Hi, I will try to keep my emotions out of this as much as possible, and try to break it down as easy as possible. [Please note that I do apologise for the length of this thread, I wasn't expecting it to turn out this long.]
On the 26th of December 2012 I found what I thought to be a lovely 2004 Jeep for sale on Autotrader by a trader. It was advertised as having 34,000 miles and whilst speaking over the phone was stated that it was recently serviced by them and only had 2 owners from new, the second owner trading it back to them just a couple of weeks ago. I was at no point given any indication that anything was wrong with the vehicle and was told that it was an excellent Jeep.
The Jeep was located in Belfast Northern Ireland, 450 miles away from London. The initial idea was to fly down there and collect the vehicle and drive back. As I was paying the deposit over the phone the trader suggested of a transport company he uses regularly and that they can have the vehicle shipped to me for only £250, on top of which would he would include 12 months M.O.T in the price. I was thrilled that I will be saving some money, a lot of time and that it would be coming with a years M.O.T so I agreed to this. It was agreed that I would take delivery of the vehicle within 7 days but took roughly 2 weeks to arrive.
On the 5th of January I sold my own personal car that I listed for sale the day after I paid for the Jeep, under the assumption I would have received the Jeep by then. It was delivered much later then agreed but as I stated above I was not too concerned of the delay.
On the 10th of January I took delivery of the Jeep 5 miles outside of London at a service station. The first thing I noticed was the two flat front tyres and some relatively noticeable body damage (front wing was pushed in above the headlight and some shoddy bumper repairs, but once again, I was not that concerned.) As I was taking the keys from the delivery driver, he stated that the handbrake was snapped. I was extremely surprised, but once again, I was not THAT concerned about it right there.
I drove it into the petrol station carefully not to damage the tyres/rim and filled up the tyre pressure to the manufacturers recommendation. After trying to figure out how to open the filler cap to get some fuel in, I set out on my way home, around 25 miles into London. This is where it all gets 'very' interesting. OK, in order or problems:
1) Front Tyres, Cosmetic Damage & Handbrake. Already covered above. Oh, and it only came with one key & fob. How useful.
2) When joining the motorway the Jeep pulled to the left harshly, I assumed at the time this was an alignment issue and was once again, not overly concerned at this point. I held the wheel at a slight angle to keep it straight.
3) The power steering became non-existent and got very heavy when steering left or right with a terrible whining sound from the pump to go along with it (the tyres were inflated to correct level.)
4) The rear of the vehicle (chassis or axle) wobbled left and right scarily after going over speed humps or after turning a corner and straightening up. At first I thought the wheels where loose so got out to check the nuts and bolts etc, but all was fine.
5) When turning left or right slowly, or when trying to park - I could hear/feel a very harsh grinding sound and a throbbing effect from the differentials or the transfer case. This became evident when I tried to pull over into Asda on the way back to check the tyre pressure. At this point I was really beginning to worry.
6) As I got back into the car after checking the tyres, there was a terrible continuous "clunking" sound coming from the left side of the dashboard with the car turned off. It sounded like metal was stretching to its limits and smashing into something. It is a very odd sound and very difficult to explain. It would begin around 2 minutes after the engine turned off. I wasn't sure what to think of this and was beginning to get seriously worried.
7) Another thing to note was the idle of the Jeep would "hunt" between 500-600rpms with no means of stopping. This would happen when in Park / Neutral.
8) After all of this I managed to get home at 11pm, when I did I got into the passenger side to see where the clunking sound was coming from and as I did, I realized the left side footwell was soaked in water! I felt around to see if I can spot where it was coming from but there was no trace. Now I was beginning to get REALLY annoyed.
9) I decided to pop the bonnet to check the power steering fluid only to find out the bonnet struts where knackered and wouldn't hold up the bonnet. I had to use a plank of wood to do the job. I checked the PS fluid and everything seemed normal.
There are other small issues here and there, but for the sake of getting to the point we'll skip these.
The following day I returned to the vehicle with a camera to record the faults as much as I could and to check the damp etc. I put the key into the ignition to take a picture of the mileage as it was advertised as 34,000 miles but I received it with 35,000 miles. This was for the record and I was not bothered with it. I jumped out of the car to check the tyre pressure and as I turned to get back into the vehicle the doors where locked! With the only bloody key in the ignition! After 6 hours and a AA call later (£120 pounds!) I got the door open and retrieved the key. Apparently the auto lock feature locked the doors after the driver door was closed for a X amount of seconds. Pfft!
Anyways, I recorded all the faults as much as I could, with the exception of the vehicle pulling to the left and the vehicle wobbling. I recorded the grinding sounds from the diffs, the clunking sound, the damp footwell, the flat tyres, the busted handbrake and the busted bonnet struts, etc.
