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Second hand car dealer & small Claims court

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Hi All


This is a long post so bear with me. I've done a lot of research and I think I know what I'm doing but I would really like to hear your thoughts, comments and suggestions on my tail so far. At this point in time small claims is unavoidable so any suggestions where my claim is weak and what I could do to address it would be greatly appreciated. I have laid out the story so far in a time line below. Many Thanks Jonathan


At the beginning of May I purchased a Mercedes A Class A200 for £3000 including delivery. I stupidly bought it unseen from a dealer over 150 miles away using my debit car for the deposit and then the balance. I did call the dealer and ask a lot of questions before hand and do a HPI check which was clear. The car came with a 6 month third party warranty from WorldofWarranty.com which I now know is not worth the paper it is written on.


03/05/2015 Called dealer, Confirmed specification, Asked pointed questions about rust as 2005 mercs can have a problem, was told the car was good and although rust had been there is had been sorted. Paid deposit and received receipt for deposit stating car identity, amount and number of miles on clock was 105K 06/05/2015 had to chase dealer to pay balance

14/05/2015 Car is delivered by a driver, I have no time to look at the car as I have to give the driver a lift to the station to get a timed train. I do notice the instrument cluster display is blank/faulty I am unable to see mileage.

15/05/2015 I email the dealer say I am unhappy with the car and it is not as described. I outline the following faults which I have found. Ask dealer to call me



  • · Engine is overcooling
  • · Engine light on due to faulty glowplugs
  • · Obvious and advanced rust in both doors and tailgate
  • · 7K more miles on clock than advertised
  • · Service history missing last two stamps
  • · Instrument cluster faulty, no mileage displayed
  • · Passenger side folding mirror faulty & unsecured
  • · Both front tyres need replacing
  • · Warped front brake disks, and rears badly corroded.

16/05/2015 email dealer chasing reply, I get what looks like an automated response saying I will get a response in 48 hours

17/05/2015 received email from dealer, says that the faults are not that serious and that he has already spent money fixing the car, stated that he has already spent putting a brand new shock and spring on the front and a hand brake cable. Dealer offers £100 as good will.

18/05/2015 I respond to dealer stating that some of the faults are serious and need to be addressed. I try to be reasonable and state that I will keep the car if they agree to two things


  • They source two replacement doors in the correct colour within the next 6 weeks and I will fit at my expense,
  • They arrange to have the glow plugs replaced at a garage or their choosing, near my address. If they agree to this I will fix the remainder of the faults myself.

18/05/2015 I get almost immediate automated response stating I will be contacted in 48 hours

21/05/2015 in the morning I send chaser email as I have had no response. Not long after this I spot a very similar car being scrapped on ebay. I contact the scrap yard and an able to do a deal for two doors and a tailgate for £75 each plus £80 delivery.

21/05/2015 I email the dealer stating I have found these doors and suggest that if they agree to pay for the doors I will pay for the tailgate. A couple of hours later I receive an email from dealer stating that he agrees to pay for doors but not postage???. I feel as they are agreeing to my terms outlined on the 18th that I will foot the postage just to get this sorted.

That evening I receive an email asking for an email confirmation stating if they pay for the doors I will agree that they have resolved the issue and have been very helpful.

22/05/2015 I send email saying I am happy to state the replacement doors will resolve the rust issue but that I am still waiting for the glow plug issue to be resolved.

22/05/2015 late evening I receive £150 from dealer into my account for the doors.

Over the next two weeks I chase the doors and get them fitted and sort out a trip to the garage to get the car looked over. Perhaps naively I assume the dealer is sorting out somewhere to get the glow plugs replaced.

22/05/2015 Concerned about how the car feels and sounds and now loosing trust in the dealer I put it into a local garage for them to service and look over. The following faults are found on top of what I had already discovered



  • · Fuel filler pipe corroded
  • · Centre exhaust corroded
  • · OSF shock & spring broken ( the one they said they had replaced)
  • · Flywheel worn

I ask about flywheel and was told that although it is noticeably noisy there are no other symptoms like vibration, slippage, or poor gear change so just keep a close eye on it. The mechanic also stated that in his opinion no service had been carried out on this car for a very long time. The air filter had a 2011 date stamp on it and was effectively blocked.

