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mick.p.

Sorry, another used car problem.

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Oh dear, another car dealer thread. I feel that this time it is a little different so please bear with me.

 

On Saturday my daughter and her husband went to a car dealer in Torbay to test drive a Peugeot 307 that he had advertised for sale. They drove the car (with the salesman as a passenger) on a mixed route, town, B roads and a dualcarriageay and they liked it so left a deposit and agreed to return on Tuesday with the balance. They had arranged to pick the car up from the dealer after work, so I drove them to Torbay to get the car.

 

The first thing they noticed was that the fuel gauge was showing empty, so they stopped at the first petrol station and put £70 worth of diesel in. After leaving the station and travelling around 100 metres the engine just stopped, my son in-law coasted over to the side of the road and tried to restart the car. The engine turned over fine, it almost started then stopped, and he tried again and got exactly the same result. His first thought was “I’m sure that it was diesel that I put in”, he rummaged through his wallet, found the receipt for the fuel. Although the receipt stated the amount of money that had been spent and that it was fuel that was bought, it did not say which type of fuel. So, he got out of the car, removed the filler cap and had a smell of the fumes and he could only smell diesel, which he was obviously relieved about. All of this occurred within 4 miles of the dealer’s premises.

 

He then phoned the dealer to explain all that had happened, and was told that someone would be with him as soon as possible. Sure enough, within the hour the salesman arrived, had a quick look but admitted that there was not a lot that he could do. After looking he decided the best thing to do was arrange for the car to be “recovered”. He suggested that my daughter and son in-law continue their journey home with me and the boss would have the car looked at the next day and telephone as soon as he new what the problem was and discuss the options. The options were

1/ The fault would be something minor. It would be repaired and returned to my daughter that day.

2/ The fault would be bigger, or perhaps they would have to wait for parts. In which case they would

supply a loner for the duration.

3/ If the worst happened my daughter and her husband would be offered a replacement car from the

dealers stock or a refund.

 

It turned out that there was water in the fuel system. There was no suggestion that the fuel my daughter had bought was contaminated, but that a customer had brought their car into the dealer’s workshop, the week previous, for a service and the Peugeot had been loaned to them as a courtesy car. The dealer then went on to say that this customer must have driven through some deep water, we did have a lot of rain last week, and the water had found its way into the air intake and then into the fuel system. He was now left with a car that needed a new engine and he would be “chasing” the customer for recompense. My daughter was offered a different car or a refund.

 

None of his stock was acceptable, so a refund was agreed on. £1450 (the price of the car) in cash was handed over to my daughter. It was a shame about the car as it would have been ideal, but these things happen and up until this point the dealer had been fine. My daughter enquired about the £70 of diesel that she had put in the car. At this point the dealer’s helpful and considerate attitude that he had portrayed changed, he became very guarded and almost aggressive. He said that he had not told her to put fuel in the car and asked why she had put so much in? Surely 5 pounds would have been enough? He said that the fuel would now be contaminated with water and would be of no use to anyone there was no way that he would refund that as well. After a long conversation he suggested that we come to his workshop at the weekend and siphon the contaminated fuel out of the car and keep it. The fuel that he had already admitted was of no use to anyone.

 

He then appeared to take great pleasure in pointing out to us that the whole conversation was being recorded by his cctv equipment, which not only recorded video but audio as well. We were perfectly ok with this as we had not said anything that could be viewed as “out of order”. However, he had admitted that the contaminant was already in the car when he sold it. So that must mean that the car was sold as “unfit for use”

 

I am guessing here, but the dealer doesn’t seem to do very much advertising, there are no sign’s out side his house, although he claims to have 20 or so vehicles at any one time only three or four are visible to passing traffic and these do not “appear” to be for sale as they are not marked with a price or any kind of for sale sign, so it would seam that his reputation and word of mouth is good enough to provide him with the success that he obviously has. Surely, when a dealer has a quick turnover with this type of car he must be aware that one day something will not go to plan. I know that he can not cope with every one of his customers asking for a refund, his business could not stand it, but its not every one of them, only one. Dealers must prepare themselves for this kind of thing, customers don’t. My daughter cannot afford to lose this money, she feels that she might as well have put £70 in cash into an envelope and posted it through his letterbox, she could not have afforded that either. The whole point of buying this particular car was it was cheap to buy, cheap to insure, cheap to tax and cheap to run. If she had money coming out of her ears she would have bought a more expensive car. On this dealers web site they claim to pride themselves on providing a good quality service, they appeared to be a safe bet. Yet their car only covered less than 4 miles and lasted no more than 15 minutes before it broke.

 

What I am asking you is;

Under these circumstances is the dealer obliged to refund the £70?

If not, is there a way that I might be able to convince him that it is not worth tarring his seemingly

good reputation for £70?

 

 

Any help or advice would be greatly received and appreciated.

Many thanks, Mick.

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The dealer is correct stating that the fuel is probably contaminated however if left to stand the water and the fuel will separate. The other option is disposal and the dealer needs to pay for this service which is probably why he doesn't want to refund.

Either way whether you bought £5 or £500 the problem would have occurred therefore I think that the dealer is responsible for the £70 of fuel which they have taken back. No more phone calls. Keep every thing in writing and in writing tell them you no longer wisdh to discuss the issue on the phone as you require a paper trail.

Send a normal polite request for the £70 refund giving them 14 days to respond. When this fails, send a "Letter before Action" giving them 14v days to respond. If no reply, submit a claim through Money Claim Online.

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I would think that after that test drive (mixed route, town, B roads and a dualcarriageay) and the car worked fine you would be hard pushed to prove the fault (contaminated fuel) was there before you filled up.

I wiould be checking with the garage/petrol stn to see if they had any other complaints.

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Sometimes, You need to pick your fights.

 

Technically,your correct, in wanting recompence for the fuel, I guess

But, really....... it's a consumable!!

 

The dealer could have quite easily, have said, it's your fault, that the fuel tank, was contaminated.

Handing your money back so easily, I would class as a result. And would walk away.

 

No wonder the dealer got upset !!!!

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Sometimes, You need to pick your fights.

 

Technically,your correct, in wanting recompence for the fuel, I guess

But, really....... it's a consumable!!

 

The dealer could have quite easily, have said, it's your fault, that the fuel tank, was contaminated.

Handing your money back so easily, I would class as a result. And would walk away.

 

No wonder the dealer got upset !!!!

 

Thumper.

I said in my original post, and I quote:

 

He then appeared to take great pleasure in pointing out to us that the whole conversation was being recorded by his cctv equipment, which not only recorded video but audio as well. We were perfectly ok with this as we had not said anything that could be viewed as “out of order”. However, he had admitted that the contaminant was already in the car when he sold it. So that must mean that the car was sold as “unfit for use”

 

So I assume that you mised that bit.

Consumable?

Really?

We travelled less than 4 miles, that makes it an expensive car to run. Not really the aim of the whole operation.

 

Thanks everyone for your quick response, I will follow surfer's advice and continue this in writing.

 

many thanks, Mick.

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Having refunded the purchase price your action now would be for consequential damages being a loss you have incurred directly resulting from you being sold a defective vehicle. Whether you wish to pursue a small claim for such an amount is up to you but bear in mind the attendant costs and time.

The audio can not be used in evidence by the dealer as you were not given advance notice that the conversation was being recorded.

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