/ Money, Motoring

Brief cases: complaining about major parts failing on new car

fixing car brakes

If you pay £21,000 for a brand new car, would you expect major parts to fail after three-and-a-half years and with only 13,000 miles on the clock?

Which? Legal member Robin Dadson came to us for help after important parts of his new car started to fail.

Robin paid around £21,000 for the then brand new Skoda Yeti Crossover in March 2013. By January 2016, when he had only driven it for 13,000 miles, he noticed the rear brake discs were corroded.

The original dealer was no longer trading, so he took the car back to its successor. Both the new dealer and Skoda said the problem was fair wear and tear. Skoda said the replacement wouldn’t be covered by warranty because of the time that had elapsed and it refused to take further action.

Ten months later, when Robin took the car in again for a check-up, the condition of the brakes was such that the dealer suggested Robin replace them.

It also highlighted a problem with the Haldex pump in the four-wheel drive. The costs of repairing the brake discs and pump was around £300 each.

At this stage, Robin came to our lawyers for advice.

Our advice on complaining about a faulty new car

We told Robin that if you pay £21,000 for a car, you could reasonably expect it not to have major parts failing after three-and-a-half years. So, although the original dealer had stopped trading, he could still complain to Skoda.

Robin got in touch with Skoda again, which rejected his claim. However, he persisted and, armed with our advice, took his complaint to a higher level.

He was then offered a ‘goodwill gesture’ of £300 in relation to the pump. Robin accepted this and reluctantly paid for the brake disc repairs himself. This solution compensated him for repairing one of the faulty parts and also took into account his having more than three years’ use of the car.

As Robin bought the car before 1 October 2015, his rights are under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (for contracts after that date it’s the Consumer Rights Act 2015), which says that goods must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If they’re not, the customer can ask for them to be repaired or replaced within a reasonable time.

It can be tricky to exercise these rights when there is a dispute between the customer and seller over whether the items failed due to wear and tear or due to a breach of contract. So, it’s often necessary to get expert opinions.

This article by the Which? Legal team originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of Which? magazine.

Have you ever had to complain directly to a manufacturer about a faulty new car? Were you successful in receiving compensation?

Comments
Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

My guess would be corrosion on discs after 3.5 years would not be a claim with merit. However, a major mechanical item like a pump should be expected to last – it should be durable. That means lasting what a reasonable person would expect given the price. This is covered in the SoGA and CRA as a contract requirement under “Quality”. It does not require the item to be faulty, simply that it should last. Not lasting might be down to a poor design or the use of poor quality components for example. That is my interpretation until I am told otherwise

Durability is an aspect of these Acts that I believe Which? should pay much more attention to. How many complaints in Convos have we had from contributors who had a product that failed just out of guarantee, or sooner than they should have expected? They need help to enforce this aspect of the Acts and stop retailers escaping their obligations..

Member
T. Read says:
20 April 2017

Low mileage could allow brake discs to corrode as surface rust which forms on them is not being scrubbed off by the brake pads. I’d just replaced my Honda Civic rear discs for the same reason, I then washed the car and noticed surface rust on my brand new discs!
I hate having the hassle of complaining about things but have come to the conclusion that if you keep quiet you get nowt, if you are prepared to kick up enough fuss and go higher with your grievence you have got every chance of success. My daughter has a 2010 Audi TT, during her last mot and sevice the local Audi dealer changed the brake fluid, on returning her car they reported a “hissy noise” which they thought “maybe” the brake servo leaking. They followed this up the next day by emailling an estimate of over £1700 to replace the servo unit. She told them that as the sevo was ok before they changed the brake fluid it must have been caused by them (a view supported by 3 local independent vehicle mechanics), they countered that it was just a coincidence and if she wanted the servo replaced it be at her expense. After she kicked up a fuss, the dealer contacted Audi and came back with a “goodwill” gesture as she was a customer, of 50%, which she rejected. The final outcome was that they replaced the servo FOC.
So kick up hell and keep at it but never get abusive.

Profile photo of martini97
Member

I had several electrical faults with my Renault Megane from the boot not shutting to failure to start .Eventually I was offered a discounted brand new scenic which had faults too so again another discounted upgrade which I am finally pleased with . My method was to write to the top with a diary of events and get every name of the people I spoke to .
Renault were reasonable but I felt that there were too many time consuming repairs . I used to visit the showroom desk at busy times and as their waiting area was open plan next to the new cars I was happy to speak to all that sat nearby . I think this helped

Member
Carla says:
5 June 2017

A British seller I bought from agreed to sell me 4 collectibles for £1000. I paid. He received the money and said he had sent the goods. Some days later he announced he had not sent the goods but had found a better offer for his items elsewhere and he’d sold my 4 items to another party. He offered me a paltry refund, minus his bank charges. I had, in the meantime, re-sold the 4 items, after believing they were mine, after paying and after the seller told me the goods were en route to me. Now I face letting down my buyers due to the seller’s actions. I wonder, does this Act cover cases like mine, and do I have any redress in law? Thank you.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Carla , the nearest I can get to your situation is the English Law of Contract under “Anticipatory Breach ” shows one parties intention to fail to perform or fulfill its contractual obligations . An anticipatory breach negates the counterparty responsibilities by demonstrating a party,s intention to breach to perform its requirements under the contract , by this action the counterparty may begin legal action . Vocal or written confirmation is not required and failure to perform in a timely manner can result in a breach so legal action can begin immediately . aka- anticipatory repudiation. You sold the item on the basis of a contractual agreement (phone call ) but the seller didn’t fulfill his side of the contract by sending you the items . As £1000 is mentioned I would see a contract lawyer.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I certainly think you should get legal advice, Carla. Try Citizens Advice in the first instance; they have a panel of lawyers who can advise in cases like yours.

