I bought a car that became unfit for use after 5 weeks (and this was a low mileage 5 year old car sold as 'in excellent condition'). I paid in full for the car. I have been patient with the garage that sold it to me but after a serious breakdown that put me at risk I am not prepared to use this car any more. I have drafted a letter to the garage but have not yet sent it as I wish to get as much info as possible before I do so.
Here is the letter including a full rundown of events, and with some sensitive details removed. Any help or advice relating to this case/my rights would be much appreciated.
Dear XXXXX Motor Company,
Further to our telephone conversations on Thursday 6th December regarding the Peugeot 1007 - reg XXXXX - that I purchased from you on 24th July 2012. I would like to clarify the facts regarding my problems with car so far so that there may be no discrepancies. Additionally, I would like to state the law relating to cars that show faults within a short time of purchase. I am also concerned that after several telephone conversations, no arrangements have been made to recover the vehicle and you seem to have little interest in helping me at any expense your company.
23rd July 2012: Car viewed and test driven, selling price of £3000 agreed on the condition that I purchase 12 month gold warranty and a £200 holding fee paid by credit card, plus credit card fee of £5.
27th July 2012: Balance for car/warranty and tax disc purchased by debit card at £3068.50. Total paid = £3273.50.
2nd September 2012: 5 weeks after purchasing the car a serious fault occurs during trip into XXXXX which is 1 mile from home; the display states "Automatic Gear Fault" and the car rev's wildly, warning lights flash and the car goes out of gear and will not move. On this occasion I took an over an hour to get 1 mile home as I as had to keep switching the car off for 10 minutes, switching it back on and coasting for a couple of hundred yards before the same fault happened again. The next day you agreed to come and view the car and confirmed that it has a fault. You then towed the car away and had it looked at by two garages, one of whom was a "French car specialist". Diagnostic tests were run on the car (at my expense: £45) and nothing was found. The garage then simply "reset" certain computational elements and I was told the car was running normally and that I should come and collect it at my own expense.
October 2012: On two separate occasions the car displays the fault and cuts out/won't start. Each and every time the car cuts out or will not move the same fault message occurs as on 2nd September: "Automatic Gear Fault". On the first occasion the car cut out whilst I was driving to work requiring me to think quickly and coast onto the hard shoulder of the XXXX motorway. The car eventually returned to normal, would drive and I arrived late for work. On Sunday the 14th of October I attempted to drive to the shops - the car would not start at all stating the same fault message as before and would not start for the whole afternoon. On Monday morning the car ran as normal. I reported these intermittent faults to XXXX over the phone (I can provide exact dates and time of phone calls from my itemised historical phone bills) and was clearly told to keep using the car and see how it goes.
Mid November 2012: The car displayed the fault message whilst driving causing me to panic and pull over, however with the engine left running the car seemed to clear itself of the fault within a couple of minutes and I was able to continue on my journey.
5th December 2012: At approximately 7pm whilst driving home from work the car breaks down catastrophically. Exactly the same pattern occurs: although I am driving at a low speed, the car revs wildly, goes out of gear, beeps loudly and displays the message "Automatic Gear Fault". This occurred on the XXXXX when I was in the middle of three lanes of traffic at rush hour. The car would not move whatsoever and I could not even coast over to the hard shoulder, I was literally stuck in the middle lane of the dual carriage way. I put my hazard warning lights on and switched off the engine. I tried to restart the engine and immediately the fault message flashed up and the car would not move. I repeated this step again, trying to re start the car, to no avail. After about 15 minutes I became very distressed and tried to call my parents; at the same time a police man who had been stuck behind me came to my assistance, saw that I was extremely upset and stopped three lanes of traffic while he pushed my car to the side of the road. He gave me a police reference number for the incident and told me to phone my breakdown recovery service, XXXXX Rescue, then he had to leave. I called the breakdown service and although they gave my rescue urgent status due to my being a lone female, on the hard shoulder at night. Due to the snow that day XXXXX Rescue were only able to offer me rescue at midnight - 4 and a half hours from the time I phoned them. I called them repeatedly in the intervening period and still was not able to get assistance any sooner. I asked if I could leave the car and get a taxi home and was told this was too dangerous (to leave the car on the hard shoulder) and I must accept rescue "as soon as possible" rather than pre booking it. I tried to call various taxi companies for a taxi that would take me home for a couple of hours and bring me back to the car for midnight. I was told that the soonest taxi that could collect me would be at midnight as they were also stretched. At this point I had no choice but to sit in the car for nearly 5 hours, alone in the dark and freezing cold and await rescue. This was extremely frightening, my safety was put at risk and it is all due to a recurring electrical fault that you have as yet been unable to fix and was present at the point of buying the car (see the Sale of Goods Act 1979 below for clarification of this point). XXXX Rescue arrived just before midnight and were unable to get the car moving. I was told that under the terms and conditions of my cover I could only be recovered to one destination (at this point I was desperate to go home) and that as the car was deemed faulty and unfit for use, I must not drive the car again until the fault has been identified and fixed. If I do drive the car again it is "on my own head" and I will not be rescued under my policy. As you can understand I am not prepared to put myself at risk again by attempting to drive this car.
