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Major problem with used car bought from dealer - advice sought!

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We have a fairly major problem with a used car which we bought off a dealer. I am looking at options for pursuing a claim under the Sales of Goods Act and would be grateful for any advice as to whether I have a case!


The facts of the matter are as follows:-


- Vehicle is a 2003 Ford Focus TDCI with 100000 miles purchased from a dealer on 15th January 2013


- Vehicle was slightly difficult to start from cold ever since purchase - we had it serviced and the glow plugs checked - all fine - and decided we could live with it.


- On 4th March (7 weeks after purchase) we noticed a regular grinding noise when the clutch was depressed and a vibration at 1800 RPM which made the car shake.


- Problem was intermittent but got worse, so we took it to a Ford Dealership on 16th March who diagnosed failure of the dual mass flywheel. The repair cost was quoted at £1,100 (new DMF, new clutch and slave cylinder)


- The Ford technician after diagnosis asked if we had starting troubles and he advised this is a symptom of early DMF failure (swarf from the DMF gets in the starter and affects operation)


- We contend that the dealer is in breach of contract under SOGA as vehicle has "not lasted a reasonable amount of time" and was not "fit for purpose". We also contend that it is reasonable to assume the fault was present at the time of purchase given it was only 7 weeks which elapsed when it became obvious something was wrong and the car had only done around 1,200 motorway miles.


- I have spoken to the dealer who initially said it was "one of this things" and implied I did not have recourse as it was only a £2,000 car and was fine when he sold it. When I stated my position in terms of SOGA he said he would "look into repair costs" but advised that he would not pay for it. Nonetheless, he said he would get back to me in 48 hours. He also asked me to obtain a second opinion and quote from a non franchised garage (which I will do).


- I advised that a satisfactory outcome would be for the dealer to pay for the necessary repairs.


To avoid confusion I have written a letter which outlines our stated position as above and intend to send tomorrow via recorded delivery.


I suppose my question is - given the above - do you think I have a case against the dealer? I am a fair person and understand it is a fairly cheap (£2,000) car which is 10 years old. That being said, I would still expect it to last 7 weeks without a major fault! Is this reasonable?


It could also be argued that it was exhibiting early signs of DMF failure when we bought it - i.e. the poor starting. Note - we werent aware of the poor starting issue when we bought the car as it was always warm when we started. It was only when my partner went to pay the balance and the keys were handed over that he mentioned it and gave her a business card with 'cold start' instructions written on the back!!!


Would really appreciate any help on this - its a lot of money to fork out for repairs and one of the reasons we paid a bit more to buy from a dealer was that I thought we would have a bit of protection!


Thanks a lot



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sorry, but £2 grand for a 10 year old car is not cheap. If I was paying that sort of money for that age car it would have to be a bit special and I think that is where you are right in expecting better things. The card given to you about the cold starting is a shot in the foot for the dealer as he knew that there was a problem with the vehicle. You should hammer this point home in your letter and tell them what you expect them to do or give you a refund. I wouldnt trust them with the offer of an exchange unless you get an AA/RAC mechanical check done to any alternative vehicle at their expense..

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