Whereas it seems certain that there was a breach of contract it is difficult to know on the basis of what you have told us whether there was a deliberate intention on the seller’s part not to fulfill your purchase. In any case, you are entitled to a full refund without any deduction of bank charges. Any legal claim should be for complete recovery and your costs

You are also in a potential difficulty because you sold something which you did not have possession of and cannot now supply, albeit with the best of intentions. I don’t think you are at risk of action so long as you immediately refund the purchase money.

Dealing in goods at a distance is fraught with problems and paying sellers direct is hazardous. A solicitor should be able to advise you whether an action against the seller would be likely to succeed but be careful of the costs as the seller might be a ‘man of straw’ and even if you got a judgment against him or her it could be difficult and expensive to enforce it.

Member
Chris says:
16 June 2017

I’ve just purchased a boat from a large boat broker in the Uk. When I got it home I noticed the TV was missing but it was listed as included on the advert. They have a disclaimer saying the particulars maybe wrong but I’ve paid a large some of money and it’s not as described? I also have not received a receipt that was going to be posted to me. Any guidance please? Thank you

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

First of all Chris you have the legal right to require/insist on proof of purchase by being given a receipt of purchase with the date on it , what was sold to you and by whom , what if the police say it was stolen ? its your guarantee of an actual legal transaction taken place . If the disclaimer is part of the contract between you and the seller then you have a problem , yes its not as described but even businesses cover themselves by saying- the product sold by us might not conform to the actual advertised image of it and may vary in colour/shape,etc thats a disclaimer . IF the product was advertised as “brand new ” then you could argue it is not as the manufacturers original specifications by getting hold of the original spec from the builder . But if it is second hand then that disclaimer would be harder to legally argue over . Anybody spending a large sum of money should see the product before purchase , especially a boat/car etc. Having said all that there is nothing to prevent you taking legal action over it as it is not set in stone but you have to judge whether its financially and emotionally worth it. : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Contract_Terms_Act_1977

Profile photo of wavechange
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Hi Chris – Can you tell us what the vendor said when you informed them the TV was missing? It’s difficult to make any useful comment without having more details. I hope you have had a survey done to establish if there are any problems with the boat itself, much in the same way that you would if you were buying a house.

As Duncan says, it’s a secondhand item, but you have protection under the Consumer Rights Act and the boat should conform with the description, including what has been provided in photographs.

Member
adrian says:
18 June 2017

I purchased a 2004 caravan from a dealer 0n 22 Feb,we have already had to have some things fixed under warranty,however,I have just found that the wood framework around one of the windows has rotted so much the wood is falling to pieces,I have spoken to the dealer already,but although he says he will look at it,he is saying the warranty has expired,As it takes wood a lot longer than 3 months to decay this much,the fault was obviously there when i bought it.am i right in thinking that because i have found this within 6 months,it is up to the dealer to repair/replace/or refund,?

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I would say so, Adrian – unless the defects were made clear at the time of purchase and if the condition was not clearly reflected in the price. Even 13-year old window frames should not have rotted away so badly unless the bodywork itself was in bad condition and water was getting in through the joints in the panelling. If the dealer did not take care to inspect the caravan properly before selling it then they should carry the risk.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I certainly think it is worth Adrian pursuing the case and hopefully getting a partial refund or a repair if the dealer does that sort of work. Bear in mind that there may have been no visible sign of leakage that could have been spotted either by Adrian or the dealer.

Profile photo of John Ward
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Yes, it could be borderline ‘fair wear & tear’. I would try to get a 10% price reduction and settle for 5% – that way both parties can feel that they have struck a bargain. If the dealer does repairs perhaps the cost of that could also be negotiated so that it is less than going to a different company but covers the costs and gives the dealer something as well. To provide some background for the negotiation it might be worth comparing the price paid for the caravan with the delivered cost of a similar model advertised as being in good condition.

The slightest aperture in a bodywork seam, barely visible and especially if on a roof joint, will allow considerable quantities of water in over time due to capillary action.

There is a gap in the market for ‘people’s negotiators’ who could help people settle issues like this before it becomes a dispute resolution exercise and without incurring significant expense or involving lawyers, mediators or claims managers. A 2.5% commission on the settlement value might be appropriate. It could be an interesting retirement occupation.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I support your suggestion, John. The alternative would be to accept a repair if offered. When buying secondhand goods it is important to check their condition carefully, taking expert advice if appropriate. Buying a car or a boat usually involves a survey and many pay to have cars checked before purchase.

It is important that disputes are resolved in a way that is fair to both parties.

Member
Jackie Dodds says:
25 June 2017

I would like to know the position of a holding deposit paid on a puppy should the buyer change their mind. I have always refunded, but I know someone who is refusing to do so. Can someone tell me the definite legal position on this please?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Jackie , a holding charge under English Contract Law is defined as a charge given by a client to a seller of goods, property, etc ,after the client has come to a decision to buy/ lease/rent/etc the said item(s) of their own free will . In the event of the client changing their mind the holding charge is non-refundable as it is taken that the customer has checked/viewed/etc the item(s), so the onus is on the customer to verify. Obviously this presents problems with remote sales but that is a different circumstance and remote selling laws apply. So ,yes you can keep the money , it is shown as an “intention to buy ” and is therefore a binding contract , if the contract is broken then the “hurt party ” has the right to compensation by retaining the money. They can legally say in court – I kept the item in good faith when I could have sold it many times .

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Jackie – I would advise any seller to make it clear at the outset whether a deposit is refundable or non-refundable, and, if it is refundable, in what circumstances that would apply and not apply. As Duncan has outlined, that is not legally necessary as the law presumes that deposits will be forfeit if the transaction is cancelled by the buyer, but making the selling policy clear reduces the scope for a dispute.

