Ask Which? – Should I have to pay towards a replacement car?
Andrina asks: After buying a car in 2010 it has been in and out of the garage ever since. On the last trip it had to have its flywheel, clutch, release mechanism and bearing replaced.
I have formerly rejected the car in writing and stated the Sale of Goods Act. The retailer has offered a like-for-like new car but I have been asked to pay £5,000. Please help.
Joanne Lezemore, Senior Solicitor for Which? Legal Service responds:
Rejection could be an issue – in order to reject you must do so within a reasonable period of time, usually between three to four weeks after taking delivery of goods.
The time to reject can be much longer that this, if there is a single ongoing issue that is being investigated. Therefore, in most cases, the right to reject would be lost.
You have a number of options depending on your situation. The Sale of Goods Act allows you to ask for a repair, replacement or to rescind (withdraw from) the contract but the reality is that the retailer will get to choose the most cost effective remedy, which is usually a repair. Any repairs must be carried out within a reasonable period of time, without causing significant inconvenience.
If the repairs have not been carried out as specified above, you can ask for a replacement. The replacement does not have to be a new car – it just needs to be like-for-like but without the faults. The replacement would need to be the same type, specification, age and have done similar mileage.
If the dealer cannot provide this then you can rescind the contract and ask for a refund – in this case, it would be a partial refund as the dealer can take account of your use of the car to date.
It’s worth noting that your claim under the Sale of Goods Act is against the dealer. Your complaint would only be directed at the manufacturer if you were claiming for breach of warranty.
There may be additional claims against a finance company if the car cost less than £30,000 and any part of it was paid on credit, such as a car loan or credit card. The claim is different if the car was purchased on hire purchase – in that case the claim is against the finance company.
You can find more advice and information which may be of use in our guide to the Sale of Goods Act.
Have you got a similar experience to share? Have you received a satisfactory replacement car when presented with a similar scenario or have you been asked to pay towards it? Would you expect more from a high value item?
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