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Used car, where do I stand ?

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I buy used vehicle from dealer. ('05 Ford for £3300)

Faults are discovered on journey home and I email dealer next day rejecting vehicle.

My local garage confirm faults with diagnostic check.

Dealer declines to pay for repairs but offers to take vehicle back for refund but refuses to refund my necessarily incurred consequential losses (tax, insurance, travelling costs etc) or collect the vehicle as we are a long distance apart.

I take vehicle to another garage for second opinion who diagnose faulty brakes and advise not to drive vehicle until repaired. Insurers say I'm only covered for theft until vehicle is repaired or collected by dealer.

I can't return vehicle and dealer won't collect - hence we're at an impasse.

I decide to keep vehicle so instruct that garage to proceed with repairs.

I claim cost of those repairs off dealer under the terms of the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

Dealer refuses to refund sighting that he had originally offered to take vehicle back.

I argue that it would have been impossible for me to have returned* vehicle given issue with brakes and his refusal to reimburse my costs..

Thoughts appreciated before I issue a small claim specifically how the dealer could defend my action.

PS There are no relevant t&c’s on the dealers invoice.

* SoGA Section 48B (2) (a) (b) “……without causing significant inconvenience to the buyer.”



Posts: 6Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:31 am

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How far are you from the dealer? and why couldnt you transport it on the back of a pickup to them? this is only around £1 per mile and this would have been easier to reclaim than the problem you have now..


The problem you have is that you originally did the right thing and rejected it but then failed to reject and had repairs done without giving the dealer the opportunity to inspect or carry out the repairs. I can only assume he would have refused in any case as you had rejected it in writing and therefore would not authorise the repair.


I think you are in a difficult position as officially you have rejected the vehicle and then as it isnt yours ( assuming you haven't retracted the rejection in writing and it had been accepted as retracted by the dealer) decided to go ahead and repair.


In short you should have stuck with the rejection then either transported it back to the dealer and claimed you costs or left it on your drive and claimed for the total cost of the car.


I know this doesnt help your current situation but I don't see how soga can help. The dealer accepted your rejection and you changed your mind and used a third party to repair without authorisation.


My advice would be to try and get the dealer to make a contribution to the cost of repairs in an attempt to settle.


Probably not the answer you were looking for.

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Thanks Nagasis

360 mile round trip and the cheapest car transporter was £1.50 mile. Also the dealer had already refused to refund any costs above the purchase price so certainly wouldn't have refunded the transportation cost which are less than the repair costs so I mitigated the loss by having the repairs carried out. The dealer refused to allow repairs at my local garage as they had offered to accept return of the vehicle and moreover limited the time for my returning the vehicle which has now passed. There's also the possibility that even if the vehicle was returned the dealer would make some excuse not to refund in full once in possession.

In short I cannot force the dealer to collect the vehicle, returning by transporter costs more than repairs and the dealer has now retracted his offer to accept return. I was left with an uninsured vehicle (prior to repair) with faulty brakes so suing for repairs under SoGA is my only option - specifically under the section quoted in my original post.

PS Vehicle purchased 3rd October.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sorry to say you have no chance here of suing for the repairs. You rejected the vehicle (effectively reverting ownership back to him), but then acted in a manner inconsistent with the dealer's ownership. I know you were concerned that he wouldn't compensate for consequential loss, but you always had the option of raising a small claim - and you would probably have been successful.

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agree, IMO doubt court action will bring you any joy now, but you never know.

after rejecting the car, you cannot use or drive it anyway and your only option if he refused to collect, would be to claim for collection and cost of vehicle as he accepted rejection.

Returning the car by transpoerter was the only way to speed procees up amd once you got the cost of vehicle back, you can start action for transport and possbly your consequential costs.

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But transporting the vehicle back would have incurred substantially more costs than repairs and I have an absolute duty to mitigate those costs - something the courts enforce.

