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Hello CAG,

 

First post, I hope you can help!

 

I bought a used car from a local dealership back in February 2016. Its a Zafira 'B' CDTi 1.7 Elite model, 60 plate... the cooling system has been a nightmare since the day I bought it. I'll detail a full list of events.

 

 

1) Car was bought in Februrary 2016. Just prior to pick-up it was discovered to have had a coolant leak. This wasn't fixed at the time of delivery, and the car was released to my wife upon receipt of payment from her finance company (Moneybarn).

 

2) Car broke down the same day she collected it, the dealer recovered the car back to their branch and supposedly fixed the issue by fitting a new coolant pipe and a thermostat.

 

3) Car was fine for about 3 months, then broke down on motorway. Coolant bottle was dry. Recovery guy thought a stuck thermostat. Had the car recovered to my preferred garage where the thermostat was found to be faulty and subsequently replaced. The coolant cap was also replaced.

 

4) Car was fine for about 6 weeks, but was apparently drinking coolant and we were forever refilling. Took the car back to my local garage, where the coolant system was pressure tested (no leaks), system bled and refilled. Thermostat was tested as fine

 

5) Car ran fine for a week before breaking down again on motorway. Recovered back to garage who pressure-tested again (still no leak), rebled and refilled system and replaced water pump. No blockages found in any part of the system. Thermostat tested fine, and car performed as it should under garage conditions and on several road tests.

 

6) Car ran fine for a week on shorter journeys, but today my wife has reported that the coolant temperature light is now flashing and the coolant bottle was dry again.

 

It'll be going back in again to be checked over yet again. The car has spent almost as much time in the garage than it has on the road...

 

Do I have any recourse to reject the car given the amount of issues it has had with the coolant system, and given it was bought on a Hire Purchase agreement and not through a bank loan, credit card or cash?

 

Would the fact I've had an independant garage attempt to fix the fault and not the dealer whom the car was purchased from affect any claim to reject the car? The fault was known by the dealer prior to delivery.

 

Wife is getting reluctant to drive the car any distance given the issues she has been having, so all advice welcome.

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Welcome ScotWolf.

 

Were you present at the pressure tests and how long did he take to do it ?

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Hi,

 

No, neither my wife or I were present.

 

The pressure tests were done by my own trusted mechanic and not the dealer mechanic; I can't comment if they performed any pressure test.

 

I've used the same mechanic for more than 15 years and I've absolute trust in him.

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I ask because it isn't a case of pumping up the system and seeing where the leak is. You obviously have a leak, testing should be carried out twice using different methods and shouldn't have been handed back to you saying he can't find one. Any professional 'will' be able to find it, so although you trust him, testing hasn't been carried out properly or fully.

 

If no one can pin down the leak, then you need to dig in deeper, it could be the heater matrix or O-rings, is there any damp below the heater or in the footwell carpets or is there any smell inside the car ?

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God not moneybarn

Dump them if you can

 

I think you have a good case yes


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I ask because it isn't a case of pumping up the system and seeing where the leak is. You obviously have a leak, testing should be carried out twice using different methods and shouldn't have been handed back to you saying he can't find one. Any professional 'will' be able to find it, so although you trust him, testing hasn't been carried out properly or fully.

 

If no one can pin down the leak, then you need to dig in deeper, it could be the heater matrix or O-rings, is there any damp below the heater or in the footwell carpets or is there any smell inside the car ?

 

No damp below heater or footwell carpets, no smell inside the car either.

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If it's slow, it could be head gasket into the exhaust so you aren't aware of it as no cloud of steam in the exhaust.

If it's into a cylinder, that can leak in overnight while the engine is not running and you can get a hydraulic lock (like having a brick on top of the piston), which will wreck the engine when you go to start in the morning.

 

You need to return to your chosen garage or another one and ask where the leak is.

 

You should also be in contact with the finance company as it is HP. This isn't your car, it is the finance companies property and you are just hiring from them. You chose it and they bought it, so get onto them and 'tell' them their car has a problem and you want it fixed or you will be rejecting it for a full refund.

 

All finance companies try to absolve themselves from any blame or responsibility especially Moneybarn but don't take no for an answer.

 

Whatever you do, don't stop making payments.

Edited by Conniff

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hope you've not paid for any of these repairs

or suffered any outlay?


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If it's slow, it could be head gasket into the exhaust so you aren't aware of it as no cloud of steam in the exhaust.

If it's into a cylinder, that can leak in overnight while the engine is not running and you can get a hydraulic lock (like having a brick on top of the piston), which will wreck the engine when you go to start in the morning.

 

You need to return to your chosen garage or another one and ask where the leak is.

 

You should also be in contact with the finance company as it is HP. This isn't your car, it is the finance companies property and you are just hiring from them. You chose it and they bought it, so get onto them and 'tell' them their car has a problem and you want it fixed or you will be rejecting it for a full refund.

 

All finance companies try to absolve themselves from any blame or responsibility especially Moneybarn but don't take no for an answer.

 

Whatever you do, don't stop making payments.

 

Thanks for that advice, I'll be letting the finance company know the situation.

 

Do you know of any template letters which I can use which will help clarify any legal position? I believe the law changed late last year away from Sale Of Goods Act?

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Cra


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No template. Just tell them the car they purchased on xx date has suffered with a problem that makes the car 'not fit for purpose'.

Say that is has been back for rectification 5 times and so far they have failed to solve the problem.

