/ Motoring

Brief cases: out of pocket after rejecting a faulty car

We helped a member to claim back the expenses he incurred after buying a faulty car…

Which? Legal member Andy Bunday bought a used Mercedes C180 Kompressor estate car, costing £2,569, from a used-car dealership in July 2017.

Shortly afterwards, he found faults with the second hand car, which were eventually diagnosed as a major electrical issue. After doing some research, he discovered that the previous owner had experienced the same issues.

Andy rejected the car and was given a full refund, but was still left out of pocket for the expenses he incurred while he owned it.

After the company refused to resolve the dispute amicably, Andy issued proceedings through the small claims court.

Our advice

We informed Andy of his rights in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, specifically that the dealership was in breach of contract for selling him a faulty car, and advised him on how to reject the car during the first 30 days of purchase.

We then explained what expenses he could claim back from the company. When it refused, we talked Andy through the small claims court procedure, from how to complete forms to preparing for the final hearing.

The judge found in Andy’s favour and awarded him £1,180.47, which he received a few days later.

The law

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that a trader must ensure its products are of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match the description.

If a fault arises during the first 30 days of having a car, you are legally entitled to reject it and get a full refund. In this case the judge found that, as the car was a luxury model, Andy could expect a higher standard than from other second-hand cars.

As the dealer was in breach of contract for selling a faulty car, Andy could also claim reasonable and foreseeable expenses, known as ‘consequential losses’.

These must be financial losses which were caused as a direct result of the trader’s breach of contract. Andy was able to claim the costs of failed garage repairs, car-hire fees and insurance-related costs.

Cars: are you happy to buy secondhand?
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Comments
Member

I would be interested to have more details of the financial losses claimed by Andy: “… the costs of failed garage repairs, car-hire fees and insurance-related costs.”, particularly the costs of the garage repairs. I don’t understand why he was charged for repairs on a newly purchased secondhand car.

Could anyone who buys a new car or other product make a claim for financial losses if it lets them down?

Member

In the introduction we are told: “In this case the judge found that, as the car was a luxury model, Andy could expect a higher standard than from other second-hand cars.” The car in question was sold by a dealer for £2,569, so taking into account the cost of providing some sort of warranty and the dealer’s profit, the value of the car will be small, less than 10% of the cost of a new car and could well be ten years old. Yes it would have been an expensive purchase when it was new but now it’s just another cheap secondhand car.