As a matter of trading goodwill I like your policy of always refunding – buying a pet is not the same as some other purchases where there are ample opportunities to inspect and assess the goods for suitability. Deposits are essential where a supplier might be required to carry out prior work or purchase materials in order to fulfil a sale [like buying a fitted carpet] but it is unlikely that you will have bred a puppy to a customer’s exact specification. The risk that an occasional sale might fall through goes with the territory in my opinion and although the seller will have to look after the puppy for a bit longer, and could suffer a price drop, that is the rub of the green. If I was looking to buy a puppy I would not wish to do so from a breeder who has commoditised their product like stock in a warehouse and has a mercenary approach to their trade; to start with I would question whether such a mean outlook is likely to be conducive to good breeding, feeding and welfare of their animals. So, if you can, I urge you to carry on returning deposits as it is better than people taking an unwanted puppy for fear of losing their deposit.

Member
David says:
4 July 2017

Trying to understand if i have a claim under the old Sales of Goods act, or not.
I bought a replacement chimney liner for my stove in Oct 2013, this was fitted by the seller (an established business) and on their advice i bought the ‘best available liner’ with 20 year guarantee. This liner has failed after 3.5 years (May 2017). I have called the seller asking if they could come out and see if they can establish why the product has failed. They seem reluctant to do this and have stated that the guarantee is with the manufacturer not them but they might possibly be able to ‘see me right’ with a replacement, though no explanation of what this actually means. I feel that this liner should have lasted a lot longer than 3.5years though i am unsure of the best approach to take or if i have any legal redress at all.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

6 years is the time the Sale f Goods Act states but David Oughton , Professor of Consumer Law says a EU Directive has muddied the waters -quote- the presumption under the new rules is that you have two years to make a case , he says a judge may overrule the old rules , giving protection up to 6 years has some legal problems first in the expectation of the life of the product /that it has been used properly as per manufacturers rules and that the customer must show the product was not sufficiently robust when it was sold requiring an expert report . Also you have to take into account the scale of redress will be limited by the fact the item has been used by the owner for a period of time . Having said all that there is nothing to stop you perusing a coarse of action , just so long as its realistic , somebody just quoting the regulations to you and saying -you will win your case should think again . Which has a set of rules of how to go about it like contacting the head office and complaining and remember its the retailer you contact not the manufacturer unless you think they will influence the retailer to help you more Section -F13/14/16 of the 1979 SoGA should be looked at . A mattress manufacturer in America states – 20 year guarantee actually means -8.5 years , I am just showing how realistic they are over there.

Profile photo of wavechange
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David – you have the choice of making a claim under either the manufacturer’s 20 year guarantee or your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act (goods purchased after October 2015 would come under the Consumer Rights Act), where the retailer has legal responsibility. The retailer has both supplied and fitted the chimney liner, which avoids the possible complication of another company being involved and the question of whether the problem could be related to their workmanship.

I don’t see that the EU directive that Duncan mentions is relevant in the UK because we have better protection.

If you have complied with the requirements of the 20 year guarantee, which may include having registered the purchase, I would go to the manufacturer and politely but firmly ask them to honour their guarantee. Please could you report back, David.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

You have 6 years to make a claim under the Sale of Goods Act. The confusion duncan raised is that in the EU this is limited to 2 years – but not in the UK.

The problem may be that the product has a 20 years guarantee which should be the determining factor fro replacement, providing it has been correctly installed and used. However this 20 year guarantee may not include the installation so even if the product were replaced you might end up having to pay for removal and reinstallation. You’ll also need to provide evidence of the correct installation and use and of what has failed. I’d contact the manufacturer and see what they have to say in the first instance.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Volvo (that Chinese owned company) has just announced (5-7-2017 ) that from -2019 all its cars will either be electric or hybrid – Business Insider : http://uk.businessinsider.com/volvo-all-cars-electric-hybrid-2019-2017/7?r=US&IR=T

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I hope they have informed the generating companies – or is this a shoo-in for more Chinese nuclear plants?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Probably is John its a bit final . Estimates range from 5-10 years to build one depending on the type of construction I can just image Jim Smith recharging his Volvo two doors down and my lights dimming until its charged .

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Even with Hinkley Point and Sizewell, and all the winds and waves we can command, we shall still be stretched for electricity into the 2020’s. I can’t fault Volvo for advancing in this direction, but there really needs to be a coherent strategy over precipitating demand. Initially, overnight charging of vehicles should not be a major problem because other demands are low, but as the numbers involved go up, and the range of batteries increases, your scenario is not unrealistic.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Germany has just announced 35 % of its energy is wind/wave/sun considering the size of the country and its still big engineering industry thats a lot of wattage. : http://redgreenblue.org/2017/07/05/renewable-energy-accounted-35-germanys-electric-generation-far-year/

Member
Phil says:
5 July 2017

” there really needs to be a coherent strategy over precipitating demand. ”

That’s not going to happen unless the whole mess is nationalised and even then….

The real problem is everybody coming home at around the same time, putting the car on charge and then trying to cook dinner. Especially during the winter. The coldest days of the year often coincide with there being no wind and of course solar won’t be there when you need it most.

The fault lies with a lack of strategic oversight by government in not planning more capacity as they were kow-towing to EU demands to prematurely close viable coal fired plant. We only got through last winter because two of these stations, Eggborough and Fiddler’s Ferry, were given a temporary stay of execution. If we have a cold snap this winter things could get very unpleasant and quite what’s going to happen when our ageing nuclear plants are closed I dread to think.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Phil about one third of electricity generation in the USA is coal-fired while dropping , the Donald has made a change and is now investing in coal production the opposite of Obama. He has helped open a new mine recently against eco cries from various US Green parties.

Member
bishbut says:
13 September 2017

When does anyone ever get things right?? You can’t please everyone all the time……….etc.