By now I believe it was the weekend and the trader was closed so the following Monday I gave him a ring to explain that there are some several serious safety concerns with the Jeep and wanted his opinion on what to do next. He explicitly stated that the vehicle had passed an M.O.T just moments before it was driven onto the transport truck and that in Northern Ireland all vehicles are mechanically checked unlike here in the England and these problems would have become obvious.
After a few days of going back and forth he offered to have the vehicle collected from London at his own expense, this was in writing (email) and verbally. At this point he was very understanding and kind towards me and I was really sympathetic towards him. After 10 days and 2 failed collections later, it was finally collected to be taken back to Belfast and be inspected by his engineer and also bring it back to the M.O.T centre as the M.O.T centre manager was just as concerned as I was.
During this time I did a bit of Googling only to find out that every single thing wrong with the car was a common problem with these Jeeps. The wobble from the car is also nicknamed "Death Wobble."
After 3 weeks had passed (February) I got inpatient of waiting and called up to find out the outcome of the inspection (11th feb) only to be told that he had just received the vehicle the previous Thursday (7th feb) and that he had booked it in with an engineer the following Wednesday (13th feb) and that he would get back to me on Wednesday. Well, an entire week had passed (20th feb) and I had no response from him so I emailed him and asked him to keep me updated as I was getting extremely desperate for a vehicle as I have been without one for well over a month. He emailed me back the same day letting me know that the engineer had finished his inspection and he is awaiting his report. This annoyed me somewhat as I couldn't see what was taking so long.
After waiting another 3 days I sent him email (23rd Feb) to point out to him how long ago the engineer had completed the inspection and what seemed to have been the hold up, as I still hadn't heard anything back from him.
I pointed out to him that I would be going abroad in March and would be driving across Europe to Italy and at this rate I may end up having to purchase another vehicle. I also expressed my need for a vehicle and that it was causing me serious inconvenience and hardship for being left without one for almost 2 months. Once again, I was really sympathetic and was not being rude or demanding or setting any deadlines etc. I asked for a simple breakdown of how long it would take for the engineer to finish his inspection, when the repairs would be carried out and when the vehicle be shipped back to me.
5 days after this email (28th Feb) I received a reply from him stating that he did not want to contact me until the repairs where carried out. He attached his reply into word document along with the engineers report, and to my extreme horror in his letter he stated that nothing was wrong with the vehicle aside from the two front tyres being punctured and that the rear right tyre had sustained damage to the inner wall and all faulty tyres were replaced "out of good will" as he was not obliged to have done so. He also said that the handbrake was not of his doing but he fixed this too.
On top of this (and this is where it got really distressing for me) he said in order for him to release the vehicle to me I should pay him £250 for the cost of having the vehicle shipped to him, £170 for an engineers report and another £250 to have the vehicle shipped back to me, a total of £670! He went onto say that 'we' both knew these costs where avoidable. I will ignore the allegation regarding lying about the faults. He also pointed out that I purchased the vehicle without prior inspection / viewing, and that the vehicle has now turned over 9 years and problems are to be expected from a 9 year old vehicle.
Appalled at this, I immediately emailed him back (28th Feb) with a detailed explanation to each and every problem, what causes these problems and how it was impossible for none of the faults to have been found or detected by the engineer, and that a simple test drive would reveal all.
I ended the email with the following statement:
This email was sent to him on the 28th of February, it is now the 11th of March and I have still not received a reply from him and as the title suggests... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I phoned trading standards but they where not useful at all. I am at the verge of crying and worried sick I have been ripped off and left without a vehicle.
The worse part of all of this is, I will be moving aboard on the 7th of April (yes, moving, not going on holiday) and I am completely lost in what to do. I don't believe I am left with any time.
I need to set a deadline, but have no idea how to word it. I want it to be done right so I can get this over with once and for all and put this disturbing nightmare behind me. I have been extremely patient all throughout but this has seriously gone over the top. I am willing to pay a fee via PayPal to anyone who can help me word a deadline letter to email him for the last time.
I am really distressed by all of this, and am seriously lost. You guys wouldn't want to know the hardship all of this has caused me and my sanity. The stress of never seeing the money again, being ripped off, blanked, insulted, taken for a fool and being blanked some more. The added stress of also knowing I will be moving on the 7th of April is earth shattering and I have no where left to turn. I have tried trading standards but they did not help.
Please, all the help I can get in the next few weeks is greatly appreciated. I am beginning to get restless and fairly stressful nights over this.
Thanks for everyone who managed to read through all of this. I really do, to the bottom of my heart, appreciate it!