UK/Scottish/Welsh Law/car

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Question
i bought a second hand car from a garage 14th april 2014.in the first month the bumper fell off,plus garage wouldnt give me wheel locking key to take wheels off,the car has so many faults..ie 2 ball joints,spring.discs,warning ignition light is on brake pads,bonnet catch,and also had 4 bauld tyres..the garage advertised 1 year MOT with every car sold.but told me it has a long MOT,whats my rights?thank you.

Answer
Hi John,

Civil matter, not criminal, but ...

It is important that you bought from a trader (the garage) as a customer, and not privately. It is also relevant if they offered a warranty of any kind and if you paid for the car on credit.

Where a warranty has been provided (by a manufacturer or a third party provider eg garage dealer), it is a separate agreement (aside from the agreement between retailer and consumer for the sale of goods as below).

It is important to establish exactly who the warranty agreement is with and its terms. For example, second and third year warranties for cars are sometimes referred to as dealer warranties and it may be the case that the dealer or retailer, or a third party warranty provider, has obligations under those agreements.

If you have purchased a car by means of a loan or credit terms and this was arranged through the car dealer, then section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 provides that in certain circumstances the finance company is equally responsible with the car supplier for any breach of contract or misrepresentation. In this case compensation can also be sought from the finance company.

Once you are sure of your facts, you should make the garage aware - very politely and nicely! - that you know your rights as a customer and ask them to fulfil their responsibilities as a trader (both under the Sale of Goods Act/warranty).

If they still won't refund your money or repair the car, go and speak to your local Citizens Advice centre - www.citizensadvice.org.uk - and, if necessary, your local council's Trading Standards Dept.

Under sale of goods legislation (Sale of Goods Act 1979) consumers are entitled to expect that any goods (including vehicles) they buy are of satisfactory quality. That is, that the goods meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory taking into account the way they are described, their price, and any other relevant circumstances, such as the fact that they are second-hand or used.

Matters which should be considered in assessing whether goods are of a satisfactory quality are:

• whether they are fit for the purpose for which goods of that kind are commonly supplied, or fit for any other specified purpose;

• whether they are of satisfactory appearance and finish and free from any defects;

• whether they are safe and durable and as described.

If a product that was not of satisfactory quality at the time of the sale is returned to the retailer, the buyer is entitled to a full refund (if it is within a reasonable time of the sale), or, if a “reasonable time “ has elapsed, to a reasonable amount of compensation. The consumer needs to demonstrate the goods were not of satisfactory quality at the time of sale. This is so if the consumer chooses to request an immediate refund or compensation. It is also the case for any product returned more than six months after the date of sale.

There is one exception – this is where the consumer returns the goods in the first six months from the date of sale and requests a repair or replacement or a partial refund. In that case, the consumer does not have to prove the goods were faulty at the time of sale. It is assumed that they were. If the retailer does not agree, it is for the retailer to prove that the goods were satisfactory at the time of sale.

Any legal proceedings to enforce a claim must be started within 6 years of the date of sale.

If you feel you were misled when buying the car repaired, the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 makes it an offence for any person in the course of any trade or business to make a statement which is false about goods or as to the provision of any services, accommodation or facilities.

The Act is enforced by local authority trading standards departments who can investigate complaints and, where necessary prosecute. You may, therefore, wish to consider bringing this matter to the attention of your local trading standards at your local Council.

If a dispute reaches the stage where a buyer is unable to gain satisfactory recompense from the seller then, ultimately, the only option may be to look to the courts to enforce these rights.

A local Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to advise on the procedure.

Also, the garage may be a member of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, The Vehicle Builders and Repairers’ Federation or the MVRA Ltd and you can write to:

National Conciliation Service

Retail Motor Industry Federation

2nd Floor, Chestnut House,

9 North Street

Rugby

CV21 2AB

MVRA Ltd

Glenfield Business Park

Philips Road

Blackburn

BB1 5QH

Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association

Belmont House

Gildersome

Leeds

LS27 7TW

Good luck!

UK/Scottish/Welsh Law

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