It’s frustrating when you’re trying to resolve a problem that concerns more than one company. We help a member get his money back after his car battery stopped working and both the retailer and the car dealership refused to help.
Which? Legal member John Smith bought a new car battery from Kwikfit in July 2017. A staff member said it would be suitable for his Vauxhall Zafira 1.9 CDI.
A few weeks after fitting the battery, John had trouble starting the car on a couple of occasions, and then it wouldn’t start at all. Following a repair by a main dealership, he was told that the battery would not hold a full charge and that it needed replacing.
However, Kwikfit said it couldn’t give him a refund as it hadn’t checked the battery. The dealership suggested that it could only replace the battery if it was faulty.
John pointed out that it might not be faulty, but could just be the wrong battery for his particular car. He also explained that he’d had to buy a new battery from the main dealership just to get the car to run. At this point, he contacted us for advice.
We advised John to make a formal complaint to Kwikfit and gave him a letter template setting out the relevant law, the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Using the template, John asserted that the dealer had clearly failed in its legal obligations on multiple grounds and was in breach of contract. He returned to Kwikfit with a printed copy of this letter and, after a debate with staff, he got a full refund.
Consumer contracts are governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (if entered into on or after 1 October 2015) or the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (if entered into before then).
These make it an implied term that traders will supply goods that are of satisfactory quality and fit for the specified purpose, if that purpose is made clear to the retailer at the time of purchase.
If the retailer doesn’t comply, you have the right to request a repair or replacement, which the retailer must provide within a reasonable time, without causing significant inconvenience, and bearing the costs itself.
The Act also requires service providers to carry out their service with reasonable skill and care. If they don’t, you have the right to request a ‘repeat performance’ of the service from the trader, which it must do at no extra cost.
This article by the Which? Legal team originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of Which? magazine.
Have you ever been stuck between two companies with a problem that neither of them wants to help you with? Did you make any formal complaints and did you manage to get the problem resolved?