Member
Aurora says:
27 July 2017

I bought a kitchen and wooden flooring together with supply from B & Q and entered a 3 year finance agreement with Hitachi to cover this. This was in early February this year. My kitchen and floor were to be fitted this week and the fitter only turned up 20 minutes on Monday and not been back since. B & Q delivered the kitchen last Thursday but nothing else has happened. Can I ask them to come and take the kitchen away and cancel the agreement due to breach of contract on their part? Or can I at least ask to reduce the cost of fitting from the finance agreement and I’ll sort it out myself. I’m due to go on holiday on 3 weeks and I would like to leave this sorted one way or another. B & Q doesn’t offer any response. Do I need to follow their complaint procedure and/or the finance company before requesting cancellation of the order due to unreasonable time taken and breach of contract?

Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
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“B&Q Homefit has become the first national installer and service provider to be endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders.

With 25 years’ experience, B&Q Homefit has fitted more than 750,000 rooms across the UK to date. The endorsement of their nationwide service means that thousands of consumers from across the UK will benefit from the extra assurance that the Which? Trusted Traders service provides.

The B&Q Homefit service is available to B&Q customers who need something installing and/or fitting. Our national endorsement of B&Q Homefit comes at the end of a rigorous, independent assessment process and their installers must now follow our specifically designed code of conduct in order to remain a B&Q Homefit installer.

As well as the usual high standards you’d expect from a Which? Trusted trader, B&Q Homefit also offers a five year guarantee for workmanship.

B&Q Homefit installers cover kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, windows and doors, plumbing and electrics, and flooring and tiling. So if you’re looking to renovate your home with B&Q, check out its newly endorsed B&Q Homefit service to get started.”

Personally I think they are taking the mickey. Perhaps Which? Legal Services could be involved – if you subscribe. Failing that a Citizens Advice Bureau.

Member
Aurora says:
27 July 2017

Thanks Patrick, yes we thought that they had a good reputation and were willing to pay extra for this peace of mind. Obviously on this occasion it isn’t not working that well.

Member
Jo Lawford says:
7 August 2017

We ordered a television through click and collect from Currys, as my husband was not well he was not able to come with me to collect it. I arrived at the store and gave a staff member my reference number, they then took payment from me and asked for the TV to be brought through to the front of the store. At no point during the transaction was I asked (or shown) to look at the TV my husband has ordered. The TV was loaded into the back of my car and I took it home, once my husband was well enough to unpack the TV he did so and set it up however we noticed that the dimensions of the TV were not the same as what was shown on the website. My husband was also disappointed with the quality of the TV so decided that he wanted to return it.
I was under the impression that we were covered under the DSR but on arriving at Currys we were advised that because I paid for the TV in store and we only “reserved” it online that we were unable to return it because it had been opened, this came as a complete surprise as I (maybe wrongly) assumed that we were covered under DSR as otherwise what would be the point of click and collect? However, I now understand that from a legal point of view we aren’t covered but do we have a right to claim a refund based on the fact that the TV is not as described on the website and at no point during the sale was I asked to inspect the goods because my right to return was affected if I took the goods without inspecting them? Surely the buyer should be made aware that they need to inspect the goods before taking them away, this still doesn’t make sense to me though because if you click and collect and then have to look at the product on arrival to the store what is the point of C & C as you would just go to the store and look at the products and buy there and then?
Another point of C & C is that you may be collecting the product on someone elses behalf so how would they be able to inspect a product without opening it?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Jo, the Consumer Rights Act says (BEIS guidance)
“3. The Goods should be what the consumer expects
The goods that the consumer receives must:
 Match any description by which the goods were presented
 Match any sample of the goods that they examined or saw
 Match any model goods that they examined or saw
Certain information given to the consumer must also be complied with.
Description and information regarding main characteristics
Where goods are supplied by description, the goods must meet that description. Goods can be supplied by description even if they are available for the consumer to see and select, for example labelled or packaged goods on the shelves of a shop.

Profile photo of JoLawford
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Does that mean we have right to return as Curry’s are flatly refusing?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

I imagine you have a record of what you ordered? I would have thought you need to show this to Currys to demonstrate they have not provided what you ordered. Perhaps Which? can comment.

I’d suggest you quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as supporting your claim, and that to deny your rights is illegal. The store manager is the right person to discuss this with in the event the staff are not trained to understand the CRA.

I’d like to see all retailers display a summary of consumer rights under the CRA, and have a more comprehensive booklet of its provisions available so both customer and staff can (hopefully) resolve any disputes, preferably on the spot. A standard booklet could be produced for all retailers to (buy and) use.

Profile photo of JoLawford
Member

Thanks Malcolm, I did quote consumer rights and they showed me a leaflet that stated that goods could only be returned within 21 days if unopened. My husband also showed them the pictures from the website and the staff member looked on the website and commented that the dimensions were stated on their site and the images were not relevant.
I didn’t however speak to the store manager which is where maybe I went wrong, I certainly won’t use click and collect again as it seems there is more consumer cover when a store delivers your goods than collecting them.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

It is an unreasonable condition to have to return goods unopened, particularly if opening the package is the only way you can check the item. A picture of the item forms a part of the description, I believe, and therefore of your contract with the retailer. I think you are being fobbed off by Currys and if the goods were significantly different from what you expected you should stand your ground.

