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Bought used car December, major issues 1 day out of warranty ** Settled **


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Hi folks,

 

Mid-December last year, I bought a used car from a local dealer to replace our family car which was dying a death after many years of faithful service. The car looked to be in good condition (for a 10 year old car), full service history, 89k on the clock, just what we were looking for. I paid £1500 for the car plus £150 for a new cam belt and water pump as there was no evidence of this in the service history. they gave me £100 for our old car in part exchange. The car came with three months warranty.

 

On 12th March (one day after the warranty expired), we broke down on the way to our son's birthday party in another town. The car reported "Low oil pressure" and proceeded to dump oil all over the car park of the venue. RAC was called out and they found a pipe that connects into the oil filter(?) was disconnected from its spigot and was basically just spraying oil all over the engine bay. he re-connected the pipe, washed out the engine bay, filled me back up with oil, I thanked him and we went our separate ways.

 

On the way home from the party, we broke down again, this time no alarms or messages on the dash but we had a lot of white smoke coming from the back of the car. RAC was called again, they found that all that new oil the previous guy had put in was now gone, and this time they towed me to the garage I have used for years where it sat for the weekend and I phoned them to tell them what the issue was and ask them to take a look.

 

I had a call back from them the following day and they've said that the engine is building up too much pressure and blowing out whichever pipe is easiest, causing the engine to dump the oil. they said the cause of this is something to do with the piston rings and I was probably looking at having to replace the engine. Best case scenario, I'm looking at approx £1500, pretty much what I paid for the car three months prior.

 

I called the dealer to try and open a dialog to get this sorted. I was told to call back the following day and talk to the owner. I asked for his name three times, they wouldn't give it to me. I also asked for a specific time to call and they wouldn't give me that either. After speaking to someone the following day and getting nowhere, I wrote them a letter detailing what the garage had found, the estimate of repair and as the car was just outside of its warranty (and because of the previous conversation I'd had with them) some text regarding the Consumer Rights Act (taken from the gov website).

 

I've received a response from the dealer basically saying it's not on them because a "full inspection" was made by us on the day of purchase (I know nothing about cars, which is why I tend to prefer buying from dealers :/ ), to their knowledge the car was in good condition, and the 3 month warranty had expired.

 

They've also gone on to say the issues we mentioned are not covered by their warranty anyway, and as the vehicle was manufactured a long time ago, they "cannot guarantee something may happen" to it. They state that they performed a "standard vehicle inspection" and it has a "full valid MOT".

 

I'm not sure what my next step should be at this point. Do I send them another letter arguing their points and suggesting a full diagnosis at their expense? Or do I go to small claims court at this stage?

 

Any help (including wording for the next letter) greatly appreciated!

 

If anyone can offer any advice on what's probably going to happen and my best course of action for if they refuse to do anything, I'd really appreciate it. Many thanks in advance.

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How did you pay for the car?

Send the dealer giving them the chance to put things right in a letter

I'd that fails lkettwt before action

Then on to small claims court

If i have helped in any way hit my star.

any advice given is based on experience and learnt from this site :-)

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Paid cash, unfortunately :(

 

First letter already sent and we've received a reply from them.

 

Is there anything specific I should be saying in the letter before action or should it basically be arguing the points they've made and then reiterating what we'd like them to do?

 

Thanks! :)

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What reply did you recieve?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Not sure if I should be typing it out verbatim or what.. I'll put it in a nutshell for now. They basically said a full inspection was made by us when we bought it, to their knowledge it was in good condition and the warranty had expired. they also went on to say the issues we described aren't covered by their warranty anyway and they "can't guarantee that something may happen" as the car was manufactured a long time ago.

 

They stated that they had carried out a "standard vehicle inspection" and not a full service, and that the car has a full valid MOT.

 

That's pretty much it. the problem I'm having is that I'm not an expert in cars. I know how to drive them and generally how to not

break them. Yes we did "inspect" the car before buying it, as in we had a good look around it, I have no idea how I would even go about spotting a sign of the problems we're facing now. Even the RAC didn't spot it on the first call out!

 

I'm not sure if it's acceptable to put the letters up here verbatim, or how that would affect my rights going forward, but I can do it if it's necessary.

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Perhaps get an independent report and see if the problems should have been noticed on an mot.

 

How many miles have you done since you bought the car until it broke down?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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What is the name of the dealer please – or are you trying to protect them?

 

By and large you can disregard the warranty. All purchases of any kind of good are subject to the Consumer Rights Act if they were purchased after October 2015. The only time you take the warranty into account is if the warranty provides for more advantageous rights than provided by statute.

 

Section 9 of the Consumer Rights Act requires that goods which you buy must be of satisfactory quality. This applies equally to second-hand goods. What is satisfactory depends on all the circumstances of the case including the price paid, the goods which you bought, their age and any description given about them – and in particular satisfactory quality depends on the view of a reasonable consumer given exactly the same set of circumstances.

 

You appear to have paid more than £1500 for a car which you have now had for about three months.

 

You have had some use out of it but one would certainly expect that you would get more than three months fairly untroubled use out of a £1500 car and so it is probably not of satisfactory quality.

 

Before you take any action you need to get a proper assessment of what is wrong with the car and also the cost of repairs. You should get yourself two independent assessments and quotations.