Having a broken spring and shock renders the car dangerous to drive so I booked the car in to get this replaced.

23/05/2015 two front tyres replaced £182 at my expense(I have not claimed for these)

24/05/2015 Instrument cluster from ebay fitted at my expense(I have added this to my claim)


29/05/2015 Replace all brake disks and pads at my expense(I have not claimed for these)

08/06/2015 I contact the dealer stating the doors have arrived and been fitted and that the rust issue is now closed. I request that we deal with the glow plug issue. I provide 3 quotes from local garages ranging from £220, £300 and £500. I state that I wish to go with the £300 one and in an effort to be reasonable and bring this to a conclusion I will pay the difference between the lowest and the middle quote.

10/06/2015 I request a response to my email from the 8th

12/06/2015 Again I request a response to my email from the 8th

12 06/2015 I get the front shock and spring replaced at my expense (I have added this to my claim)


13/06/2015 I receive a response from the dealer simply asking me to resent email

14/06/2015 while driving the car develops strong vibrations indicating the flywheel has taken a turn for the worst

15/06/2015 I resend my email from the 08th

15/06/2015 I arrange the car to go into a local Mercedes specialist to diagnose the vibrations. I give them the warranty information I was supplied with the car which appears to cover flywheel faults. Later that day they confirm the flywheel is faulty and could possibly disintegrate if driven. They tell me they have been in contact with the warranty company who will be sending out an engineer to confirm their findings.

16/06/2015 I receive an email from the dealer simply stating the final payment has been made and matter is closed.

I don’t know if this meant they have sent payment for glow plugs or are just talking about the doors so I send an email asking for confirmation about what payments have been made and when.

17/06/2015 I call the Mercedes garage. The engine has been removed so that the flywheel and clutch can be closely examined. This was at the request of the warranty company. He confirms that in his opinion they are beyond repair. He confirms that the warranty company have sent an engineer to examine the flywheel clutch. He tells me I am looking at over £1000 for replacement. He will get a more accurate estimate when he gets the actual cost for the parts

17/06/2015 I immediately email the dealer stating that the flywheel and clutch have failed and that the warranty company are looking at it. I state that the warranty only cover up to £500 and the actual bill will be significantly higher. I state that as I have only have the car 5 weeks and have done less than 250 miles in that time then the fault was clearly there at time of purchase. I state I wish to invoke my rights under the sales of goods act and will either return the car for a full refund or accept a substantial contribution towards the repair. I ask them to call me to discuss.

18/06/2015 the warranty company call to inform the garage that the clutch and flywheel are not covered as they have simply come to the end of their life rather than suffering premature failure. They state due to the short period of time between the the inseption of the warranty (ie when I purchased the car) and the failure that the fault was already there when the warranty was started.

18/06/2015 I email the dealer stating that the warranty company have refused to cover the flywheel & clutch. I State they are now liable for the full cost of repair or I will accept a refund + plus the costs of diagnosis. I also state that the car is currently taking up a ramp at the Mercedes garage with its engine out and needs agreement today. I also state that given the time they usually take to respond to emails that I require a response today or I will be forced to have the repair done at my expense and will seek to recover the cost from them. I give them the number of the Mercedes garage and again ask them to call me to discuss.

30 mins later I get the following email form the dealer


Sorry to hear once again from you that you are complaining about something else.We are surprise to hear every time you email us you come with new issue I spoke with gaffer and he confirmed that full and final payment of settlement has been sent to you last time when we replace the door and we have email to confirm it there will be no further emails. We are not here to make cars from Old to new


You been given warranty Best warranty cover for this age and warranty allowed us to grant under the Act or under any condition on second hand car dealers are not liable for wear and tear That's why warranty been given so in case of any issue you can contact with them and get it repaired



Unfortunately on this occasion i am unable to help



Trying very hard to keep my calm I immediately send a response outlining all the faults to date. I pointed out the lied about the mileage, they lied about replacing the front strut and spring, they lied about servicing the car before delivery, they lied about it having a full service history and they lied about obvious rust being present. I pointed out they they have made very little effort to address the issues I had raised and that they where legaly obliged to do so. Yet again I stated that I either wanted a full refund including the cost of repairs to date or they paid to have the clutch and flywheel replaced.

