When a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a dealer they will have certain rights under consumer law, specifically the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires goods sold by a business seller to 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 the vehicle does not meet the above requirements, the buyer will have certain legal remedies against the seller. Also note that there is no protection against fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage, faults that were pointed out at the time of sale or if you change your mind and no longer want the goods. The age and value of the vehicle will also be relevant and the expectations of older vehicles will certainly be lower.
The rights against the seller are:
1. Reject the vehicle 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 vehicle can still be rejected for a refund, or if the consumer wants to keep it, they can ask for a price reduction. If asking for a refund or a replacement, the current value of the vehicle will be used, taking into account any depreciation in value for usage by the buyer since purchase.
It is also important to note that the law assumes that any issued which develop within the first 6 months of buying the car were present at the time of purchase, unless the seller can prove otherwise. If they develop more than 6 months after purchase, it is for the buyer to prove that they were there at the time of sale.
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.