 

When you have got this information then please come back here and tell us.

 

Also, please can you tell us a bit more about the "full inspection" which you purportedly carried out.

 

In the meantime, you may well find that you will have to begin an action in the Small Claims Court. On the basis of what you say so far your chances of success are extremely high – better than 90% – but we need to know more.

 

While you're organising your quotations you should start doing a bit of background reading about the small claims process. It's not difficult but you need to know the steps and what your plan will be in advance.

 

Don't simply jump in and then try to work it out as you go along. Also, don't just rely people here to give you the answers all the time. Put in a bit of your own background work and you will feel much more confident and in control of what you're doing.

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Dealer can't use the "Full inspection" thing against you as you would have required a wheel free ramp, the correct tools and a considerable amount of time to complete this task. Most dealers would not allow this.

Also Full MOT has little bearing on engine fault.

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...they said the cause of this is something to do with the piston rings and I was probably looking at having to replace the engine. Best case scenario, I'm looking at approx £1500, ...

 

You haven't said how many miles the car has covered ?

What were the checks that came to come to that conclusion carried out ?

 

It would take a wet and dry compression test to determine that, but even that will not be conclusive. Along with a compression test should be a check of the engine breathing system. All engines, including brand new ones, will have crankcase pressure and that has to be exhausted somewhere

and is usually done by passing it back into the intake system to be burnt.

 

If the rings are worn because of high mileage or the use of cheap oil, there is another solution other than replace the engine, it's what any 'real' mechanic would do, replace the piston rings preferably with a set of Cord rings. Cost of this including decarbonisation, valve regrind and replacement of

valve stem oil seals £500-600 including labour and a decent mechanic could even replace the crankshaft bearing shells as well in that price.

 

The other cause could be varnish gumming up the rings meaning they are stuck in the piston groves. There are additives that can be introduced to the oil and treatments that can be dispensed via the spark plug holes that do work and can dissolve the varnish so freeing up the rings to do their job,

but it cannot be guaranteed to work. However seeing as this is by far the cheapest and easiest procedure it would be worth trying first and if the seller had his head screwed on and knew anything at all about cars, he would try this.

 

They stated that they had carried out a "standard vehicle inspection" ...

 

There is no such thing.

 

Dealer can't use the "Full inspection" thing against you as you would have required a wheel free ramp, the correct tools and a considerable amount of time to complete this task. Most dealers would not allow this.

Also Full MOT has little bearing on engine fault.

 

 

Exactly. As there is no such thing as a 'standard' inspection, there is also no such thing as a 'full' inspection. Even an mot is not a full inspection, that just covers safety.

 

Your action now must be to write again preferably using recorded delivery and telling him what is wrong. You should also mention the regulation as stated in post #7 above. Give him the choice of fixing the problem himself or you take it elsewhere for repair and he pays the bill.

You can also mention that according to the regulations it is up to him to prove there was nothing wrong with the car at the time of purchase and that it was of satisfactory quality.

 

If he still won't play ball, we can help you take this through the courts for resolution.

Edited by Conniff
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  • 1 month later...

Folks,

 

Thank you all for the replies, they've all been really useful, and I'm so sorry it's taken so long to get back onto this tread with an update. We've had a very hectic couple of months including some big issues with the car we bought to replace the one I'm talking about above (we bought that one on the credit card for the extra protection but this is also proving to be a difficult case - I'll start a new thread about that one if necessary. In a nutshell, we've had the worst luck with cars this year).

 

So back to this car... I got the independent inspection as advised (from Dekra) and they were brilliant for putting my mind at rest about taking this further. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any quotes in writing as it seems as soon as you mention court, the independent garages don't want to know. But that doesn't matter now anyway as I started a claim on MCOL and last Thursday, presumably the day they received the paperwork from the court, I got a call from the owner of the business offering to pay me in full in return for cancelling the court case.

 

By the end of that day, I had been refunded the cost of the car itself, as well as for four new tyres we'd put on it a week before (the ones we replaced were apparently all the wrong size), the cost of the independent inspection and the court fee. And the dealer came and collected the car from my home. After I had confirmation from the bank that the money had cleared properly, I marked the claim as "paid in full" and I believe that's now an end to it.

 

To answer some of the specific questions above...

 

-I think I'd done somewhere around 2500 - 2700 miles since I bought the car. It was at 91k when it broke down.

-The "full inspoection" I apparently carried out was to walk around the car looking for any major signs of damage, check inside was also looking OK for a car of its age, a test drive up the road and a check under the bonnet to make sure nothing was obviously wrong with it. I don't really know enough about cars to do any more than that.

-I'm not trying to protect the dealer, but I haven't named them as I just don't know if it's appropriate to do so. When the owner came to collect the car he was very apologetic and claimed he had been on holiday for the duration of this issue and "someone hasn't been looking after his business and has since been fired". this may or may not be true, but I've got the outcome I was hoping for so I don't really care either way :)

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Great news. It is a shame that it didn't go all the way as in reality it means they got away with it by not having a conviction and the bad press a court case would have brought.

 

Congratulations again and let this be a lesson to others to 'not just give in but take it all the way'.

 

I will mark this settled.

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