An hour later around 12:30 I received the following

We received your email and pass it to legal department so they will answer you within 14 Days



So I was left with a car in pieces in the garage and the garage pressing me for a decision as it was taking up a ramp and space. I could have simply got the car put back together with the faulty parts at a cost of £600 labour or I could go ahead with the repair at a cost of £1300, the only silver lining is as the engine is out it is very easy to replace the glow plugs and thermostat so that would only cost £100.

I figured at this point it was reasonable to conclude that the dealer has no intention of refunding or repairing the car, they said as much when I asked about the glow plugs before the flywheel issue.

If I simply paid the £600 and to put it back together I could get it home but it would be unsafe and unusable and a complete waist of money. Also I need my car for work. So reluctantly I reached for the emergency credit card and asked the Mercedes garage to go ahead and replace the clutch flywheel and glowplugs.

18/06/2015 I send a final email the the dealer thanking them for the confirmation that they would not be addressing any issued raised. As they are apparently an AA garage I send them a link to the AAs website where it outlines my rights as a buyer and ask them to send all my emails so far to their Legal department for review. I again outline the circumstances and their legal obligations and the consumer rights act and give them one more chance to pay for the repair or I will be forced to let the small claims court decide on all the issues.

19/06/2015 I send them a registered letter outlining the above except AS I was being forced to go the small claims route I was now including full repair costs for the flywheel, clutch, glowplugs, instrument cluster, Shock and spring plus a small amount to compensate for the additional 7k miles the car seemed to have traveled from me paying my deposit to it arriving. In total £1840 and I gave them 7 days to reply.

20/06/2015 at the suggestion of a friend I look up the cars MOT history online. It turms out that it had an MOT in March this year where among other things it failed on osf shock and spring its mileage at this time was recorded as 112K, no retest was done. Its next MOT was on the 12/05/2015 2 days before delivery, it failed on OSF shack and spring, it was retested the following day and passed with a recorded mileage of 112K. The OSF shock and spring was the one I had to have replaced. I think this establishes that the garage think nothing of selling cars with dodgy MOTs and that they knew the mileage when they sold the car.

I have to date received no further reply from the dealer.I have retained all receipts, replaced parts and emails sent and received and I received from the warranty company an independent engineers report stating the flywheel and clutch where faulty when the car was purchased.


Tomorrow I will send a final BEFORE ACTION letter and give them a final 7 days to reply. IF I don’t get a response by then I will start proceedings.

As mentioned above any thoughts, comments and suggestions much appreciated.




Edited by carsen80
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Well, that's a war and piece post you have there.


As you bought this car at a distance, can you state your method of payment, ie Credit Card or Debit Card ?


All that I have read seems you have done a good job of getting a case together. Courts aren't very accommodating to car dealers and used car dealers especially.

Edited by Conniff
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Well, that's a war and piece post you have there.


As you bought this car at a distance, can you state your method of payment, ie Credit Card or Debit Card ?


All that I have read seems you have done a good job of getting a case together. Courts aren't very accommodating to car dealers and used car dealers especially.


Looks like debit card dealer "over 150 miles away using my debit car for the deposit and then the balance"

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Looks like debit card dealer "over 150 miles away using my debit car for the deposit and then the balance"


Sorry, I must have forgot that bit by the time I got to the end.


If it is on your card, then you have the upper hand as you can tell them it they don't play by the book, you will do a chargeback on the card and they can come and collect the car.


I would send that by Recorded.

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If I had known I could do a charge back on a credit card in the beginning I would have. I only found out recently that was an option. The problem I have is I have spent over £2k on repairs.

