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Volkswagen Finance, return of goods order - help

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This is a very long story so please bear with me,

I am now at my wits end and could use some advice if anyone could please help.


March 2013,

I heard from a friend who worked at the local VW garage that there was a 2007 VW Caravelle coming in as a part exchange.

I'd been after one for a while so once it was in I went to look at it.



It was a lovely bus, first owners were no other than Ant and Dec so it had all the bells and whistles.

On the test drive it went well,

I noticed the automatic gearbox was a little 'laggy'



when I got back I discussed this with the guy I know, he said it would come with warranty

and I specified that it had a gearbox and engine service as a condition of sale.

I agreed a deal, part exchanged my trusty Passat and the finance went through.


Fast forward a week,

I collected the vehicle, after a few days I noticed the gaerbox was still laggy,

and it was a bit clunky sometimes selecting the gears.



I decided to read up and find out it is a common fault, due to the gearboxes not being serviced.

I went back with the vehicle to ask what, if anything they had found when they serviced it,

he went to check, and then came back and told me it wasn't a serviceable item and they hadn't done it.

I wasn't happy,



VW sell the items to service it, I demanded it be inspected. I

was sent to a different garage, my local one didn't have the commercial facility (probably why they didn't service it), and it was plugged into the diagnostic machine which found NO FAULTS! I was amazed, and over the next few weeks it got worse, sometimes missing a gear and 'slamming' into one eventually. All this time I was told not to woory, it was under warranty.


Now, the only spanner in the works for me since all this is that I had the vehicle remapped for economy when I bought it.

I discussed this with another member of staff who I knew at the dealership

and she suggested I use one of the mechanics, he was doing it for a lot of customers who weren't happy with the DPF units clogging up, you know, out of the back door.



I declined and took it to the leading comapny in the UK for the work done,

it was significantly better with the (blocked) DPF removed and I gained at least another 5mpg.

He said it was a cracking engine, it was a shame it was joined to that shoddy gearbox.


another month or so passes, I use it less because of the gearbox problem,

but all the time I'm assured that if anything goes wrong I have a warranty.



We had booked our holiday to France so we had fingers crossed, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, everything actually.



August 2013, I had driven through the night and in the early hours of the morning

there was a noticeable whine coming from the transmission.



Now, I'm pretty good with mechanics and can notice the smallest thing, my wife usually tells me to shut up.

On this occasion she looked at me and said she could hear it too, oh dear.

I carried on at a gentle pace, that wasn't enough though.



I pulled out on an incline to overtake 2 HGV's and as I was passing the first one the gearbox kicked down, TWICE,

which was like hitting a brick wall.

A split second later there was a bang and I lost everything,

luckily the truck reacted well and let me across to the hard shoulder.



After a long wait we were recovered and the guy diagnosed transmission failure.

DO NOT break down on a French bank holiday, we had 9 hours in a compound in rural France,

and after lots of shouting we were sent a taxi to take us into the nearest town for a hire car, a Vauxhall Corsa, I kid you not.

Five of us, luggage, bikes, bedding. We had to leave so much, holiday ruined.


September 2013,

it is recovered to my nearest VW Van Centre, Preston,

a few days after I get home from the worst holiday ever.

I find that the warranty is an external one, not a VW one.



An inspection takes place and the first thing they find is engine damage, caused by the failed gearbox.

This is where it gets sneaky.



The warranty firm find out it has had the remap and DPF removal, there is no evidence anywhere in the vehicle,

they must have phoned the specialists within a certain radius.

They proceeded to tell him that they were selling the vehicle and had he done any work on it,

he told them he had, and sent them the sheet with all of the work on.



Funny thing is I wasn't hiding it, it was well within the parameters

(there are two engine outputs, mine was the lower one, same engine, different settings).

Claim refused, the guy at Preston VW thought it was quite funny, how nice.


I dig my heels in and take it to VW, but from the outset I'm struggling.



