Which? Legal member Naima Begum bought a dangerous car that turned out to have faults so serious an expert said that it was unsafe to drive.
Naima bought the used Audi for £4,695 from CJS Car Sales in Swinton, Greater Manchester, in June 2015. After just a few days, she heard a loud noise from the engine and contacted the dealer, who advised her to give it a week to settle down.
But a week later, the noise was still there, so Naima had it inspected by an Audi main dealer, which found many faults. She went back to CJS Car Sales, but it refused to do anything further.
Our advice for the owner of a dangerous car
Naima contacted Which? Legal for help. As she got the car in June 2015, her rights come under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (goods bought on or after 1 October 2015 come under the Consumer Rights Act 2015). Under the law, the car Naima bought should have been of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. This should be assessed taking into account its age, condition and mileage.
At this stage, she had the car checked by an independent expert at Halfords, who concluded that it was dangerous. So we advised Naima to argue a breach of contract.
She went to back to CJS Car Sales, but it inspected the car, said there was nothing wrong with it and refused to do anything further. It didn’t even return the vehicle – instead it charged her storage costs.
We advised Naima to issue proceedings for the cost of the car and her financial losses, including fuel costs and the insurance premium. The judge found fully in her favour and she received £5,487 for her claim and court fees of £525.
In England and Wales, the limit for a small claim like this is £10,000. You have to pay a court issue fee – this amount will depend upon your claim’s value. If your claim is defended and a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, it will proceed to a final hearing, for which a fee is payable. The case is heard in front of a District Judge, where both parties will have a chance to challenge the other’s evidence.
Have you had a similar problem with a car you bought? What happened?