If I did a charge back now I'd only get the original cost of the car (£3K) and I'd have to give the car back.


My only option is to go after the dealer for the cost of the repairs I believe he is liable for which amounts to £1840.


The day after receiving the car I asked for a return/refund or gave them the option that if they pay for the doors and glow plugs and I would keep it.

When they paid for the doors a couple of days later I assumed (perhaps naively) we had an agreement so I started fixing the minor faults (tyres, brake disks, full service) at my cost.

By the time it became obvious they where not going to do the glow plugs for me I had spent over £500 putting it straight and then the Clutch/flywheel failed.


I was now approaching the point of no return, I could force a charge back and lose what I had already put into the car or ask them to pay for the major repairs.

I knew before I emailed them they were not going to sort out the flywheel or give me a refund but I had to give them the opportunity. I had resigned myself to the fact this would end up in small claims so I needed their refusal to help (which they obliged me with) so that I had grounds to get the car fixed and then claim it back.


The things I'm currently unsure of is

I put the car into a garage to get the flywheel looked at before I notified the garage. This was because at that time I thought it was covered by the third party warranty they had supplied. The warranty company asked the garage to strip the car down and then they refused to pay for it as it was wear and tear. Could the dealer claim they were not given the correct opportunity to fix the car? The repair had not started at this point but the engine was out and in bits.

The second area I'm unsure of is who do I name in the small claims process. The dealer is safi cars Ltd of Leicester, do I name the director or do I just go after the company and hope it doesn't fold if I win?


Many Thanks



forgot to add, I sent a record letter on the 22nd yet again outlining what I expected them to pay for and why, I asked for a response within 7 days and you guessed it nothing.

Yesterday I sent another recorded letter marked last before action. same as the last one but more polished, I have asked them to respond within 7 days.

My question is Have I given them enough time? can I start proceedings next Tuesday if I don't hear anything?




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I have raised a small claim on moneyclaim.gov.uk.

They have 14 days to answer so watch this space.


If anyone has any suggestions or comments about how to fight my case it would be a help.

I am aware that it is a limited company I am going after. Are there any precautions or steps I should take in this regard?



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I received a recorded letter today from the dealer. The first contact I have had with them since they refused to help with clutch issue (or any issues for that matter) on the 18th June and told me their legal department would be in contact within 14 days. only five days late then.


In it they state that the salesman and description where accurate and I was fully aware of the cars condition before I bought it. I believe this to be rubbish but thats for the judge to decide.


In it they state that I was told the correct mileage by the salesman and that the advert was a typo. This is an outright lie.


They also state that I should have expected rust in a 10 year old car and that they agreed to pay for the doors in good faith. They state that I agreed if they paid for the doors that it would be the end to all my issues and that I would not contact them again??? They state they have written confirmation from me to this effect. So a total tissue of lies and I'd love to see this written confirmation as I can only assume it has been forged.

They also state this means I have accepted the car and are therefore not entitled to a refund.


On the issue of the clutch they state that the independent engineer from the warranty company reported that the clutch and flywheel had not failed but where just worn out?? so as they where still operational whats the problem. I feel loud grinding noises, vibration and a sense of impending doom are the problem. This is interesting because in the report I received from the warranty company it clearly states the Clutch and flywheel have come to the end of their serviceable life and need replacing.


They finish of by saying they are appealing the warranty companies decision which will take 7 to 10 days, on what basis they are appealing they don't say.

They go on to say that should this matter go any further they will defend their position, I will have to prove they where in breach of contract and I expected to much from a 10 year old car. They state that all my issues are down to wear and tear for which they are not liable.

They ask that I do not spend any money until I hear from them again and not to repair the car.


To late I’ve already spent over £2K getting it road worthy and in the last two recorded letters I sent them it clearly stated the car had been repaired and I was seeking costs.

19 days ago my car was broken and in bits and they emailed me to say they would not help and not respond to any further emails. They left me no choice but to pay for the repair myself and now it looks like they are going to try and argue that I did not give them sufficient opportunity to rectify the problem.