6th December 2012: I call your company and speak to XXXXX in the morning to explain what has happened and that I am not prepared to drive the vehicle. I am told to await a call back. XXXXX then calls me back and asks if I have attempted to drive the car this morning: I explain that I have not and am not prepared the drive the car until it has been fixed. I also remind XXXXX that the car had minor faults in the period between the major breakdowns on 2nd September and 5th December and in no way has the original fault been eradicated. XXXX tells me that "normally people would just take a car that breaks down to the garage" and that his only advice is that I take the car to Peugeot at my own expense. I am offered no other help.
At lunch time I call XXXX back and explain that I am I unhappy with the response so far as the car has been faulty since "Day 1" and I have been through a very frightening ordeal. XXXX states that I should have been in touch after the minor faults occurred in October and that XXXX Motor Company "have not heard from me up until now", somewhat implying that the events of the night before are somehow my fault for continuing to use the car and not getting in touch. I quickly correct XXXXX and state that I did get in touch after the more minor faults and was told to "see how the car goes" and that this must have been forgotten about. After repeatedly stating that I expect more help than has been offered, XXXX offers to contact the Peugeot Garage on my behalf and book me in. I state that as this fault is the responsibility of XXXXX Motor Company and that I expect :
1) Recovery the the nearest Peugeot garage at your expense, any other costs outside the 12 month warranty to be covered by yourselves and the provision of a courtesy car at no expense to myself
2) For you refund me for the car and keep it off road until it is thoroughly fixed before selling it; enabling me to purchase a safe vehicle. I also explained to XXXXX that if I am unable to travel 25 miles to work every day I may face losing my job, and that since I live in the countryside, public transport is not really an option.
XXXXXX then offered to see if the Peugeot garage will waive any diagnostic fees and provide a courtesy car for me at their own expense. I state that I feel it is not their place to do this but I am happy for XXXXX to ask. I am not offered a replacement vehicle by XXXXX Motor Company, nor do you offer to cover any other costs. I texted XXXXX my registration number in the the early evening, on his request, and have not yet heard anything more from XXXXX Motor Company.
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 if a fault occurs on a vehicle within 6 months of purchase it is deemed that the fault was present at the time of purchase. As such I am entitled to ask the garage to repair the vehicle or to refund me fully. If a fault occurs so soon after purchase the supplier is in breach of contract for supplying a car which was not "of satisfactory quality" or did not remain so for a reasonable period of time.
Furthermore, I am also entitled to ask for a replacement car or hire car whilst we are in dispute. If the dealer declines to do this then I can recover any costs incurred for hiring a vehicle and add it to any future claim.
What I require:
1. The speedy and satisfactory repair of the afore mentioned car at your expense, which entails identifying and eradicating the root cause of this persistent fault. I also expect a courtesy car at no expense to myself.
2. If satisfactory repair is not possible I require a full refund of all monies paid to XXXXX Motor Company relating to the afore mentioned vehicle. To date I have paid £3318.50 to XXXXXXX Motor Company for this faulty vehicle.
I require you to respond within 7 days of the date of this letter (date as postmark). In your reply please provide a clear indication of how you would like to proceed in terms of repairing the vehicle speedily. Otherwise I will request a full refund under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 .
The vehicle is currently located at XXXXXXXX. You are welcome to view the vehicle. Please inform me in writing beforehand so that arrangements can be made. I will accept an email as written notification and my email address is XXXXXXXXXX.
Once an agreement has been reached to the points contained within this letter, you are welcome to return the vehicle to your business premises (at your own expense).
Once again, I am claiming for either a speedy and proper repair to this vehicle - and you must notify of your plans to do this within 7 days - or I will request a full refund, taking further action if necessary.
I hope that you will enter into a sincere dialogue about this matter and I am writing this letter to you on the assumption that you will prefer to deal with this matter in a reasonable fashion, rather than the need for further action to be taken.
Any help appreciated as I am pretty stuck and feel I have been sold a dud. Thank you.