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Faulty van

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I bought a small van as a stop gap for 1400 with 150k on the clock, after 29 days the alternator failed.

I spoke to the dealer who informed me they do not cover alternators in the warranty.

I replaced it myself as I want to use the van, now the engine management light has come on with the ignition coils showing as faulty it's about 6 weeks since purchase, can I claim against them to recover monies?

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I'm afraid that you haven't helped yourself by changing the alternator yourself.


The alternator – and in fact the entire vehicle is covered by the Consumer Rights Act and this means that every part of the vehicle must be of satisfactory quality and must remain that way for a reasonable period of time.


What is reasonable and what is satisfactory is based upon the opinion of a reasonable consumer given all the circumstances of the sale – type of goods, age of goods, price paid, any other claims made about it.


You have certainly bought a very high mileage vehicle and you haven't paid a lot for it. I would have thought that alternator is quite typically would have a lower life expectation than, say, the gearbox.


However, I would not have expected anything to break down in the first 29 days.


The seller has fobbed you off – and instead of researching and coming to this forum and asking questions (you have been here since 2010, after all) you accepted the word of a used-car dealer!! and went off and replaced it yourself.


Now you are in a position where if the dealer is thinking quickly, he may say to you that because you have interfered with the vehicle yourself, you have negated at least some aspects of your rights under the Consumer Rights Act.


This is especially possible because it is possible that the management light problem is in some way related to the alternator problem. Even if they are not related, the dealer may well say that they are related and you could find it difficult to prove otherwise.


Is it possible to say that the problem with the ignition coils is totally unrelated to the alternator? I certainly would expect the van to keep on going without any major problems for a lot longer than six weeks.


It's a great shame that you didn't reject the van at the 29 days. Under the new Consumer Rights Act you were entitled to do so but now you have lost the opportunity.


I think that you need to find out the cost of replacing the ignition coils and come back here and let us know what it is. I can imagine that you will have a lot of trouble enforcing the contract against this dealer and of course also because it is such an old and high mileage van, once you replace the ignition coils, you have no idea what the next thing might be which will go wrong – and quite quickly.


If we pretend that there had been no alternator problem, then I would advise you to get an estimate for replacing the ignition coils and then to speak to the dealer and ask him about replacing them himself. This is still a way forward, and you would be best off not mentioning the alternator and hoping that he has forgotten it all that if he hasn't forgotten it then that he doesn't use that as part of an argument against sorting out the ignition coils.

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Both failures are un related, at the end of the day I needed the van for work so it was easier to replace it there and then.

When the alternator failed the AA recovered it to my house and next day I went to the dealer to see about repairing it.

As his answer was they do not cover , I repaired it that day so I could use it the next

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I was interested in who the warranty was with as all warranties are useless. Warranties are offered so buyers think they are getting piece of mind, anything go wrong and it will be put right. An alternator is a huge thing and high on the list of parts that would/should be covered by a warranty.


Anyway, warranties have no place in an argument with a car dealer, the law is on your side and the only warranty worth mentioning is the Consumer rights act. These law were written because of the attitude of car dealers who, incidentally, are the most complained about industry in the UK.

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