How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49851
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I bought a brand new car almost two years ago from Vauxhall

This answer was rated:

I bought a brand new car almost two years ago from Vauxhall via a dealership. Within 4 days of taking ownership I wrote to both informing them of a fault with the automatic gear box. It took them 6 months to accept there was a problem after they obtained a similar vehicle at their dealership and compared the drive of both cars and accepted straight away something was wrong. They took car in for a week to reoair and took 6 weeks for them to locate issue, or so they thought. Vauxhall went into writing offering us compensation for all the hassle and also wrote that they would replace the vehicle with a new one should the problem reoccur. After having car back for a few months the problem did re-occur. However Vauxhall have told us they can no longer replace our vehicle with the same model. I've said they should offer our money back if they cannot replace with like for like as after all that's what we wanted and spent our money on. They say they will not. Furthermore they are saying that as we have had use of the current vehicle for sometime we have to pay a mileage usage charge for having the benefit of its use but I've said the car has never been fit for purpose and it is morally wrong to be asking us for a fee of over £2000 for a brand new vehicle that has never operated corrected in the whole time we have had it. Now Vauxhall are saying the issue is between us and the dealership to resolve as we bought the car from them. I have said as the manufacturer they have a legal responsibility for faulty goods they have manufactured as not fit for purpose. I am correct in the position I have taken and what is my legal position/way forward to try to resolve this?

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

Have you approached the seller about this?

Please note I’m just leaving the office so will reply later today from home thanks

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What do u mean by ‘the seller’If u mean the Car Dealership then yes and they have been copied into all communications and/or had direct correspondence. They are taking a position of being middle man and just simply sending the information between myself and Vauxhall and are talking no lead or responsibility.

Thanks for your patience. Yes, I meant the seller as in the dealer who sold you the car.

I was asking because the legal position is that when a consumer makes a purchase from a business seller, they have certain 'statutory' rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which states that the goods must be:

· of satisfactory quality – they must not be faulty or damaged when received

· as described – they must match any description given at the time of purchase

· fit for purpose – they should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for

If they do not meet the above requirements, you will have certain legal remedies against the seller (not against the manufacturer as they will only be responsible under a manufacturer’s warranty that came with the goods).

The rights against the seller are:

1. Reject the goods and request a refund - this must be done within 30 days of purchase or delivery.

2. Repair or replacement – this can be done within the initial 30 days or after, if that deadline has passed and a rejection is no longer possible. If a repair is not possible or has failed, the goods can still be rejected for a refund, or if the consumer wants to keep them, they can ask for a price reduction.

So you may have been pursuing the manufacturer until now but your legal rights are actually against the dealer who sold you the car. They are the ones you have to chase if the car is not fit for purpose and they are the ones who need to arrange for repairs or replacement (as it is too late to automatically reject it for a refund at this stage).

Based on which option you are wishing to exercise, you must contact the seller and advise them. If they refuse to discharge their legal obligations under consumer laws, you should remind them of these as per the details above. If they still appear reluctant to assist, write to them one final time, warn them that they have 7 days to comply and inform them that if they fail to honour your legal rights, you will have no choice but to report them to Trading Standards and start legal proceedings to seek compensation.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the options you have on taking this further if they refuse to cooperate. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a quick second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,Been away for few days so just catching up. Some useful points you raise however two or three fundamentals haven’t been addressed in your response in my opinion:1) The car is less than two years old and therefore still very much under the manufacturers warranty so surely they have some on going responsibilities to resolve on going mechanical issue first raised within a few days of taking delivery.2) Linked with point 1) is that Vauxhall put in writing a commitment (when first trying to repair the vehicle) that should the issue reoccur they would replace with vehicle with a new one. As that has happened then I needed you to provide legal counsel on what the position is now they are saying they cannot replace like for like. Do they have a legal obligation to do so as they put it in writing or not and, if they do, do they have to offer a refund as an alternative if they cannot meet these obligations.3) We could not have received a refund inside first 30 days as it took 6 months before both the dealer (seller) and manufacturer would accept there was even an issue in the first place so what happens in this situation where our rights have been negated by the actions of those who would have been obliged to have offered a full refund. A reminder we informed them inside 7 days of the issue but it took over 6 months before they would accept there was an issue. They subsequently accepted there was, tried to repair fault, paid compensation for the months of hassle and put in writing a commitment to replace vehicle if issue reoccurred which it has.If you can answer their key points fully then I believe I can close this and move forward with my action against the manufacturer (Vauxhall) and the seller (County Motors).ThanksMark