Whilst the SoGA entitles me to reject the vehicle and for the dealer to accept that rejection the legal title and responsibilities as registered keeper (on which the SoGA is silent) remains with me and does not pass until the dealer is back in physical possession. Aware of this I believe the dealer behaved unreasonably from the outset by failing in his obligation under section 36 of the SoGA "Buyer not bound to return rejected goods..." so consequential repair costs flowed directly from his refusal to abide by this term.



Correction to my post of 18th November.

"transportation cost which are less than the repair costs" should read "transportation cost which are more than the repair costs"

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How did you pay for the car, any finance? or credit card involved.

As for claim that is what courts are for; if there were no disputes or opposing views we would not need them.

Suggest you proceed with action, but you will need to send a LBA staing your claim and what you want to the dealer and give them 7 days to respond ( this is court rules ),

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Sorry to read about all your troubles Roy. I know you don't want to hear this, but there is a rapidly increasing number of people coming on to the site with similar problems.

What i can't understand is why people buy run of the mill cars so very far from home, and not from a more local source. In many of the other complaints, the buyer has not sought the services of a mechanic to check over and test the car prior to purchase. A mechanics charges are likely to be far less than some of the costs involved, such as you have outlined.

There are others coming on to the site who pay a few hundred pounds for an old car (virtually a banger) and complain when things go wrong, sometimes relatively minor faults.

I'm afraid to say that if a law were enforced wherebye dealers had to travel the length and breadth of the country collecting broken cars, then this would most certainly result in significant rises in the price of used cars.

Sorry to be so negative but i think this is a fact of life.

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I too am bemused to why people buy cars so far away. It should always be in the back of a buyer's mind that if anything goes wrong, the seller should be given the opportunity to inspect and rectify if necessary. Things obviously get complicated when it comes to taking a car back to the seller who is hundreds of miles away. Just not worth the risk in my opinion.


But the OP here can still take the matter to court if he wishes and might get somewhere with it. Although as someone has already pointed out, once the car was rejected, the OP should not of then decided to repair it. It will be for the judge to now decide whether this was reasonable or not. I think the OP may get the judge into his way of thinking that it made economical sense to repair it rather than pay to have it transported back to the seller. But equally, the seller will argue that he offered to give the OP his money back thus fulfilling his obligations under the SOGA.


It's clear to me that the seller is calling the OP's bluff here because he obviously knows that the car cannot be driven back to him so his 'refund offer' will be very difficult for the OP to accept thinking that this is the easiest and cheapest option for him. Hopefully the judge will see through this and award accordingly. But, it won't be as straight forward as it might of been.


I'm with raydetinu on this one. Send (by recorded post) an LBA listing your repair costs and invite the seller to avoid a potentially costly court claim (to him) by sending you a payment to cover the repairs within 7 days.


Please keep us posted.

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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Thanks folks

Paid by cash & bank transfer.

"the seller will argue that he offered to give the OP his money back thus fulfilling his obligations under the SOGA". Agreed but by failing to honour his further responsibility under section 36 that obligation was not fulfilled.

The correct pre action protocols have been followed including a LBA. Will be issuing the small claim this afternoon in person at my local court.* - if/when the snow clears !

Apart from this vehicle this year I have purchased two other expensive cars 'sight unseen' from main dealers both at the other end of the country with no hitches whatsoever. It’s becoming increasingly popular.

Bizarrely the less a vehicle is examined pre purchase the better the chance a layman has of claiming for repairs. If a thorough pre purchase inspection is carried out then the dealer has the cop-out of applying section 14 (2C) (b) of the SoGA (“buyer examines the goods….which that examination ought to reveal”)

It’s my belief that the ‘mitigating losses’ issue is an overriding principle in law; just hope the judge concurs !

I’ll update once I receive the dealers defence.


* Last time I issued a small claim it was via MCOL against a non paying client. Both the defendant and I came under the same local court yet the case was sent to three different courts all around the country and I had to phone and write each time to get the case transferred to our local court. Albeit the old fashioned way hopefully this time issuing at my local court will have the case heard there especially given Practice Direction 7E 12.2 (transfer to consumer claimants court)

Edited by roythegrass
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