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I bought a Vauxhall Agila just over 6 months ago and it's just started blowing white smoke when it's hot and overheating. I told them about it and they tried to fix it, but it's still bad. Can I get my money back?

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I bought a Vauxhall Agila just over 6 months ago and it's just started blowing white smoke when it's hot and overheating. I told them about it and they tried to fix it, but it's still bad. Can I get my money back?

 

Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

It may not make any difference to your consumer rights, but how old is the car please?

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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You bought the car after first of October last year so your purchase is subject to the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This doesn't really make a whole lot of difference in terms of your rights – but the big question really is how much did you pay for the car? What was the mileage on it? What is actually wrong with it now?

 

You are entitled to buy goods – even second-hand goods – of satisfactory quality and this means that they should be as good as a reasonable consumer would expect them to be given the age, the price paid, and any other circumstances of the case.

 

If you want to tell us that you only pay £200 for the car and you have run it for 5000 miles then I would say that you properly had a good deal.

 

If you want to tell us that you have paid £3000 and you've only done about 3000 miles and the cost of repairs is £1000 then I would say that you have a case.

 

Clearly we need more detail.

 

Whatever the situation, I don't think that you would get a refund. It's a second-hand car and fairly old. You've had six months use out of it. I think that if the circumstances are correct, then you could expect the car to be repaired and you would be have to contribute something to the cost of repairs.

 

For instance, if the car's useful life is reasonably expected to be another five years – and you have had six months use out of it, then it would be reasonable to say that you have enjoyed 1/11 of the reasonable life the car. This means, that it would be reasonable to expect you to contribute 1/11 of the repair bill.

 

This is just a rough guide and it is based on my own view of how damages might reasonably be calculated.

 

You need to give us more detail

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I paid £999 for it over 12 months so 5 payments and deposit paid. Problem I think is head gasket, but dealer's claiming it's normal and down to not being used much so engine coked up. It's misfiring intermittently which is when the white smoke comes, or when revved highly. Dealer has had car in and cleaned the pipes, but problem still there.

 

I'd be happy to have a part refund and cancel the HP, dealer is nice enough but want to know where I'm likely to stand legally before I ask. Also don't want to drive the car more than I have to in case it makes it worse.

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So it's on finance? Which is finance company? You could make a claim under section 75 of the consumer credit act – and that might be the most peaceful way to go

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If it is Hire Purchase and not some other form of finance, then the problem lies with the finance company subprime or not.

 

You should contact them by letter, (email is fine), explain the problem and ask what they intend to do. Remember, this car is theirs and the regulations say 'they' bought it not you.

 

White smoke is probably steam which would indicate probably a head gasket blown. There are some proprietary product on the market that are poured into the cooling water and can seal leaks in the cooling system, Radweld is one of the better known, but these are temporary measures, get you home if you like and not a permanent fix.

 

This would be the easiest and cheapest way to try and fix a leak hoping it will last long enough that the buyer will lose most of their comeback rights.

These work by contact with air and are designed for miniscule radiator leaks and not for head gasket leaks.

 

There are head gasket sealers that claim to repair the head gasket, but these are rarely successful either and don't last long.

 

An indication of what work was done in an attempt to repair it would be the length of time they had the car in for repair.

If you are still in possession of the car, you can pop into any garage and ask for a pressure test on the cooling system. If it's a small garage, they will probably do this while you wait and you will

be able to see for yourself if there is indeed a water leak.

 

 

 

So, you first call is to the finance company with a copy of any correspondence to them also sent to the selling dealer.

 

Come back with any response you get.

Edited by Conniff
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If it is Hire Purchase and not some other form of finance, then the problem lies with the finance company subprime or not.

 

You should contact them by letter, (email is fine), explain the problem and ask what they intend to do. Remember, this car is theirs and the regulations say 'they' bought it not you.

 

White smoke is probably steam which would indicate probably a head gasket blown. There are some proprietary product on the market that are poured into the cooling water and can seal leaks in the cooling system, Radweld is one of the better known, but these are temporary measures, get you home if you like and not a permanent fix.

 

This would be the easiest and cheapest way to try and fix a leak hoping it will last long enough that the buyer will lose most of their comeback rights.

These work by contact with air and are designed for miniscule radiator leaks and not for head gasket leaks.

 

An indication of what work was done in an attempt to repair it would be the length of time they had the car in for repair.

If you are still in possession of the car, you can pop into any garage and ask for a pressure test on the cooling system. If it's a small garage, they will probably do this while you wait and you will

be able to see for yourself if there is indeed a water leak.

 

 

 

So, you first call is to the finance company with a copy of any correspondence to them also sent to the selling dealer.

 

Come back with any response you get.

 

That's great thanks. I'll phone them and see what they say. They had the car for 4 days last time, but I showed them the problem before I even left the car park. That's when they said it was down to lack of use. I drove home, the problem is still there. It's using a bit of coolant but not loads, more than usual though.

 

I'll call them and see what they say. Thank you

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I'll call them and see what they say.

 

Only use a telephone / mobile if you can record the call, you might need it.

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Only use a telephone / mobile if you can record the call, you might need it.

 

Thanks, I'll email them instead so it's in writing. I'm worried about letting anyone else look at it in case they go funny

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Letting someone else look at it can be decided after you know the attitude of the seller and finance company.

 

If the seller insists there is nothing wrong with it, you are perfectly within your rights to take it elsewhere for a

diagnostic and if it does prove to be faulty, you can send the bill to the seller for a refund.

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There's an update. I emailed the finance company. The car's going back to the dealer tomorrow and they're going to take another look at it. If still not right the dealer will refund 85% of all money paid so far. They said they can deduct a fair amount for the use I've had and 1/8th means they'd work on it lasting 4 years.

 

It seems a bit low to me, but at least I could get another car. It's better than having a car I can't use.

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There's an update. I emailed the finance company. The car's going back to the dealer tomorrow and they're going to take another look at it. If still not right the dealer will refund 85% of all money paid so far. They said they can deduct a fair amount for the use I've had and 1/8th means they'd work on it lasting 4 years.

 

It seems a bit low to me, but at least I could get another car. It's better than having a car I can't use.

 

85% is very low. They are entitled to offer a reduced amount to take into consideration the enjoyment you have had from it, but in this case you are returning a faulty product.

 

On this timescale, the law says that it must be assumed the fault was present at the time of purchase and that it is up to the seller to prove otherwise.

 

Personally I wouldn't accept 85%, not forgetting the other expenses you have like insurance and road tax, I would be demanding a full refund of all monies paid.

 

What amount of mileage did you put on while owning it ?

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