Here’s how we helped a member get a refund after the second-hand car they bought broke down on the drive home.
A Which? Legal member bought a second-hand Citroen Picasso C4 from a small independent dealership in March 2017, costing £2,700.
It had 72,000 miles at the point of sale, and appeared to be in good condition.
The member couldn’t test drive it because the dealer didn’t have plates available, so instead they went ahead with the purchase in good faith.
During the drive home from the dealership, the car broke down as a result of multiple faults , so the member contacted us for advice.
After talking to us, the member tried to reject the car and get a refund, but the dealership refused. This meant that the member was forced to issue proceedings in the small claims court.
After 12 months he had his hearing and was awarded the full amount by the judge, including the costs of going to court.
Not of satisfactory quality
Because the car he’d bought wasn’t of satisfactory quality during the first 30 days of purchase, the member was entitled to the short-term right to reject.
After the dealership refused to co-operate, we advised that they should get an independent report to confirm the faults. The dealership also had its own report done by a mechanic that it used regularly for MOT tests, which was not considered to be ‘independent evidence’.
We then advised them on the small claims court procedure, from how to issue proceedings to how to prepare for the final hearing with the judge.
What does the law say?
According to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods should be of satisfactory quality.
When exercising the short-term right to reject, in this case the burden was on the consumer to provide evidence of the fault, as the dealer outright refused to engage with the complaint.
A judge would have to decide, on the balance of probabilities, whether or not the car was to the standard it should have been at the point of sale.
It was likely to have been a deciding factor in the judge’s decision that the member’s report was an independent opinion, and that the car broke down so soon after he bought it.
Have you ever ended up in the small claims court after being refused the right to reject?