Hi there, to answer your queries:

1) As mentioned you have two separate rights - one under law against the seller and one under warranty/contract against the manufacturer. If the car is still under warranty and the issues are covered under that warranty, then you can still pursue the manufacturer, in addition to the seller.

2) If they had promised to replace the vehicle if the repairs did not fix this, their failure to do so can amount to breach of contract, where you can argue that this promise they made was a contractually binding one.

3) You may not have been able to reject the vehicle for a refund but that still leaves you with the rights to get a repair or replacement from the seller, with a rejection possible if a repair has been carried out without success.

Hope this clarifies things for you?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks for the further comment but I’m after a specific response to the legal position with the manufacturer not a generic one.If we can just focus on point 2 above please in both from my questions and your responses.My query is that in the written letter Vauxhall wrote after trying to repair the car first time around (under the warranty) they stated they would exchange our vehicle only if the same issue returned during the original warranty period.It has returned and also during the warranty period.Vauxhall have accepted this and offered to replace the vehicle with a new one but now they are saying it won’t be a like for like replacement as they no longer offer the same model with the specifications we had on ours which we were a key part of our initial order and which we waited a long time for and would not have gone ahead with the purchase had we not been able to have our chosen specification.I queried this with Vauxhall and said if they cannot replace the vehicle like for like then then they should offer a full refund instead.I understood that this was a legal commitment that all manufacturers made if they had a faulty product inside the warranty period and could not replace with one matching the customers original order?Why would someone accept a compromise on something they’d spent a lot of money on and specific to their requirements.Vauxhall are now saying that the letter does not state they will replace like for like, just a new replacement vehicle but surely the inference is that it would be the same model and specification and as already stated why would anyone accept a compromise to their original requirements?What I need to know is what law(s) are we covered by on both the warranty and also the letter of commitment to change our car for a new one.I’d like to be able to quote both in a letter to both the manufacturer and seller laying out my legal position with both.I think you have done a great job of doing this for the sellers position but the manufacturers is a bit generic with no specific law quoted ie factory act of 1942 or whatever is the relevant legal position in this frustrating situation.So in simple summary of a product is faulty during the warranty and cannot be fixed does the manufacturer have an obligation under law to offer a full refund if they cannot offer a like for like replacement or can they force us to accept an alternative? Please quote the actual stipulated law itself so I can quote this in my letter.Lastly Vauxhall are saying that if they replace the vehicle with a new one they will charge us around £2000 as a usage charge of the current vehicle that we’ve had for almost two years but continuously with this same fault. My argument is that the car has never been fit for purpose and has restricted our use and pleasure of the vehicle and that there should be no charge for this regardless. Is there any law that protects us in this situation?ThanksMark

There are no laws that deal with this specific issue - this is all under common law, not legislation. Which is why you will not find it under any specific law or regulation. It is basically breach of contract in many respects and that is how it would be pursued.

As to usage costs that is actually allowed under law, but usually only for the seller, not the manufacturer (bit that is not surprising as it is only the seller you have statutory rights against).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks Ben but feel there is a key part of my last message not covered in your response so have copied and pasted below.So in simple summary, if a product is faulty during the warranty period and cannot be fixed (which is the case), does the manufacturer have an obligation under law to offer a full refund if they cannot offer a like for like replacement or can they force us to accept an alternative.Thank you

There is no law that covers this that is what i was trying to say. Warranty rights a not covered by legislation, it is all down to contract. So the manufacturer is only obliged to do what the warranty says and if there is no right to a refund in there then they are not obliged to offer this as an option. If under warramty they must fix the car during the warranty period but are unable to do so then they should offer an alternative solution and whilst a refund may be one, the key is that this is not an obligation on them if it is not in the contract, it is an option only but down to them

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you