Member
bishbut says:
13 September 2017

Some businesses and companies will try anything to get away with not doing what is a legal right for them to do It seems to happen every day You sometimes have to be very forceful to make them to do what they must do under legal legalisation Some will go back there time after time even if they had problems with them before

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clairedeavall says:
10 August 2017

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clairedeavall says:
10 August 2017

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Lesley Loyns says:
12 August 2017

I bought a 2006 Mini from a local second hand dealer in May. When I test drove the car the clutch was heavy and I struggled to get into all the gears so he arranged to have a new one fitted and put a 12 month MOT on the car.When I went to collect the car the finance figure he had quoted had suddenly jumped up and he said he’d had problems getting it authorised by one company so went to another without asking me. It added another £500 onto the total amount payable. I was worried about all this affecting my credit score by having credit checks done then refused or not taken up by me, so accepted the car. From the onset the car didn’t drive as well as I hoped but I thought it was due to the clutch ‘bedding in’. In particular I really struggled to get it into reverse and would have to go to 1st gear then reverse to do it, but the gearbox whines terribly. I had a local mechanic have a look at the car and he advised me that it was the diff bearing that has gone which is causing the gearbox to whine. I spoke to the dealer who arranged for a gearbox specialist to inspect it but was told there was nothing they could do to make the gearbox quieter. When I went to collect my car the dealer was at best rude, patronising, abrupt and aggressive. He implied that he’d already done me a favour by replacing the clutch, said I was struggling because I was used to driving an automatic (not true, I was merely driving my husband’s car as mine was at the garage), said I had to start putting the car into neutral then tapping the clutch before attempting to then put the car into reverse. He said the best he could do was to part ex the car for another. I came away completely shaken by his aggressive and threatening manner. My son contacted him and we agreed to have the car looked at independently. I have since paid to have the car inspected and several faults have been flagged up which include~ front brake discs lipped & corroded, rear brake discs corroded & worn thin, engine oil leak, front to rear brake pipes corroded (thick with grease to disguise), corrosion on PAS pipes, n/s inner CV worn, diff noisy-whining in reverse.
Can anybody please advise what I can do to sort this mess out? I don’t know whether those faults should have shown up on the MOT (it had no advisories). The whole situation has been soured and I feel I have bought a money pit and I don’t feel confident driving it. Am I entitled to request to hand it back and have the fiancé cancelled? I have already paid two months’ installments.
Thanks

Member
Mike Hammock says:
14 August 2017

We have just bought a Beko SGA7126P Steam Generator. It was supplied with two “Lime Collecting Cartridges” each of which should last about a month according to the manual. Having contacted Beko Customer Services to request where I could purchase future replacements, they advised that it was a newly released product and they didn’t know and referred me to their Spares Line, where the phone just rang and rang without answer. Without replacement cartridges the generator will be unusable. I have noted a couple of user comments on other web sites concerning the same problem. Does a new product which becomes unusable due to the unavailability of essential consumable spares, breach the “fit for purpose” requirement for a product sold in the UK?

Member
Kevin M says:
14 August 2017

We bought a Beko dishwasher in March 2017, and put it in the kitchen in our warehouse. It washes coffee cups once a fortnight. It has stopped cleaning and smells like it’s about to catch fire.
Both Beko and ao.com (who we bought it from) have said that as it’s a commercial property, the warranty is void and they won’t even send an engineer to look at it.
It’s washed 12 loads from new.
Fit for purpose?

Profile photo of malcolm r
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You could try the Consumer Rights Act and reject i it as it is under 6 months old, thus if there is a fault it is considered to be present from new. If it is clear that it has not been used commercially I do not see why you should be excluded from redress. The CRA overrides any guarantee or warranty – as those document should make clear.

Member
Sarah says:
16 August 2017

I had a Smeg dishwasher, less than a year old that caught fire despite being turned off at the on/off switch. I was in, and called the fire brigade immediately but the fire quickly spread through the cavity walls to my roof and gutted the rear of my house. Luckily it was lunchtime and not overnight as my son’s bedroom was over the room the fire started in and filled with black smoke. I feel we had a lucky escape and just want to recommend you just stop using it, and review it online to warn others.

Member

I had a problem with my Tumble dryer and have just taken the company to the small claims court – I suggest you do the same. It’s only £25 for under £300 and the company in question has to pay the court costs so you get your money back. If more people did this than maybe companies would think twice about ripping customers off. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is on your side – you’ll win.

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Hi Sarah – I’m very sorry to hear of your fire, and thank goodness no-one was injured. I am concerned by the increasing use of plastics in the casings of appliances because there is evidence that they can burn or melt. You have said that the fire spread via the cavity walls, but have you any idea why the fire escaped from inside the machine?

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Roz Kadir says:
14 August 2017

I had a wool and alpaca topper dry cleaner (manufacturers instructions) and the dry cleaner shrank it and the wool is felted. It is now unusable and they refuse to pay to replace it and deny any responsibility whatsoever. I will quote the consumer rights act but not sure it covers this? What do I do if after 14 days he ignores my communication?

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We had new kitchen and appliances ordered from the reputed company two weeks ago. There were few flaws in design and ordered cabinets and units. But our fitter had altered them to fit for purpose. We asked for 50/50 integrated fridge/freezer from the same company. The designer did not tell us how it will look once installed. Fitter had to raise the whole unit to fix the doors. The fridge is too high for me to reach. We called the company and they said their doors come like this only, fridge/freezer has to be raised and there is nothing they can do now. We were not told about it before. In design, he showed the 70/30 doors. Can I ask them to replace the 50/50 fridge/freezer? As 70/30 fridge/freezer will be better for my kitchen and will be easy for me to use.

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Hi KK – You specified the 50/50 fridge-freezer and it is reasonable to expect a company that is both fitting the kitchen and supplying the appliances to establish that they are suitable. On the other hand, replacing the F/F would leave the company with an appliance that cannot be sold as new and probably worth much less than you might imagine. It might be worth trying to get someone from the company to look at the problem. If you are not very tall and were present when they measured up, that might help your case.

It’s certainly worth having a look at the advertising leaflets and terms & conditions to see if they offer a satisfaction guarantee or anything else that could support your case.

Unless you want to take legal advice, one possibility would be to see if you can come to seek a goodwill payment. If you are a Which? subscriber you could take a subscription to Which? Legal and ask for advice or have a word with the local branch of Citizens Advice. Best of luck and please let us know the outcome.

