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John R Brown

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About John R Brown

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  1. This customer contacted us a week or so ago, with reference to purchasing a Land Rover® Series 3 from us. This vehicle was a trade in from a customer, and was driven by him, from London, to our premises in Yorkshire, where he exchanged it for a camper, as he wished to own a vehicle he could camp in. He had owned the vehicle for some ten years, and informed us that he was sorry to see it go, and that it had never let him down. The vehicle is a rare diesel, tax exempt, and has a valuable Capstan winch fitted, which he demonstrated to me. As such, it is a desirable vehicle. The MOT on it was supplied by his local garage, and had some 5 or so months remaining. The vehicle was put through our in house schedule, as all our vehicles are, and it was road tested. It was found to be a very nice driving Series 3, which is uncommon in early diesels, as they tend to be very agricultural. This was not. The vehicle was listed for sale on our website. When Mr XXXXXXXXX called, I was not in the unit, and our workshop manager took the call. Mr XXXXXXXXX offered £7,200 for the vehicle, advertised on our site at £7,995. The workshop manager contacted me to ask my opinion about the offer. Our vehicles are priced carefully, and we don't always have a large margin to work with. I told him that the only premise on which a vehicle would be sold with that sort of discount, would be to a trader, at a trade price. Within the trade, a trade sale is generally understood that you accept the vehicle in the condition provided, and with no recourse with regards to warranty or subsequent action. This information was forwarded to Mr XXXXXXXXX, who insisted that he wished to proceed on a trade basis, at a purchase price of £7,200 with no warranty implied or given. To confirm this sale, we sent, as we always do, our confirmation of purchase email, which gives all the information we are required to send by law. It gives customers their rights to return under what was the distance selling regulations, as well as relaying information about the vehicle, customer modifications, special requests etc etc. In one section of the email there is a section marked " Additional notes/conditions of purchase". This section is right at the top of the email, and is both clear and obvious. Under that section I wrote, in line with the telephone conversation "Trade Sale (£800 discount on asking price) with no warranty implied or given." Mr XXXXXXXXX entered into a trade sale and contract with us, received written confirmation via email on Wednesday 10th December, yet in his email of 18th December he writes "Please note this is not a trade sale I am not a trader." Clearly, Mr XXXXXXXXX is not reporting events as they happened. When Mr XXXXXXXXX received his vehicle, we hear from the independent delivery company that he seemed satisfied with it. There was talk of him rebuilding it in times future. At 3pm on the day after delivery, our office staff received a phone call from Mr XXXXXXX saying that he had had the vehicle inspected by a garage and there were numerous faults with it, making it unsafe. He followed this call up, within the hour, with an email, and a video he recorded of a mechanic supposedly impartially assessing the condition of the vehicle. At this point it is prudent to say that when we sell a vehicle at the asking price, we offer a full money back, no quibble, on return of the vehicle to our unit. We also offer our in-house 3 month warranty, which covers major mechanical components. Had Mr XXXXXXXXX decided to buy under these terms, we would have also elected to put a new MOT on the vehicle. Obviously, a garage down south decided the vehicle was fit for 12 months MOT, but with only 4 1/2 months remaining, we would normally prefer to have our MOT inspectors apply a new MOT. This gives us extra peace of mind that we have also inspected the vehicle for safe running, and that an independent source has ratified that. As this vehicle was taken under a trade agreement, this process was not undertaken. Had Mr XXXXXXXXXXX bought from us, in the manner we sell to the general public, he would have had the right to return the vehicle to us for a refund, if he was not happy with it. Mr XXXXXXXXXXX continued to contact us on the day after delivery, and set an ultimatum of the close of business that day, otherwise he would take further action immediately. This gave the company one hour to respond to his concerns. He wrote, " I will also be contacting trading standards. The BBC watchdog and will also email the BBC to contact Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. I will also join and post my comments on every Land Rover® forum and Facebook page. I will professionally video all the issues with the landrover and attach to web page forums and Facebook. I will ensure that the video I make and the comments I make are all SEO optimised so that anyone searching will find my feedback." He also added in an email the following day, "I will make sure every one knows how you have ripped me off. I shall be posting 5 or 6 links every day. See you at the small