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Hi and thanks in advance for any assistance you might give me. I run a small building company and we recently purchased a VW Passat from a dealer in Sutton to use as a company vehicle.

 

Although we noted what appeared to be a few minor issues we were initially happy with the purchase. Within a few days a loud whining began from the gearbox and so we took it to our local garage, who takes care of all of our vehicles and is tried and trusted.

 

He diagnosed gearbox failure and also ran a diagnostic which found that the throttle flap mechanism wasn't working correctly, another serious fault. He advised that the vehicle should not be driven until repairs had been made.

 

We contacted the dealer immediately to explain and he advised us to drive the vehicle back and he would carry out repairs. We advised that is wasn't safe to drive, but he kept insisting it would be fine. This was repeated a number of times until we decided to write to him explaining that we would not drive the vehicle.

 

We also do not believe we should pay for the vehicle to be recovered to his garage for the repairs, something which he is also insisting on. The vehicle has now remained undriven since the inspection and we are running out of patience.

 

We are prepared to arrange for the repairs to be done at our local garage but the dealer is refusing to cover the cost of this. It looks very much like we will have to go down the legal route but any input would be appreciated.

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you are not protected by any consumer rights laws, SOGA etc. as commercial.

However normal contract law would apply, and if it has defects, the dealer is still responsible, as quite soon after purchase; so return it to him, by towing or transporter and give him a chance to rectify; which is probably what a court would say.

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Hi Raydetinu,

 

Thanks for the response. Surely the dealer has a responsibility to ensure the vehicle is fit for purpose before sale from any major faults regardless of who the sale is made to. But then again it does kind of make sense that he may have seen this as an opportunity to exploit us as a business based upon that knowledge. It's my intention to spend this weekend trying to ascertain as much information regarding the legalities and responsibilities of car dealers before I decide what to do.

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Hi Raydetinu,

 

Thanks for the response. Surely the dealer has a responsibility to ensure the vehicle is fit for purpose before sale from any major faults regardless of who the sale is made to. But then again it does kind of make sense that he may have seen this as an opportunity to exploit us as a business based upon that knowledge. It's my intention to spend this weekend trying to ascertain as much information regarding the legalities and responsibilities of car dealers before I decide what to do.

 

 

Well I see what you're saying but you already said it was fine at the time so it probably was fit for sale and free from major faults at the time of sale. They have offered to fix it, so I would either get it transported to them asap or drive it there VERY gently and let them do so.

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Hi Oddjobbob,

 

Thanks for the response. I haven't ruled it out yet, but quite aggrieved that we should have to pay for the transportation for a vehicle that failed within 2 weeks of purchase. The vehicle is not safe to drive any distance at all so remains at my local garage for the time being. I was hoping the dealer would accept that it would be more sensible, practical and cost efficient to allow my local garage to do the work and cover the cost, rather than have the car shipped over a hundred miles, and also we maybe thought we had the right to do so, but looking more and more likely that is not the case. Just gutted about the whole affair TBH.

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Yep. life's not easy is it?

 

 

Let's hope they DO actually fix it and don't start trying to claim your repairers have caused the damage in stripping it down etc.

 

 

If its not fixed within a reasonable time you need to sue for money back I reckon

 

 

Good luck anyway though.

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I don't think anyone wants a long and protracted situation but at the moment if it did blow up into court action what you have said so far could be argued as frustrating the situation. Your local garage might have misled you here. All they have said is that they confirm the box is noisy and that there are fault codes logged ( which they do) indicating the throttle flap is not operating properly. What they have not told you is if the codes are current or historic. They could be historic and are therefore nebulous.

 

 

I don't believe from what you have said that they have advised the vehicle is unsafe...only that they cannot determine how long the box will last for so don't recommend driving it. Well that's how I interpret your post.

 

 

I think to move this on you need to arrange to get the car back to the dealer so they can do what they have promised. Of course if it did go further then you could claim for incidental costs.

Also remember as has been pointed out, you are operating outside of consumer protection regs.

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Hi Heliosuk,

 

Thanks for the response, as with all the responses its much appreciated.