I bought what is essentially a commercial vehicle from a passenger car dealership.

They are different divisions, none of them will admit any liability for the vehicle.



When I eventually get someone to investigate they contact the guy at Preston and they go from his (one sided) findings,

at this point the gearbox hasn't been touched. They reject any fault.



I decide to get some legal advice, this ended up costing me £1200, and I've had to lease another vehicle to replace this one,

we are childminders and it is a necessity.


The solicitor takes everything on board, he is in contact with VW UK, Lancaster VW, Preston Van Centre and VW Finance.

To put it bluntly they all call me a liar and a chancer, they stand by the vehicle having no gearbox fault.



I'm told I can have it removed and inspected at one of their chosen places at my own cost.

I refuse saying it is their responsibility.



My solicitor gets in touch with me and says that they have sent him a quotation in the paperwork for the cost to repair, £2300.

He advises me to just cut my losses and have it done, I'll only end up paying him the money to fight it, so I reluctantly agree.

He is paid his dues, and I call to book the job in.



Oh, wait a minute, that was just a quotation, they wouldn't actually do that job.

They would however fit a new engine for £7500+vat.



At this point I'm absolutely furious, they have deliberately lied to my solicitor, and there is no mention of the faulty gearbox anywhere!


At this point I stop paying for it out of protest, pay the 1/3 so they can't take it back, and dig my heels in.

. .

September 2015.


I'd recieved a letter from a collection firm asking to recover the vehicle,

at this point it was still sat in the yard at Preston VW, deteriorating every day.



One morning I get a knock at the door, my 9 year old son answered it and it was a pair of 'men in black'.

They said they'd come to get the vehicle or recover the money, just over £6k.



Considering I owed £10k I was just about to agree a payment

(the £4k would have it fixed with used parts, so I thought I'd cut my losses) but then they find it is a clerical error.

I then tell them I'm in dispute with VW and they tell me they can't be involved and leave!


March 2016, I have correspondence from a solicitor saying they want the full amount, or hand the vehicle back to be sold.

Now at this point I have had it recovered at my cost to a TOP SECRET location, the engine is removed, as is the gearbox.



I refuse to hand it back in pieces to be sold for a pittance, leaving me with a huge balance to pay,

I tell him that under no circumstances will I hand it back.



I then recieve a very generous offer from a friend as he can see how much stress this has caused,

he will lend me the £6k they were collecting last time.



I contact the solicitor and offer this in full and final settlement and I will fix the vehicle.

To my surprise they refuse, and I now have in front of me a county court hearing for return of goods.


My question is, can I fight this and have my say?

What chance do I have?



It kills me to think they will get away with selling me a faulty vehicle

and I still have to pay for it,

pay for a replacement vehicle,

deal with the stress,

the hours and hours of my time I've put in to fight this.



It is a matter of principal now, I'm just scared that if I get turned over by them I'll have nothing and still owe thousands.




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Unfortunately you have gone about this all wrong.


You mention finance, who is the finance with and what type is it ??


Where did you buy it, was it a VW dealer ??


You should never stop making payments as a protest, you signed a legally binding contract and they now appear to be holding you to that contract.

I'm not getting at you, it sounds as if you have been ill advised.


Has the vehicle been repaired, is it back on the road ??


You say 'your pretty good with mechanics' but you drove it away with a fault. Did you let your heart rule your head because of who the past owners were ?


I think one of your biggest errors was the removal of the dpf, this is illegal and it's presence is part of the MoT checks.

Edited by Conniff
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Yes, it became a regulation in 2014.


Tests for diesel cars and lorries are to be tightened up to ensure vehicles have a critical exhaust filter if one had originally been fitted as standard, Roads Minister Robert Goodwill has announced.


Garages and testing stations will be required check for a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the inspection of the exhaust system as part of the MOT test (or annual test for heavy vehicles).


The vehicle will automatically fail the MOT test if the filter had been fitted as standard but is found to be no longer present.

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