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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a problem with Volvo cars. My XC60 bought in 2019 was

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I have a problem with Volvo cars. My XC60 bought in 2019 was recalled under service this September for an oil leak. Listers Volvo replaced the fuel line and cleared us to go to France with it. The leak re-occurred and the car was re-serviced in Clermont-Ferrand. After much dodging and weaving by Volvo UK, Volvo Europe and Allianze(their Insurer), under the Volvo On call Assistance programme, we got the car back after 10 days (no loaner replacement meanwhile). Volvo Clermont indicated that Volvo Listers had caused damage in the repair, but cleared the car to return t the UK. On 11 October, the car engine blew up on the motorway near Le Man, spilling half a tank of diesel. WE managed to get the car to the side of the road and the French motorway patrol and local garage rescued us. Volvo could not help, so our son drove up from Roanne, picked up the contents of the car, picked us up and brought us home.
JA: Do you need to appear in court?
Customer: Volvo decided to repatriate our car to Listers Worcester. It arrived two weeks ago. Volvo paid our son's travel expenses after much pressure. We have been messed about by Volvo UK over our insistence on a replacement of like value for the car, but all they offer is the usual deals. I have insisted that the recompense our son for his days lost at work. They refuse. I requested an ex-gratia payment to use, since Volvo twice caused the problem that lost us our car. They refuse. How should I go about putting legal pressure on them for errors in service that at best was negligence and frankly I feel was reckless endangerment. WE refuse to take our car back as not fit for purpose. Volvo refuse to make reasonable replacement/compensation. What do I do next? Thank you, ***** *****
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: Don't need to appear in court. We are in Herefordshire. Our local solicitor cannot help.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I am looking for an assessment of their liability and options for us to pursue

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

what is the year of the car? and did you purchase it new?

how did you finance it?

and where is car at the moment?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
2019 Volvo XC60, purchased new on 15/9/2019. Bought for cash. Car now at Volvo Listers Worcester undergoing repair

I’m going to give you the general background here first, not all which may be relevant maybe if ever you have a problem in the future it is worth me giving you everything now, just for completeness:

I will then come back to your case.

the 2 pieces of legislation which cover the sale of goods to consumers (the law is different in respect of business transactions), and the first is the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which says, amongst other things, that goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described.

There is very often an overlap between fit for purpose and satisfactory quality.

For example, (exaggerating to prove the point) if you are sold a spell for digging the garden, it may be a perfectly good spoon for stirring tea, but it’s not fit for purpose for digging the garden.

On the other hand if you are sold a spade for digging the garden but it breaks at the first opportunity then it is not of satisfactory quality.

If the spade is made of rubber for some bizarre reason, then it would not be fit for purpose.

Although many people think there is a 12 month warranty with goods, that is actually not particularly true. There is no mention in the Consumer Rights Act of a 12 month warranty period.

A manufacturer may offer a 12 month warranty and you will read in many such documents, “this does not affect your statutory rights”. Your statutory right is that the goods must be free from defects for a time which is commensurate with the type of item and the use it will get.

Satisfactory quality is what is satisfactory in the circumstances and it can be up to 6 years under the provisions of the Limitation Act 1980.

If something is substantially not of satisfactory quality then under the Act you are entitled to return it for a full refund within the first 30 days. I can tell you now that even though you may be entitled to that (in the correct circumstances) being entitled to it and getting it out of the retailer (the manufacturer has no liability) are often two different things altogether.

After the first 30 days, you are only obliged to give the Seller one attempt to rectify the fault. After that, you are entitled to compensation/damages which could actually be up to the cost of the item. You can of course give them multiple attempts at repairing the item that’s entirely up to you. The manufacturer has no liability, all the liability comes down onto the toe of the retailer.

There is another provision which is that if no price is agreed, then the price must be reasonable and in respect of the supply of services, if no timescale is agreed and the timescale for the supply of services must be reasonable.

Any supply of services must be carried out with reasonable care and skill and that would include repair.

Courts like “reasonable” because it means it’s open to interpretation although it doesn’t actually give anything which is definitive.

If a retailer will not pay then a buyer is faced with taking a seller to court which if the amount claimed is under GBP10,000 will be Small Claims Court.

In respect of something which is substantially not of satisfactory quality, if you bought a new vehicle for example it would not entitle you to reject it and return it because a bulb had gone but it would entitle you to return it if the engine was knocking for example and needed a replacement. However car dealers in particular are not known for beatifically rolling over and refunding when a vehicle has been rejected within the first 30 days.

The second piece of legislation is the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional charges) regulations 2013.

This says that you have 14 days to cancel regardless of the reason, even if you just change your mind if the purchase was at a distance which would include telephone Internet. However goods must be unused and in the original packaging and returned and the buyer is responsible for the cost of returning if the goods are not defective.

Referring this now back to your case, the goods are clearly not of satisfactory quality but you are out of time to reject the vehicle. But you are well within time under the Limitation Act that the goods have to be of satisfactory quality for “up to 6 years”.

It’s not unreasonable for you to have a replacement vehicle/courtesy car or hire car during the period that you do not have the vehicle.

I think a claim for a replacement vehicle will fail.

With regard to your sons day off work, that would have to be a reasonable foreseeable consequence of the goods being not of satisfactory quality. I would still go for it and let the court decide.

I would not take them to court for a replacement vehicle because that is not going to be Small Claims Court and if your claim is not successful you could end up paying more in legal costs than the car is worth.

So claim everything that you want to claim for including the cost of fixing it and anything else you have lost as a result of the vehicle not being of satisfactory quality,.

Put it in the list and tell them that they have until 4 PM on Friday, 20 November 2020 to come up with a satisfactory solution and an offer failing which you will issue Small Claims Court proceedings without further notice.

Keep the claim well under GBP10,000 and even if your claim is not successful either in whole or part, you would not have to pay legal costs apart from about GBP100 fixed costs if solicitors are involved.

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome is quick and easy. You can prepare the proceedings now, and save them online ready to issue them whenever a deadline expires.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

That only applies to new threads, not this one. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.

FES

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Please see my further questions
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
For FES only. Please see my further questions. Thank you.

I will look now.