Given that I received an email from them on the 18th saying they would not help and then another one an hour later saying that it had gone to their legal department and they would reply in 14 days do they have a valid defence?

Thanks Jonathan

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Your "Golden nugget" of evidence in your case against the dealer is the vehicles MOT history and the subsequent report from your garage.


Print out the MOT history and keep that report safe. That proves beyond reasonable doubt (and most certainly on the 'balance of probability' (which is what you're dealing with on the small claims track)) that they are full of something brown & sticky.


Which will, of course, cast doubt on anything else they have to say. I'd say that you're on a surefire win thumbup.gif However!



The problem you're going to have (I expect) is enforcing the judgement and getting what you're owed. I dare say that the ltd company will disappear faster than a fast thing, and be miraculously reborn the next day, either with the same director(s) or new names. Which will leave you without a lot of room for maneuver I'm afraid sad.png

Please note that my posts are my opinion only and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice.
In fact, they're probably just waffling and can be quite safely and completely ignored as you wish.

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That always amuses me, their attempt to intimidate 'our legal department'. They don't have a legal department. If they are using legal it will be a solicitor from down the road.

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According to money claim online the dealer has submitted an acknowledgement of service yesterday.


I'm now a little confused. This give them upto 28 days to submit a defense. However I have not been asked for any specific details or evidence yet so how can they submit a defense?


The online form for raising a claim only allowed for a small amount of text explaining my claim. The text I submitted was very close to the limit and is as follows.


At the beginning of May I purchased Mercedes

A Class A200 for £3000 from Safi Cars LTD in

Leicester. I purchased the car unseen as I

live 150 miles from the dealer. I called the

dealer and ask a lot of questions before hand

and did a HPI check which was clear. Within a

day of the car being delivered it was obvious

it had several serious issues which render

the car not as described, not fit for purpose

and not of satisfactory quality as covered

under the sales of goods act. I contacted the

dealer straight away via email and over the

course of the next 5 weeks tried to negotiate

a return or satisfactory repair. The dealer

has refused point blank to address any

mechanical issues and not to contact them

again. I have been forced to

undertake repairs just to get the car safe

and roadworthy. I now seek to recover these

costs from Safi Cars Ltd.


My question is have I missed a stage out where I detail the points of my case so the defendant has an opportunity to address each of them, Otherwise what is the point of giving them additional time?




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My advice (I have just been through all this) keep the fight going, be polite and do NOT lose your temper no matter how they goad you or lie.


Keep a record of all emails, responses and letters and even print off and keep the signed for part of Royal Mail website - everytime they receive your letter forward a PDF copy to them by email including the signed for JPEG.

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Now you just have to wait to see if they file a Defence. It is best to use the time to get your evidence together - evidence of the faults and evidence of what you were told/what the advert said.




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My advice (I have just been through all this) keep the fight going, be polite and do NOT lose your temper no matter how they goad you or lie.


Keep a record of all emails, responses and letters and even print off and keep the signed for part of Royal Mail website - everytime they receive your letter forward a PDF copy to them by email including the signed for JPEG.


This will encourage and inspire you carsen, a link to poor-boy winning thread:



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This morning I have recieved a copy of the Acknowledgment of service.

Interestingly as well as saying he wishes to defend all of the claim the defendant is also contesting jurisdiction.


Is there any reason to contest jurisdiction or is it just a delaying tactic?



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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just checked MCOL and the dealer filed his defense today. Am I allowed to post it here?


Also what happens now? there does not seem to be any options on the MCOL page for me to submit evidence or take things to the next stage, whatever that is.



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You may post the defence here if you like, but please remove personal details such as name/address/reg number.


The next stage will be for the court to send out direction questionnaires.




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Thanks steampowered


here it is




















It is as I thought, they are going to try and say that I did not give them time or opportunity to address the flywheel issue before getting it fixed.

How strong is this defense given the details given so far.


Many Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have now received the paperwork from the court regarding the other parties defence.


I have filled in the N180 form agreeing to mediation although I think this is pointless.