claims court" It is regretful that Mr XXXXXXXXXX elected not to follow our tried and tested Customer Complaints procedure before electing to take to forums with his comments and videos. It seems to me in this case there are three main issues 1) the fact that Mr XXXXXXXXX accepted a trade sale and subsequently denied this despite email evidence 2) whether the vehicle sold was road worthy 3) Mr XXXXXXXXX actions in response to the issue. In answering 1), we have clear evidence that this sale was discounted as a trade sale with no warranty, of which Mr XXXXXXXXXX was completely aware. At point 3) we are disappointed that Mr XXXXXXXXXX gave us one hour to compile a response to his issues before he embarked on a campaign involving defamation of our company and our reputation. Indeed, Mr XXXXXXXXXXX gave us a 4pm deadline to agree a refund, yet the email he sent containing this information contained a link to YouTube, where Mr XXXXXXXXXX had already filed "video evidence". Mr XXXXXXXXX, then, had already proceeded on his smear campaign before we had the opportunity to consider the case in full and compile our response after consultation with our legal team.. Mr XXXXXXXXX has, since this point, been true to his word. He has attempted to file complaints on the companies Facebook page, and had his friends do the same. He has filed the video on various websites (YouTube, Landyzone) and has completed reviews on Sitejabber as well as listing on various other sites/posts. So to the video and vehicle assessment. This was carried out at a garage that sells modern vehicles-range rovers etc. I cannot say what their experience is with dealing with 40 year old Series vehicles. At the price Mr XXXXXXXXX payed, he bought a bodily straight, tax exempt Series 3, which was both smartly presented, and in good mechanical order. It had an MOT supplied by the previous keeper, expiring in April 2014. I have viewed the video, and note the following, in response to the issues raised. Heater motor....the video highlighted a perforation in the heater box, and a seized heater motor. Our workshop manager stated that the motor did work when at the unit. It is not uncommon for motors not to work, or matrices in the heater to leak....so then the previous owner disconnects it....where possible we endeavour to repair heaters as they are well worth having even if they are not too effective. We believe this heater functioned. The small perforation in the mild steel heater casing would only cause a small quantity of air to escape ....the majority of it would find it's way into the cabin. The mechanic who assessed this, highlighted that it was dangerous, as you would not be able to see where you are going.....I wonder then, what all the people do, who drive series 1s with no heater fitted at the factory. I have one such vehicle! It's not dangerous as the mechanic suggests or an MOT failure. Winch The winch worked perfectly on test at the unit. I was shown it working by the former keeper. I'm assuming that as a pin seems to have come away from the engaging dog, that it has worked loose. A simple fix. Battery insecure Land Rover batteries are seated in delved cradle. They are deemed secure without the fitment of a battery clamp, and all vehicles submitted for MOT by us, without battery clamps, pass their MOTs. I believe the "specialist mechanic" is wrong in his claims. Brake Box/Bulkhead This vehicle was manufactured in 1973. It has a mild steel bulkhead. Unless a vehicle of this type is nut and bolt restored, it will undoubtedly have seen repair to the bulkhead. The repairs highlighted were all undertaken BEFORE the last MOT. They were deemed safe, and our inspection did not share the view that the pedal box was in any way insecure and the additional patch was seam welded from the back . The brake lights worked perfectly in our unit and on delivery although loose connections on old vehicles can be responsible for sudden failure of lights. The small perforation in the bulkhead behind the pedal spring is not, in our opinion, an MOT failure, further compounded by the fact that it gained it's last MOT in that condition. In an ideal world, I would have like to have seen this perforation rectified at our workshop, and I will ensure that a visual inspection of the vulnerable areas of the bulkhead is highlighted on future schedules. This is, however, a simple and cheap fix. Door Corrosion All older Land rovers will suffer corrosion to the mild steel inner frames. Its always a difficult decision to when to replace a whole door, when it's just the frame that has suffered. In some cases, particularly original vehicles, it's better to repair the original door than replace with a new one....original doors always close better than a pattern replacement. In the case of these doors, it was elected to leave the originals in situ, and allow the new owner the opportunity to decide how they would like to approach it. Had Mr XXXXXXXXX asked on the telephone, as many do, we would happily have talked him around the vehicle, candidly, highlighting the good, and not so good. We have no interest in selling vehicles to people by misrepresentation, as we want them to be happy with their purchase. Should Mr XXXXXXXXX wish to replace his door bottoms, they are £48 each. His £800 purchase discount would allow for this. Seat belts The video spends around a third of it's run time on the seat belts. Land Rover® seat belts can be mounted in a variety of positions, not just the factory points. As long as the belts are securely and safely fitted they are satisfactory for Mot purposes. We did not fit the belts. The belts, as fitted, passed the mot. The mechanic, once again, advising that the belts are unsafe, and an mot fail, is advising incorrectly. Painting We have received criticism from Mr XXXXXXXXXX that the vehicle was not the original colour, and that it had been subsequently painted. It is very rare for a Land Rover® to be presented, 40 years down the line, in the original colour. We have just purchased a blue Lightweight, that was Green....and it would have been blue in the forces. Anyone who knows anything about series vehicles, understands that they are often subject to colour changes throughout their life, in the same way that are also subject to engine changes. It's not a valid point. Oil leaks. Every Series land rover in the land will be oily, from front to back. Oil leaks need to be attended to when they become serious. This is highlighted by either active leaks when running, or a considerable pool of oil at rest. This vehicle behaved as any other this age, with misting and dribbles from all the various and vulnerable places. Our Land Rovers® can dribble oil because we fill all the levels unlike many other traders, who may send out a vehicle without topping up levels. In our assessment, the oil leaks were completely in line with expectations on a vehicle of this age and price point. Perhaps the independent mechanic was not experienced enough in vintage Land Rovers® to assess whether a leak is serious or not. Chassis. In the mechanics words "the chassis is solid." It's nice to note that Mr XXXXXXXXX independent mechanic found something complimentary about the vehicle. It's perhaps a shame that he failed to mention the super sweet, low mileage diesel engine, the slick gear change, the light steering, the benefit of tax exemption, the desirability of a Capstan winch, or the fact that this vehicle was driven the length of England just a few weeks before without issue. The video shows two perforations under the front spring hangers, which we know were not present upon sale, as the Schutzing that was done on request from Mr XXXXXXXXX, is applied at this point. It seems that these areas have been weakened and perforated. Had Mr XXXXXXXXX gone through our standard sales procedure, we would have presented this vehicle for MOT at GRB in Coxwold. They would have used their CAT tool to assess the chassis, and if they had managed to perforate the chassis, we would have rectified this and presented the vehicle back for MOT. This happens regularly in hard to reach or hidden places, and that's why a garage like ours prefers to use independent garages for MOTs. In short, although the video highlights some areas that may benefit from future improvement and restoration, it, in no way, renders the vehicle unsafe, faulty or unsatisfactory. 40 year old Land Rovers® will always have elements on them that can be improved....customers who wish to have a "like new" vehicle, can enlist us to bespoke build to new standards. We sell vehicles from £4995 to £21,995. Mr XXXXXXXXX bought an unrestored vehicle at the lower end of our price ranges. Despite this, he acquired a desirable unit, with desirable feature, as previously mentioned. The vehicle was deemed roadworthy at last MOT, and our inspection highlighted, that, considering we are dealing with an old, unrestored vehicle, that it was fit for road use. In claiming that a vehicle has some faults, and is therefore not fit for purpose is not entirely fair.....a vintage Land Rover® is fit for trundling around in, tinkering with, popping out to the local pub on a Sunday, or just being shown. They are not new, not modern, and will, by their very nature, have wearing parts. We make it very clear, both on the website, and in the emails we send, that these vehicles are elderly, and will not perform like a newer vehicle. We state, "All old Land Rovers® will have something that can be improved upon, however good they look..." In summary, we are very disappointed at the manner in which this purchase has been conducted by Mr XXXXXXXXX. He has attempted to deceive the manner in which he purchased this vehicle, has threatened to slander and defame the good name our company has worked hard to achieve, has not allowed us due time or process to consider best steps in resolving the issues raises and has attempted to embellish weaknesses in the vehicle purchased to gain leverage post sale. We firmly believe we are a transparent and honest company, supplying vintage vehicles in the best condition possible at the price point. We have a sound customer base and many happy clients, of which we are very proud. Despite our regret in how Mr XXXXXXXXX has approached concerns he has with his purchase we will continue to strive to amicably resolve the issues and will take the necessary steps in ensuring that all dealings, from BOTH parties, have been conducted, within the confines of English Law. John Brown
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