I recently purchaced a car from a local independant dealer. It is an '03 plate with 75k on the clock, FSH & was paid for in cash. We have since experienced problems & after our first visit to the dealer we found him completely unhelpful...not even bothering to leave his chair to look at the car. We then monitored the problems we were experiencing with the car & took it to a main dealership for diagnostics. With the diagnostic report, we revisited the car seller where he became very agressive, blaming the problems on anyone but himself and completely ridiculing the diagnostic report. He again did not leave his chair to look at the car however after his agression we stated we would contact TS and he finally agreed to look at the car the next week (saturday coming). We have hand delivered the following letter to him and are about to deliver the 2nd one:
We are writing about the above vehicle bought from you on 18 August 2010.
Since owning it we have experienced a problem which we initially thought might be a blown head gasket. We brought the vehicle back to you on 30 October 2010, notified you of the problem, and enquired about the warranty terms. The symptoms were described to you as sludge on the oil filler cap and seemingly high oil usage. You were unable to provide a copy of the warranty and did not offer to take the car back to check it over.
The high oil usage has continued to cause concern and on the advice of our regular mechanic we have been monitoring this carefully. The mileage when we bought the car from you was approximately 73,000 it is now 76,700 and we have used 3.5 litres of oil. There are no obvious leaks. Our concerns over this vehicle have caused us to take it to XXXXXXXX for checking at a cost of £49.95. They have diagnosed the following faults; internal engine fault for which the head will need to be removed to confirm, cylinders 1 & 2 leaking by 90% and 85% respectively. The cost of this investigation would be £300 before any repair work can take place. Also the suspension has play in the o/s/f upper strut bearing and the o/s/r coils spring is broken. They are of the opinion the sludge may be caused by a blocked breather pipe. A copy of their report is attached. These faults should not be present on a car of that mileage.
It seems clear that these problems have existed since we bought the car from you and that the vehicle is not fit for its purpose. We would like the vehicle repaired or replaced, please could you contact us on tel no to arrange which course of action you would rather take and to give us an idea of the timescale in which you will resolve this.
Further to our meeting of yesterday’s date we write to confirm the details of our conversation.
We gave you a copy of our initial letter and a copy of the report from Evans Halshaw. You have immediately rejected their diagnosis that there is an internal engine fault such as worn rings or bores and assumed the fault to be a head gasket which you tell us is not covered under our statutory rights. Your diagnosis was made without even looking at the car.
Whilst compression loss may be explained by head gasket, oil loss is not unless it is leaking into the coolant system which appears to be clean and does not become pressurised when the engine is run. Also there is minimal coolant loss. The only other way oil loss can be explained is either by a leak, which is not apparent, a cracked block, or by being burnt after escaping the piston rings due to wear or damage of either the ring or piston bore. The presence of a catalytic converter would mask the smoke which would arise from this. A ‘sniffer test’ may prove that the head gasket has failed, and may need repairing first before carrying out another compression test to establish the condition of the piston rings/bores.
You asked us what it was we wanted which was made absolutely clear in the last letter and we confirmed that again verbally, to fulfil your legal obligation to prove that the car was of satisfactory quality when you sold it to us, and to take the car back in for inspection. Should XXXXXX's diagnosis prove to be correct, then we would reiterate that the car needs to be repaired or replaced.
We would also like to record that when asked to do this you initially became quite aggressive and told us that if we wanted to start talking about what your legal obligations were then you were quite prepared to go to court over it and also threatened that it could cost us a lot of money. You gave an example of another of your customers who has recently been in court with you over a Land Rover Freelander and you told us it cost him £3500. Perhaps if your approach to dealing with after sales problems was less confrontational you may end up in court with your customers less often.
You also quick to state that the other defects mentioned in XXXXXXX's report, were not on the car when we bought it from you. Noteably this related to the snapped coil spring, which is sadly probably impossible to prove at this stage.
Only after being pushed did you offer to take the vehicle in for inspection, and with the intention of proving that the fault was the head gasket. You also stated that oil consumption of 1 litre per 1000 miles was considered normal on modern cars, ours has used 3.5 litres in 2000 miles which by any standard is excessive. We will be bringing it in to you next Saturday at 09.00 as agreed.
We would like point out that we are reasonable people and only expecting what is reasonable to expect from an ‘03 plate car with 73,000 miles usage which we bought at a cost of £2100, and for you to act responsibly when it comes to dealing with the problem. We realise that you probably had no idea that there was a problem with the car when you sold it to us and that sometimes these things happen, but that is exactly why we bought from a dealer in the first place so that we would have the protection offered by consumer rights should it come to a situation like this.
We are currently unable to use the car due to its condition and will be hiring one so that I can get to work and we look forward to you resolving this matter without further delay.
Are we doing the right thing at the moment?
Do we have a case?
Could we expect a refund? This would be my prefered option.
Is there anything else i should do/others i should write to at this moment?
I am also currently unable to get to work easily, it is a 74mile round trip with no direct public transport links so this is putting huge strain on my day to day life & i am considering car hire...would i be able to claim for this? The dealer seems in no hurry to help us.
Thanks in anticipation for your help. Am feeling a tad bulldozed by all this at the moment! :$