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KK, can you not reach the doors to open them? If a 70/30 F/F is the same overall height as the 50/50 even if you could open the doors in both would you not have the same problem reaching the top of the fridge contents?
If the supplier showed a 70/30 F/F that was suitable, how come you ended up with a 50/50? If that was the kitchen suppliers fault then they could be liable for supplying the correct one. On the other hand, as Wavechange says, you might need to try for a goodwill (part) exchange but it might be tricky and I assume you will need new doors for the cabinet?

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Rhona McBride says:
27 August 2017

I bought a motorhome for £45,750 and asked for an oven to be put in it. I went for our final check and found the fitter had put the oven on the floor, rearranging and doing away with my cupboards. At no time was I told that this oven was too big, which was chosen by the dealer, and that I would loose my cupboard space. Also the adjoining cupboard door has to be opened to enable the oven to be opened and to be left open whilst the oven is being used. Also I am 64 years of age and will have to lie prone on the floor to light the oven. Have I got grounds to get my money back and have the cupboards put back to the way they were? Many thanks.

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Hi Rhona – The company should have given you information about what modifications they planned to do. The installation would have to comply with both the instructions given by the manufacturer and legal requirements for installing gas appliances. It might be worth finding out the name of the engineer who fitted the oven and check that they are not only Gas Safe registered but are also qualified to work on LPG appliances, which is far less common. It is easy to check on the GS website: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer/

If the work has not been carried out by the appropriate engineer the company is breaking the law and should be reported to both Trading Standards and to the Gas Safe Register.

As far as I know, most modern ovens have electric ignition. The manual should indicate whether your oven has this feature. If it does, then I wonder why it has not been connected.

Member
Duncan says:
6 September 2017

I bought a tin of wood preserver to treat some timber that was going to be used for a garden pergola, i read all the instructions, then painted on the preserver, allowed it to dry for 3 days then built the pergola over our patio, it looked great once built 4 days later it rained and the wood preserver (run) washed off and has stained our newly laid patio. considering the product sates it is for garden furniture, sheds, fences. I have rejected the product as not fit for purpose, can i claim for the damage to my patio? The installer has said the stain has set into the blocks and the stained one will need replacing. Thanks.

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Is there a warning on the container about the run-off of wood preserver from the timber in the event of rain, or advice on how to prevent it? If there is any caution at all it is probably along the lines of “test a small area first”.

Normally wood preserver would be absorbed into existing garden timber over a few days and not give rise to much run-off, but with new timber the circumstances could be different. If the timber had recently already been treated with a preservative, possibly by soaking in a tank to achieve saturation, it could have prevented the timber from absorbing a new coating meaning that your new treatment would just wash off as the outer surface of the wood had been made impervious. Personally I think it is difficult to argue that the wood preserver is unfit for purpose – it is the timber that is not fit for treatment as it will not accept the new stain but I doubt whether you would have a valid claim against the timber merchant on those grounds unless, at the time of purchase, you specified it had to be absorbent; but then the timber merchant would probably not sell untreated timber, or timber with a high absorbency factor, because that would make it unfit for purpose in an outdoor environment where buyers are looking for weather resistance and protection from rot.

It is unfortunate that the preservative has stained your patio, presumably around the base of the posts that support the pergola. In my experience such staining never fades away, or at least not for many years, depending on the composition of the patio paving. In some cases it is possible to lift and turn over patio flagstones or paving slabs and use the undersides, but if yours is made of brick paviours the underneath surface will not be suitable and will not match the surrounding blocks. A few replacements should not cost much but the expense will be in breaking out the stained ones, relaying the area, and using kiln-dried sand and a plate vibrator to make the new patch flush with the existing paving. All I could suggest is that you place some carefully positioned plant pots or tubs in the worst affected areas and let nature disguise the damage.

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Duncan says:
7 September 2017

Thanks for your reply john, The timber is oak and is untreated, the base of the support posts are not affected, but i have a perfect pergola shaped stain from the rafters and beams on my patio. I have left a large off-cut from the project on bricks over my patio and nothing is running off of this, so it is the wood preserver that is the problem. The tin has no mention of this problem, but clearly states for garden furniture, sheds, fences and can be applied to wet timber, mine was dry during application and for week before it rained, The timber felt bone dry after treatment and clearly soaked into the timber, then the rain came……… the rest is history. I’m making this my new project, I like a challenge, Ive contacted the supplier with my concerns and they seem to be looking into it, if i get no joy its off to the small claims court for a test case, ill update my progress, but cant mention no names at this stage….

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That the pergola is made of oak makes a big difference which nullifies my previous comment. It is possible that the preservative manufacturer did not anticipate that it might be used on oak, because its properties are different to the soft woods that are used in most garden structures.

Oak is very dense and has a high tannin content that makes it resistant to insect and fungal attack and to decay. It is usually used without any surface treatment and matures to a silver-grey colour. Over time the wood will rot at the point where it enters the ground, but not usually above or below that line. For exposed work, like a pergola, it should last a very long time without treatment. Many oak-framed buildings are still standing today that were built several centuries ago and have never been treated with a preservative; it might twist or crack but its high strength is not impaired.

The question of redress will hinge on whether or not the preservative was fit for purpose, and what that purpose was. I hope you don’t have to go all the way to a court claim, but if you do it will be interesting to see what a judge says.

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It is difficult to envisage what problems might occur, but if in any doubt about the suitability of a product it is worth asking for advice, and it is obviously best to get this in writing.

One of my fences is in good condition but allowed to go rather green. I sanded it and treated it with a fence treatment, but after nine months it is starting to go green again. I may write to the manufacturer and ask for advice, and retain the reply in case I have the same problem.

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Patrick Taylor says:
7 September 2017

Duncan – Advising the name of the preservative is helpful to others who may feel the need to check for this when buying. I cannot see it prejudicing any action that you may take.

