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Problems with second hand car - advice please

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Bought a Vauxhall Frontera (Diesel) from a second hand dealer approx 2 months ago - T reg, 109k on clock. Have just started having problems with it, Engine management light comes on and it goes in to 'limp mode', i.e. doesn't let you go above 40mph when going over 3k revs - normally going up a hill.


The car was advertised with Full service history, which wasn't given to us at the time but the dealer said he would chase up and forward on. I hadn't received anything after a month and called him to chase up, he said he couldn't get in touch with previous owners and basically said it wouldn't be coming, but that I could find this out myself by ringing round, etc.


On the test drive, the Engine Management light came on (seemed to come on when car was in low revs). It was very intermittent and he plugged a little machine in and reset the EML. This perhaps should've told me to walk away, but as it was intermittent and seemed a decent car other than that, I bought it.


He did supply me with a 3 months warranty, covering the costs up to £500 - it's one of those that offers different levels of cover.


Basically, I'd like to know what my rights are in terms of getting it repaired/refund. It is illegal to say it has a FSH in advert, which I now have no hope of getting from him?


Does the warranty cover his back or is the issue still with the potentially false advertising of FSH?


Thanks in advance

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Hello ngs. It certainly sounds as if he used the FSH as part of his sales patter. As for the warranty, he would like to believe that it covered his back, but it doesn't. A lot of car sales seem to believe that is their get out clause from the Sale of Goods Act.


As you, but more especially the dealer, know, resetting the computer doesn't cure the problem that it was indicating. You should contact the seller asap by phone backed up by recorded letter or just by letter. You should tell him that firstly that the car was mis-advertised as having full service history. He should have had that in his hand when he wrote up the advertisement and not taken the word of the person who sold it to him, if there was one, and it wasn't bought at an auction.


Remind him that he reset the computer after the test drive knowing that it would not cure a fault but there would be a delay in it showing again.


If you don't trust the seller, and who would, then you can take it to a dealer and get a diagnosis before you request a date for the seller to take it back for investigation and repair. Personally I would keep the results of the dealer diagnosis to yourself so you can compare it with what the seller later tells you.

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Thanks for the advice.


Just wondering what the relevance of him buying it an auction, i.e. how would that effect him stating it has a FSH on his advert? Does that give him some sort of leaway, as surely he has still falsely advertised it?


I will contact trading standards at earliest opportunity to seek advice.

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It was mis advertised. The auction could have made the error, or it could have said full svc history in a generic term, ie, a lot of history but announced as full because they didn't really examin it. There is, of course, the chance that it has been done on many occasions in the past and that buyers have simply let it slip into oblivion because of time, they simply forgot about it.

Check the dealers current advertising to see how many cars say 'full svc history'.


If you want action on the problem, you should get in touch with the seller asap and don't be put off by any reliance on his part that 'it's not covered by the warranty', a warranty is an extra to the soga and cannot be used to diminish your rights under soga.

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Oh I see.


I think the fact that he told me when he sold the car that he'd forward on the manual and the rest of the service history, and taking away only 3 MOT certificates from 1999, means he shouldn't have advertised it with FSH.


I gave him a month and then chased him up and he basically told me that he can't get hold of it.


Thanks for advice and will see what TS have to say.


I'd like to know what my rights are before contacting him.

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Your rights depend on what your after. You haven't mentioned the problem, only the service history, so what exactly are you wanting from him ??

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Think I mentioned all that in original post.


Would just like to know if this can be seen as mis-sold, i.e. selling me a car based on advertising a FSH, whereas I probably wouldn't have gone for it if it hadn't been advertised with it. Yes, you can say that I wasn't actually given it when picking the car up, but that surely doesn't deflect the false advertising.


TBH, I'd like a refund, if not, then him fixing the car, which could take ages...

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Yes you did mention the problem with it in the original post, but I had the feeling that you were more concerned with the lack of service

history and being mis-advertised than the faults.


The regulations state that you have a reasonable time to reject the car, 2 months is a bit over what would normally be classed as a reasonable time, and you would need something a bit more substantial that the engine management light coming on to back up your claim.


Your first call must be to the seller to find out what his take is on it and what he is prepared to do. Do this before anything else as you need to get the ball rolling. His response will tell you if you then need to contact Consumer Direct for advice.

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I think it's more the fact that the car basically cuts out and goes in to a safe mode, which then causes the EML to come on, which I think is more substantial than just a light coming on. From reading through forums where people have had the same problem, the list of causes for this fault is endless.


From my point of view, if I'd have seen the service history beforehand, which I now know contains failed MOT tests for exhaust related problems, I probably wouldn't have gone through with the purchase.


I spoke to the seller about a week ago and he basically pushed towards the warranty and that I need to try and locate the service history myself.


Thanks for your advice and I will contact consumer direct.

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I'm not making light of the problem, but your recourse is with the seller and at 2 months, it is up to 'him' to show there was no problem with the car at the point of sale. The warranty has nothing whatsoever to do with it, but if you won't give him the chance to fix the problem, you could lose out all together. What I am trying to say it you must insist that he takes the car in and does a repair.


The service history has nothing to do with past MoTs, so are we getting muddled up between past MoTs or the service history.


If you want all the past Fail, Pass and Advisories, then log into http://motinfo.direct.gov.uk/internet/jsp/ECHID-Internet-History-Request.jsp and you can get a copy of them all for free.

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I'd wouldn't worry too much about the FSH as even if the dealer produced this you are still left with the same problem. It is also highly unlikely that your issue is related to the car having a FSH. You also need to be careful that when an ad says FSH it does not necessarily mean it is a FDSH ( full dealer service history). The two are very different.


Follow the advice Conniff has suggested. If, which is what can be expected, they steer you towards the warranty then stand your ground. I'm sure the Sailor and Dragon will be along to tell you how to pursuit this quickly and effectively.

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My first thought is, has the OP still got a copy of the advertisment stating FSH? If yes, the he can indeed show that the car was miss-sold. Also can the OP show that he has contacted the seller within a short time after purchase and the seller has been dragging things out? If so, there may still be mileage in persuing a refund/rejection. The court would see the OP being swayed into purchasing the car on the basis it had FSH and probably wouldn't of done so had it not got FSH. False advertising springs to mind! I suggest that the OP contact Trading Standards/Consumer Direct to clarify his position on this. At the very least, the OP should be able to get the problem(s) rectified at no cost but I can feel a court case coming on either way.


My advice is to first contact Trading standards before contacting the seller to check that the car has been miss-sold and whether they think the OP can still throw it back. Could the OP let us know what happens please.

Please Note


The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.


I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.


Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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