I have requested a venue change to a court close to me and I have sent this recorded to the court and to the other party.


I shall keep the thread updated as thing progress

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The Defence doesn't sound very strong. However Judges can still often side with dealers in this sort of case on the grounds that used cars are not perfect and you often expect problems, so you'll need evidence about how serious the problems are and to prove that they are not just minor things. Good luck.




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I agree that it is reasonable to expect small faults on a second hand car and to that end before I purchased it I set aside £500 contingency to cover these.

However having only had the car a day it was obvious that it had a number of faults that where unreasonable especially given the wording of the advert

and the description given to me by the salesman over the phone and remember I didn't see or test the car before delivery.



These being engine light on and serious rust issues.

I emailed the dealer and made it very clear that I would only keep the car if these two faults where addressed at his expense

and being reasonable I would cover the multitude of other smaller issues at my expense.



Given that a few days later he agreed to and sent the money for replacement doors I believed we had an agreement

and set about fixing all the other issues at my expense.


Two weeks later when I chased him about sorting the engine light he said that he was not going to do anything about it.

by this time I had spent nearly £500 fixing the other issues and returning the car was no longer an option.


It was at this time when I was thinking about what to do next the flywheel started producing serious vibrations

, I was aware that it was noisy but the vibrations where new.


Using the warranty provided by the dealer I put it into a garage to get it sorted and the long and the short of it is,

the clutch & flywheel had worn out and the warranty company refused to pay.



I contacted the dealer knowing he was going to tell me where to go but I had to give him the opportunity.

I received an email the same day from him saying he wouldn't help so I was left with a £1600 bill for the repair on a ca

r I'd had for 5 weeks and done less than 250 miles in.

I believe this to be unreasonable.


To add insult to injury the dealer told me ( and I have proof) that he had spent money replacing the osf spring and shock to get it through its MOT.

I checked the MOT records on the DVLA and two days before delivery it failed its MOT on osf shock and the day before delivery it passed.


When I had the car professionally looked at the osf shock and spring where very badly and obviously broken and I had to have them replaced.

This demonstrates that the dealer is a liar and thinks nothing about providing fraudulent MOTS.


So to sum up

I can demonstrate I have been VERY reasonable,

I have given the dealer opportunity to resolve the issues, he had 5 weeks to fix the engine fault and didn't do a thing.



I can demonstrate the flywheel was failing at purchase as I have the engineers report from the warranty company

and I can proove the dealer is a liar.



I'm hoping this is enough to nail him to the floor.

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  • 1 month later...

After buying a car from a rogue dealer trading as a limited company

I started small claims action against them.



I have just received a letter from the court giving a court date and asking for all the paperwork etc to be sent to the other party and to the court.


This has been going on a while

I thought before I did anything I would check up on them and low and behold there is DS01 voluntary strike of lodged by them at the end of September.

None of their web sites are active and I cannot find if another company has started up at the same address.


My question is

is there much point carrying on with the claim?

I am suing for around £1800 and I have to pay the court another £170 by mid December to continue I cannot help thinking it is just good money after bad.


The limited company umbrella crap is perfect for rogue car traders to disappear and I think this is just what is happening here.


I could put in a stop to the dissolving but even if I do and I win my case I now believe there is little chance of actually getting any money back at all.


My best bet would be to go after the sole director as it is obvious to me he is just using the ltd company as a cover for being a sole trader but I'm not sure that is even possible.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated


The company in question is Safi Cars Limited No. 08713087 and they also go with the name Benson street cars.


The dealer I'm suing has filed a DS01 to strike off the company.



I now feel there is little point carrying on and as I need to pay £170 to the court by mid December I feel this is just good money after bad.


The ability for car dealers to hide behind limited companies which they can shut down and create at will is an obvious massive whole in the system that needs addressing.


have started another thread to discuss this here


Hopefully it will provide some information about where to go next

but the bottom line is if buying a second hand car from a dealer make sure they have been around for a while and have good accounts filed.


At least then there is less chance of them shutting down and starting again under a new company umbrella.

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