You may find this interesting if not totally clear if the site is solely talking about their product.
oakgarages.com/treatment-can-use-oak

Member
Chloe Kavanagh says:
11 September 2017

I have a 1.2 Volkswagen polo, 63 plate. I have had the car 4 years now and its only done 34000 miles. The lease is due up and we have been waiting for them to collect the car. While we was waiting the timing tensioner has failed on the car causing the timing chain to snap and causing other damage in the engine. We sent it to Volkswagen as we were advised this part should not be going and isn’t a perishable or ser, they have refused any good will contribution and now want £2600 to do the repair. I have another car on order with Volkswagen which I now cannot sign for due to all these problems. We are going down the complaints route with Volkswagen finance but have been advised this could take up to 8 weeks, so we are left with no car, and still paying for it. I have had problems from the start with this car, had it 4 days from brand new, was back in vw for 2 weeks being repaired as their was a fault on the engine. This was repaired and I received the car back but it still didn’t seem right, it was loud and rattly. I took it back a further 3 times and was fobbed off each time and told there was nothing wrong with it. Will we get anywhere with Volkswagen finance under the consumer rights act?

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That’s a bit of a nightmare, Chloe. I suggest gathering together any written evidence of earlier problem and getting in touch with Citizens Advice. If you are a Which? member you could take a subscription to Which? Legal and ask for advice. VW were generous to me when I needed a replacement engine on a car that was two years out of guarantee, but that was back in 1989. I have not heard of many cases of goodwill from dealers in recent years.

Please let us know how you get on with your claim.

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The engine apparently sounds very rattly if the timing chain tensioner is on the way out. If you reported this to your VW garage recently and they took no action then you may well have a case against them. Assuming your car has been serviced at the appropriate intervals by a VW approved garage I’d suggest you not only approach your garage but VW direct.

Your insurance company (legal protection) or breakdown organisation may be able to help?

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I thought that motor legal protection related only to claims related to motoring, most commonly uninsured losses. I have certainly not heard of it being used in the case of a claim against a dealer.

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Correct wavechange, checked and mine just covers uninsured losses. Your house insurance may have cover for taking approved legal action.

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Hi, I am actually a member of which legal and was advised by one of the legal advisors that if the report from Volkswagen states the timing tensioner has gone causing all the other damage that we have been sold a faulty car and to take it up the with finance company under the consumer rights act which is the course we are now taking. Just means a long process off waiting around, I have no car and I’m still paying out for it. I’m hoping we get somewhere with them and we get some sort of contribution.

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The car was fine, I had no warning lights. I pulled up at home the car started to judder, I switched off the engine and tried to turn it back on and from that point it wouldn’t start. Baring in mind all the problems it had from the start I think Volkswagen should be taking responsibility of this vehicle and repairing it

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In your case, as you bought the car before Oct 2015, I believe your claim would be under the Sale of Goods Act. If you have the evidence that you complained about the rattly engine from the start, and that the garage did nothing about it, it seems a good basis to pursue a pre-existing fault claim. If not, you could try a “durability” claim, in that it is unreasonable to have a catastrophic failure in a relatively short time (in the expected life of a car), providing it has been properly maintained.

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Hi Chloe – It would be worth checking the service interval for a timing chain and tensioner, which is likely to be 80-100k miles. If the source of the initial rattling was the timing chain (engines can rattle for other reasons) then wear should be apparent, which would help your case.

The Consumer Rights Act does not provide a guarantee, of course, but I would have thought that a fair resolution would be to pay at least half the cost of repairs, or the full cost if it can be shown that the problem existed at the time of purchase.

I don’t understand why the company wants up to eight weeks to take action. Most of us don’t have a spare car to use while repairs are being carried out.

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I have all the reports from vw from when I baught the car and it went back in their garage n all the other reports from when I kept taking it back. My car has been fully serviced and maintained with Volkswagen. The manager of Volkswagen actually told us the timing tensioner isn’t a perishable part and shouldn’t of gone, yet they are still not willing to do anything about it. I asked them to explain why it had gone and they couldn’t give me an explanation.

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They say up to 8 weeks but will more than likely be resolved before hand, but this still leaves me with no vehicle! Timing tensioners and chains should be lasting a lifetime of a vehicle or atleast 100k miles, we was told this by Volkswagen themselves yet still not willing to budge on repairing it.

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Perhaps it is worth taking this up with the VW head office, Chloe. When I was offered a new engine (I paid for fitting), that had to be authorised by them. You might have a case for suspending payments until the saga is over and Which? Legal should be able to advise.

I have little time for the Telegraph motoring site for various reasons I won’t go into, but they have a list of reported problems for many models of car. That might identify if there is a problem with your model. Years ago, many Vauxhall engines were wrecked by failure of timing belt tensioners.

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Do you have contact details for head office? I will try them today.

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From their website, Customer Care is: 0800 0833 914

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Hi Chloe – I had the same issues with my Vauxhall. I went straight to the CEO and PR team and who gave me a courtesy car for 8 weeks. whilst the car was being fixed. It was on Finance (who were useless) and I promptly sold the car onwards once I had it back and now have a Nissan on lease. I also made them do an MOT and full service as a goodwill gesture. My advice, ALWAYS go to the CEO and copy in as many senior managers as possible and BBC watchdog. You need to be very persistent – good luck! PS in future NEVER take a car on lease for longer than the manufacturer warranty, that way it wont affect you at all. I never lease cars for more than 3 years for this reason…..

