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Second Hand car purchase- problems, help needed!


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Hi all- please bear with me, completely new to this forum!


I'm really hoping you can offer me some advice. In November i went to view and subsequently purchased a 2004 car with 81000 miles from a independent dealer from an advert which stated the following:


Metallic panther black, An extremely beautiful car, Comfortable and safe , A joy to drive. This will not be around for long so come test drive today., 6 months warranty, Next MOT due 01/11/2015, Last serviced on 04/11/2014 at 81,600 miles,


Service history, Excellent bodywork, Interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Excellent

Despite being told there was service history, this never appeared when the car was delivered and i was advised it would be sent to be at a later date- never arrived as apparently the dealer couldn't gain this from the old owner.


We also noticed a few issues with the car; reverse lights flicked on and off, car vibrated alot up hill, didn't always start first time (AA called twice) amongst other things so after getting Christmas and a holiday out the way i contacted the warranty claims dpt and booked the car in for a check with my local garage.


Friday afternoon i get a call to say the bill (if they were to go ahead and carry the work out) is going to come to £3500!! They said it required a full service as well as a gearbox service - they mentioned all the filters and glow plugs needed replacing and there was also a substantial oil leak (sometihng i wouldn't expect from a car serviced in November, as stated in the ad). They also said part of the gearbox (control unit and gearbox selector module) needed replacing as well as all the diesel pumps.


Bear in mind the service at this point hadn't been done so goodness knows what else will need doing at that point. The garage then phoned the warranty claim dpt who told them absolutely none of it was going to be covered.


This is a big Mercedes so i appreciate the bill for any work will be high (i also know this garage is very honest and won't rip me off) but how how much of this should have been picked up by the dealer i got it from? surely this car isn't fit for purpose- some mornings it won't even start- hardly suprising now i know its not getting much diesel to the engine and the glow plugs are knackered!


I have phoned citizens advice who have advised i contact the dealer and inform him of all of this- said dealer is away until 23rd Feb.


So where do i stand- obvioulsy i'd want him to pay for everything due at this moment in time but this doesn't include anything the service may bring up- a service he was meant to have carried out before i bought the car!! Sorry for the essay!!!

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I don't pretend to be knowledgeable in the law so please look out for others contributing, but on the basis they haven't so far I'll point out the following:



  • The warranty (even if it were worth the paper it was written on) has no part to play here, you bought the car less than 6 months ago therefore I understand the Sale of Goods Act applies - the car must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose - neither of which it is.
  • I would write to the dealer now, sending recorded delivery, detailing the faults you understand to be present (include the report from your mechanic if he's given you one) and outlining how you expect the issue to be resolved. Give him a reasonable time to respond.
  • I understand from reading previous similar threads it would be helpful to know how you paid for the car, e.g. credit card, finance etc.

Personally I'd be wary of throwing accusations around at the moment with regard to the service you suspect he hasn't performed. On what basis does your mechanic make that statement? Are filters and other consumable parts visibly dirty and unchanged? My basis for saying 'be wary' is because it's often better to avoid getting the dealer's back up if you want him to respond in a helpful way. Jumping in with both feet risks having him clam up and forcing you down the legal route.

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Some merc gearboxes did have issues with the gearbox selector control module but I seem to remember Mercedes were paying for it so I'd check that out. Take the VIN number toa Mercedes dealer and see if there are any outstanding service campaigns on it. The diesel pump(s) need replacing. They have two, a High pressure one and a lift pump and I doubt they need changing. Its more likely to be the injectors which is now a serviceable item like filters at 100,000 km's (not miles) so possible. However as they are serviceable items you could have a battle on your hands.

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