of them are excessive.
There are also minor rust spots on the roof which I didn't notice.
The drivers side carpet shows significant wear and literally has holes in it, but this was covered over with old carpet mats,
and the sales invoice shows a speedo reading of 28,589 miles however the true reading from the dashboard is 28,861. I was willing to put all of the above faults and discrepancies down to my own carelessness in failing to inspect the car thoroughly enough.
When the car didn't start and after having it looked at by a mechanic, I contacted the dealer the next day hoping that he may be sympathetic and offer to sort the car out, instead he told me that batteries and starter motors were wear and tear and to bump start the car. I will confess that I did swear at him a few times before putting the phone down. I contacted him again a little later, and his immediate response when he knew who I was was to accuse me of withholding my number so he couldn't see who was calling. My home phone is ex-directory and automatically witheld to avoid nuisance calls, but again his attitude just riled me. I eventually told him that I was going to get the car back to him which was my right, and wanted my money back. He basically said that I could take the car back but he wouldn't be giving me a refund and suggested I get a good solicitor. After mentioning Trading Standards he virtually urged me to as 'they wouldn't be at all interested and would also tell me that I couldn't get a refund'. That is when I called citizens advice for their help.
I am not sure whether any of the above is relevant, and I sincerely ***** ***** it is not, however, I already feel like I've been taken for a fool by this man, and I seriously doubt that anything he offers to do (as in fixing the car) or claims he is not legally liable to have to do (as in unable to take the car back because of the V5C) is correct, I feel like he's trying to wriggle his way out of any responsibility.

The initial few steps I mentioned are all fee and can apply more pressure on the trader to refund you. Even if you were to issue a claim, the fees are not large so you could consider doing that as a last attempt to twist their arm. What is happening is certainly not uncommon – second hand car dealers do not always follow the law as strictly as one may expect them to and often they will try all the tricks in the book to try and get away from having to pay out on issues with their sales, because let’s face it – in this business there will always be some nagging issues with a lot of their stock so paying out all the time can make a break a business. It does not mean you should just leave it, but you should consider applying more pressure

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben I appreciate all of your advice, and I will contact the dealer again, hopefully with a bit more success.
Many thanks

best of luck