I purchased a 2nd hand car from an independent motor trader in March 2021.
In May 2021 when we had our first spell of hot weather, I noticed that the air conditioning was not working. I contacted the dealer who agreed to recharge the a/c for me. The dealer is over an hours drive away, however I was more than happy to return it to him for ‘repair’. The car went in for repair the first week of June as that was the first time I could work around my shifts to get it to him.
He had the a/c recharged by his approved garaged and I drove home without breaking out in sweats. This didn’t last long though, I noticed that within a few weeks it didn’t feel as cold as it was when it was first recharged. Finally, by the beginning of August the a/c had completely stopped.
I made contact with him again only to be told that the car is no longer covered by my 3 month warranty. He feels that as the a/c held a charge, any leakage of gas now would be classed as a new problem and not an insufficient repair. He explained to me that a/c systems are under extreme pressure and that the machine would not recharge the system if there was a leak in the system. I did ask him why the system needed recharging in the first place, as if it’s a high pressure sealed system, the gas should not have leaked out initially. All he did was repeated his point of view.
I visited a local garage for an independent inspection who found multiple small holes in the a/c condenser. The stated that the system would indeed hold refrigerant, however, it would not last long. I contacted the dealer again who still refused to acknowledge that his first ‘repair’ was insufficient and claims that I have caused multiple holes in the condenser in roughly 8weeks between the initial recharge and when the system stopped working, but fails to acknowledge that it he system was less effective within a couple of weeks.
As the dealer is registered with AA Cars as an approved trader, I contacted the AA as a form of mediation. The dealer maintained his stance on the situation, however, as a gesture of good will, offered to replace the condenser at trade cost to myself
I researched my consumer rights and the way I understand things is that within 6 months of purchase, should any faults appear, it’s the onus of the dealer to prove they were not there at the time of purchase, that they have one chance to repair if they accept the fault and that the repair should be free of charge. Based upon this, as I believe this is the same issue as before and not a new issue, I refused his offer of a repair at trade cost to myself. Mediation then failed and AA Cars advised me to seek legal advice.
I consulted with Citizen Advice who confirmed what I believe to be true and advised me to go through the small claims court. I have since done this but not the dealer has passed this on to a solicitor to deal with. The dealer has again refused to acknowledge that this is the same problem as before and maintains this is a new issue. He was unable to provide the AA Cars mediation service with proof that the A/C system was pressurised correctly with no leakage detected and is still unable to do so. He still maintains that the damage to the system was caused whilst in my ownership.
His solicitor has claimed that I have stated multiple facts but am unable to prove that the system was damaged before I purchased the vehicle and that the defendant is unsure what I am claiming for, despite me sending several emails and a recorded letter to him before starting court proceedings.
Am I missing something, have I understood things wrong or is there something else I can do. Money claim online (small claims court) have now sent a DQ to the dealer, so I am assuming I will get one shortly too.
Thanks in advance for any advice received.