 

We have use our local garage for the last three years for all of our vehicles, and Steve the owner is a good friend and straight as they come. He isn't the sort of person to make capital out of a situation and, due to the business we give him, has already provided costs which are more than fair to try and help the situation. Costs of good 2nd hand gearbox between £500-£800 plus £180 fitting and throttle mechanism approx £200 new plus £60 fitting. Worst case scenario it would still cost the dealer about a grand if i was to return the vehicle but we could be £300 out of pocket for the transportation plus no guarantee that works have been carried out to our satisfaction and the time, effort and money that will be spent subsequently if repairs unsatisfactory.

 

That being said I do have to look at this situation from the perspective of an unbiased third party and it could appear that we are frustrating the situation by insisting that we are not liable for the costs of transporting the vehicle back to the dealer for repairs to be undertaken. However this isn't just based upon the cost, it's also the fact that we simply do not trust him. Although we are not mechanics, the noise coming from the gearbox is enough for even a layman to not be comfortable in driving it any distance, yet he insisted we drive the vehicle back and if it broke down he would then recover us, but this contradicts his statement of refusing to recover the vehicle.

 

It's the combination of all these factors that make us uncomfortable with putting ourselves at his mercy. We have purchased many vehicles over the years and when issues have arisen they have been dealt with by the various dealers in a professional manner than generally reflects the desire from them to protect both their reputation and ensuring the likelihood of doing business with us again.

 

It's looking most likely we will just elect to repair the vehicle ourselves and chalk this up to experience. We haven't ruled out chasing some form of compensation, subject to us having some form of case, but it's likely this guy knows just how to present himself in situations of this kind to have the edge.

 

I'm a firm believer in Karma, so perhaps things will even themselves out in time.....

 

Thanks again to all of you for your objective feedback. Much appreciated!

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Was there a contract or an invoice made out to your business ?

 

 

Even if there was a contract and it took away your statutory rights, there are still implied terms and they don't have to be written.

If you feel the goods are not of satisfactory quality, you can sue for breach of contract.

 

 

All the above assuming that they don't after all fix the problem.

 

 

As above, get it back to him even if you have to pay. There may be circumstances later where you can make a demand for a refund of any transport fee should it be flatbedded.

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We have a bill of sale so not sure if that constitutes a contract. There is no doubt that the goods are not of satisfactory quality and on that basis I do believe I have grounds to sue. Just whether its a worthwhile exercise considering our position. I really don't see us returning the vehicle. Just have a really bad feeling as to where that might lead.

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did they not offer any sort of warranty with purchase?

 

Yes you have grounds to sue; you still have statutory rights ( unless there was a clause in the sales contract that removed them ).

As goods not of sound quality ( faulty ) they must repair, replace etc. cost of taking it back will be by negotiation with seller! ( you could try 50/50 ).

You could repair yourself and then sue for cost ( you will need expert report on the faults ). sooner the better. ( depends on how Judge sees it on the day ).

 

 

It is understandable that dealer would not want it repaired elsewhere as he does not want to pay somebody else their profit etc., he would be able write off his labour costs, and would just pay for parts.

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Hi Raydetinu

 

I can understand the dealers attitude to minimizing his costs but he has a duty to ensure the vehicle was mechanically sound at point of sale, and as the gearbox failed within a few days (most likely was failing prior to sale but not evident) and the throttle mechanism was almost certainly defective prior to sale (emissions warning on dash but he insisted it just needed a service), he simply hasn't done so. As we have paid £250 for an inspection and the bill for transportation likely to be around £300 with no guarantee that works will be satisfactory we could be further out of pocket with no guarantee of a decent outcome.

 

I think the major factor in our hesitancy to return the vehicle has been his behavior after the event. We had to phone him a number of times as he kept hanging up on us. He then kept changing tack with regards to at one point indicating that he would collect the vehicle. Then asking us to pay for half the cost of transportation and now insisting we return the vehicle entirely at our own cost. He was also insisting it was just a bearing issue, which is quite a staggering ability to diagnose the vehicle without even seeing it!

 

I am considering asking if he would at least consider covering the cost of the parts and we have our own garage fit them, as this would equate to the cost of transportation and at least we would be certain that the works are carried out to our satisfaction. Not sure if that weakens our case though if he refused and we elected to sue?

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Hi Oddjobbob,

 

Just have a gut instinct that if we do allow him it's not likely to be satisfactory and really don't want a prolonged scenario. Hoping we might negotiate something more sensible for both parties as in he pay for the parts and we cover the labour at our local garage.

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