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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73890
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I bought a van from a dealer (for personal use), it broke

Customer Question

Hi, I bought a van from a dealer (for personal use), it broke down. I tried to return it, instead I was advised that it could be repaired under warranty, but they wouldnt refund. Now it seems that best case the warranty will cover the first £3k, leaving me to foot the remaining £2.5k.
JA: Where is this? And just to clarify, when was the purchase made?
Customer: london, 24th april, van was 'returned' to them on 17th May. They/the garage have had it since
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have a series of letters back and forth which I am happy to share, but not publically the letters are to a third party called 'lawgistics', which appear to mostly be copy/pasted stock answers
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so, like I said I have documented all communications, which I can share
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Hi Ben, is a phone call easier?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

So just to clarify, you bought the van on 24th April and took it back on 17th May?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Just to clarify, the pop-up offering you the chance to request a phone call is automatically generated by the site. You are free to request a call and if an expert is available, they will accept it and call you. If no one is free, then your call request will remain open until it is accepted or you decide to cancel it. In the meantime, you have already paid for a written response and that is the part I will continue helping you with as soon as you can clarify my query

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
thank for the clarification
yes, I purchased it on the 24th april. 65 plate Vauxhall Vivaro with 108900 ish miles on it
16th May, 'stop engine failure hazard' light came on.
I stopped, saw that it had overheated. Bought some coolant and topped it up
waited a while
light went out, I carried on driving
on the rest of the journey, the light came on a couple of times, but then went off again. Engine cut out as I pulled into my drive, and wouldn't restart.
I covered a total of 238 miles in my time with the van
The next day, I called the dealer, said I'd like a refund. They said they would 'look into that, but in the meantime we'll send an AA patrol out to have a look' (paraphrased)
AA patrol said head gasket probably gone, caused by a coolant loss, caused by a wrongly fitted hose clip which had rubbed against a coolant hose, causing a leak. He said it's something that should have been noticed in their pre-sales checks (but I have no proof of the verbal conversation). AA then booked a recovery truck to get it taken back to the dealer. I rang dealer to confirm they were taking it back, but couldn't get through to them on many attempts.
Eventually, they called back, I explained that I wanted a refund under consumer rights act. Dealer diverted recovery truck to their preferred garage.
Since then I have had a lot of back and forths between me and the dealer's appointed law firm. They refuse to accept any fault.
Today I have had an estimate of the repair from the garage, which is for ~£5500, and the claim limit on the warranty is £3000. If the warranty company will fix it, it's a best case £2500 bill for me, worst case they refuse and I'll have to pay the whole thing
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

When a private consumer buys a vehicle from a dealer, they have certain 'statutory' rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If you wanted to refer to the legislation directly, please follow this link:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/contents/enacted

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 specifically states that there is an expectation that goods must be:

- of satisfactory quality – they must not be faulty or damaged

- 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 any the above requirements, the buyer will have certain legal remedies against the seller. It is, however, important to note that there is no protection against fair wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage.

If the vehicle does not meet any of the above criteria, the consumer’s rights against the seller are:

1. Reject the vehicle and request a refund – this is known as the ‘short-term right to reject’ and must be applied within 30 days of purchase or, if later, delivery.

2. Repair or replacement – this is still an option in the first 30 days, if the consumer does not want a refund and becomes the standard options after the 30 days have passed. It is the consumer’s choice as to whether they choose a repair or a replacement. If a repair is chosen, the seller is given one opportunity to provide a satisfactory repair, meaning that if it fails, the vehicle can still be rejected for a refund, even after the initial 30 days have passed. Alternatively, if the consumer wants to keep the vehicle, they can ask for a price reduction, based on what is wrong with it. That is something to be negotiated with the seller.

In the event that a refund is issued, the seller is legally able to deduct an amount to reflect the usage costs incurred whilst the vehicle was in the buyer’s possession, such as the extra mileage on the car. Any amount deducted for that must be reasonable and fair.

An important aspect of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is that there is an assumption that any issues complained of, which have become obvious or developed within the first 6 months of buying the vehicle, were present at the time of purchase. If the seller disagrees that his was the case, it would be up to them to prove otherwise, if challenged in court. On the other hand, any issues which develop more than 6 months after purchase, are assumed not to have originated at the point of sale and it is for the buyer to prove otherwise if challenged in court.

Once a decision has been made on which of the above rights to pursue, the seller should be contacted, preferably in writing, to discuss that with them. If they refuse to discharge their legal obligations under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a formal letter before action should be sent, asking for the desired resolution and making it clear that legal action could follow through the courts.

In the event this matters needs to be taken further, the following are the relevant links:

A report to Trading Standards can be submitted first: https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=3438&frm=general&to=flare.fromforms

Afterwards, a claim can be pursued in The County Court: https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hi Ben, I'm actually after some more specific advice than this, relating to my exact circumstances, and based on correspondence that I have had with the seller's legal team. All my emails so far have been with me referring to the Consumer Rights Act myself, and I am out of my depth.
If you deem it being worth taking to court, I would like some legal help and maybe even representation too.
Is this something that you are able to offer?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days ago.

Hi there unfortunately as the name suggests we just answer questions and cannot officially represent anyone. To do this you would need to formally engage a solicitor, ideally someone local to you, in order to take this case on if they can.