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Ian Hart says:
12 September 2017

Some years ago, I purchased a (pre registered) new FIAT Punto, for my daughter; at two years old, it went in for its first service (with well under 7,000 miles on the clock), only for us to be told that the front brake discs & callipers needed to be replaced, at great expense. I agreed to the work being carried out, under protest; & insisted that the faulty parts were given into my custody, after the repairs had been completed. I then wrote to the dealership’s head office, to lay out my claim for reimbursement of the repair costs. Their reply was that as the car had under average mileage, & as we had had some very wet weather, then it was to down to those factors that the damage had been caused to those car parts. My reply to that, was asking why it was desirable in every other car marque, to have a low mileage example, & also that if that were in fact their argument – why weren’t all the other low, mid or high mileage cars on the road, also suffering from those very same faults? I also sent a copy of my letters & the dealership’s replies to me, to FIAT UK. I was then contacted by the garage, who asked me to bring in the faulty parts, as FIAT wished to inspect them. I did as requested, but asked the garage to give me a signed & dated receipt for the parts. “Nobody’s going to steal them!” was their reply; but I persisted. FIAT eventually sent me a cheque for £200, as a ‘goodwill gesture.’ When I asked the garage for the parts back, they told me that as FIAT had paid me for them, they were now the property of FIAT UK, so that FIAT had retained & then destroyed them. I instigated proceeding in the small claims court, for the outstanding balance of £600, which I believed was still owed to me. As soon as the garage received their copy of the court paperwork, they paid up in full. I have to say, that this was in the days of the 12 month guarantee; but even so, it is still the car makers & dealerships, who are making it far too difficult for us as consumers, to maintain any real trust in the system, which they all too easily seem able to abuse in their own favour.

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Kevin Dickson says:
12 September 2017

Bought a new Vauxhall Astra in 2010 part exchange it in 2015 as it needed a 3rd intercooler pipe in 5 years as it had split again. Vauxhall and the dealership not interested in helping me with the £300-£400 cost. My argument was that original pipe was changed under warranty so I should get a new 3 year warranty on the new part being fitted but was told it’s only a year. Never buying Vauxhall again.

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That seems common with guarantees and warranties. However, I’d have pursued an “unfit for purpose” design and lack of durability as a claim. 3 pipes in 5 years? I would have thought a design fault or manufacturing fault was clear-cut. What would Which? Legal think?

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bishbut says:
13 September 2017

the best thing to do never buy that product ever again But you are only a small fish in a large ocean they will not worry

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bishbut says:
13 September 2017

As I said previously all firms will try to get out of doing anything if they can even if it means they are not following the rules or legal legalisation How about a legal punishment for the worst offenders

Member
Nick Allen says:
28 September 2017

My 86 year old mum who lives in Southampton entered into a telephone contract with a Jaz Band called The Gershwin Gang, and booked them to appear on Monday 26th September 2017, for a Charity Dinner, which was to raise money for a Children’s Hospital Centre in Southampton.
She paid a £300 deposit at the end of July 17’ out of her own purse and received a letter confirming receipt and acceptance of the gig.
The Charity itself did not want to risk the £1,150 which was payment in full.
Due to lack of interest my mum cancelled on 4th Sept 17’ two weeks ago.
The chap at the Gershwin Band (Selwyn Dorfman) is quoting Consumer Contracts (ICAC) Regulations 2013 and telling her she cannot cancel and wants his money. A further £850! (I spoke with him recently, not a nice man I might add).
Surely she has a right to cancel with due notice(22days in this case) without further penalty?

Regards all – Nick (her son)

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Nick this sounds like you’d benefit from having a look at our consumer rights section. We have lots of information about UK regulations, including contract laws, and also letter templates (if needed).
http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations

Hope this helps 🙂

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Carole Lewis says:
28 September 2017

I purchased scented oil diffusers to fit in the air vents of my car. One of them leaked and the liquid was corrosive and dripped down onto the surround of my heating and air conditioning controls. It rotted the plastic surround. They were purchased from Halfords who have refused to compensate me for repair. I have started legal proceedings in the County Court. I hope this 2015 law will apply.

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Best of luck with your complaint, Carole, but if the oil damages the plastic, is it good to be breathing it? Many household and garden products once believed to be safe have ended up being banned years later.

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I have recently taken my university final exams. For two of the exams – on different days – the cooling system did not work and the temperature was so high I found it impossible to concentrate. Loads of students complained and the faculty awarded everyone an extra 3 marks. I complained about this as I felt that the exams should not have started under these conditions and that the awarding of an extra 3 marks was no where near adequate compensation. Under the Consumer Rights Act am I able to reject this “repair” and insist that I am either financially compensated or able to retake the exam(s)?

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There doesn’t seem to be prescribed limits – hot or cold – for a workplace, so you might well have difficulty pursuing a legal claim. http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/faq.htmr. It will be interesting to see whether the results differ from others taken in a better environment.

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Hi Gazman – What has happened is that marks for the exam have been ‘moderated’ and the university was correct to treat all students in the same way. A sensible approach would be to compare the average exam marks with those achieved by students taking the same exam in the last couple of years, assuming that the module content has not significantly changed.

In most degrees the final mark is calculated from marks for exams and various other assessments including a final year project and are likely to include marks gained in the previous year, so the two exams might contribute less that you might think to your degree mark and classification. This very much depends on the degree and how it is assessed.

I strongly advise that you discuss this further with the appropriate people. The Head of Department should be able to advise you where to get help, and you can also contact the university union for independent advice. If you do wish to pursue this further, then you can make a complaint under the Consumer Rights Act. Here is information about the role of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and how to make a complaint about your university: http://www.oiahe.org.uk/media/42715/oia_intro_leaflet_16pp.pdf

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Jeevan says:
2 October 2017

I bought a car accessory worth £350 through ebay. It was advertised as collection only. However because of the distance, I made an agreement with the seller that I would arrange a courier to collect it. I arranged the courier online through a parcel retailer and it was collected promptly. However after more than 10 days I still have no idea where the item is. The retailer claims they have done an investigation and could not locate the item so it is deemed lost. Now, I have not take taken a compensation insurance for the items value and it is very unlikely to get a compensation from the courier retailer. What could i do? What are my rights in this case. Appreciate your guidance.

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