 

If the car isn't repaired within 14 days, you will reject is and expect a full refund.

 

Copy that to the dealer as well.

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Looks like I may be too late, as looking back over the paperwork I'm about 10 days outside the six-month period given in the CRA for a complaint to be raised.

 

Anyhow, I've chanced my arm and have written this up; your input and suggestions to put over as strong a case as possible is appreciated. I haven't put dates in, as I don't have the paperwork to hand as I'm at work and not at home.

 

--

I am writing to you with regards my finance agreement number xxxxx.

 

On (DATE) I bought the vehicle XXXX XXX from (DEALER) at a cost of £xxxx; I also paid via trade-in of vehicle XXXX XXX a sum of £xxx deposit against this vehicle. The total amount financed was £xxxx

 

Having collected the car on (DATE), the vehicle broke down on the same day due to a loss of coolant. (see recovery paperwork as issued by AA). The car was recovered back to (DEALER) where remedial work was carried out under the dealer’s 60-day used car warranty.

 

The work carried out in respect of the repair was: xxxx (see copy of job sheet/invoice).

 

On (DATE) the vehicle broke down again, displaying the same symptoms as before with a loss of coolant. As the car was outwith the dealer’s 60-day used car warranty period, I had the car recovered to my nominated garage: (GARAGE) for investigation and repair.

 

The work carried out by (GARAGE) in respect of the repair was: xxxx (see copy of job sheet/invoice).

 

On (DATE) the vehicle began displaying similar symptoms as before and was taken back to (GARAGE) for further investigation. A thermostat installed previously was found to be faulty and subsequently replaced under the part’s warranty.

 

On (DATE) the vehicle broke down again, displaying the same coolant loss symptoms as before. The car was again recovered and returned to the garage where a new water-pump was fitted to the car. (see copy of job sheet/invoice).

 

On (DATE) the vehicle broke down yet again, once more with the same coolant loss symproms. The car has subsequently been returned to my preferred garage for further investigation into the cause.

 

As the car was bought on a Hire Purchase agreement, it is the responsibility of the finance company (Moneybarn) to ensure the car is ‘fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality, and as described’.

 

Due to the amount of time the car has now spent off the road, having continuously manifested the same symptoms and faults now as it did on the day the car was collected by ourselves from (DEALER) when the car broke down on the same day it was delivered, it is clear that the car was not and is not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose despite multiple attempts to find and rectify the underlying problem.

 

Despite the best efforts of my preferred garage, it is clear to me that the fault which was present at the time of delivery of the vehicle to me by (DEALER) persists now, and it remains unrectified; and as a result the car does not meet either ‘fit for purpose’ or ‘satisfactory quality’ criteria as laid down in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 

As the finance company involved in the purchase, it is your responsibility to ensure a car meets the criteria required to satisfy the law and the contract I have entered into. As the car does not meet the specified criteria, I therefore hold you in breach of contract, and in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, I now exercise my right under said act to ask for repair or replacement of the vehicle.

 

Furthermore, under the Consumer Credit Act, I have the fundamental common-law right to reject a faulty car at any time throughout the duration of the agreement so long as I stop using the car. As the fault has not been rectified after five attempts, both by (DEALER) own technicians and my own garage, I would argue I am within my rights to reject the car outright. However, I do not want to be forced into this action, and would prefer a more amicable solution.

 

--

 

Cheers for your help thus far.

Edited by ScotWolf

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no I don't think you at too late

as the fault occurred within that period

and the dealer/garage ha been dealing with them.

the fact that they finance co might not know its a pup till now

I think is irrelevant.


PLEASE DONT HIT QUOTE IF THE LAST POST IS THE ONE YOU ARE REPLYING TOO.

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Single Premium PPI Q&A Read Here

Reclaim mis-sold PPI Read Here

Reclaim Bank Account, Loan & Credit Card Charges Read Here

The CAG Interest Tutorial Read Here

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So, I've now heard back from the finance company and as expected they are denying any responsibility. They are basically saying the complaint is outwith the six-months window afforded by CRA.

 

They claim that the issue is wear and tear, and that as the car has a MOT previous to us buying, the car was roadworthy as it made no mention of a coolant leak on the advisory. I'm no mechanic, but I'd be pretty certain that the coolant system isn't part of an MOT check!

 

They argue that our 4000ish miles since purchase is sufficient to gauge the roadworthiness of the vehicle. They claim we've had the use of the car for the period of time, despite the car spending an aggregate total time in the garage of almost three weeks.

 

Their complaint completely ignores the fact the car broke down on the day of delivery from the dealer. Because a period of 3 months elapsed between repair A and repair B, they claim the issues are unrelated and ate trying to argue my garage has not been satisfactory in their repair attempts, and that the items replaced on the vehicle are wear and tear items. (thermostat, pressure cap, water pump). Their final response is the issue is down to wear and tear in line with the age and mileage of the vehicle.

 

They also say I have conducted 'unauthorised repairs' as I have elected to use my local garage. I don't understand this? When I went to my garage, the car was outwith the warranty period offered by the dealer... am I to tell the finance company whenever I put the car into the garage now?

 

The car is still off the road, I haven't had any further work done to the car while the finance company investigated the complaint. Looks like the Ombudsman is my next port of call, unless there are other suggestions?

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Well obviously just a fob off and they got the tea lady to respond to you.

Tell them, and don't mince your words and say it in bold, head gasket checks are 'not' part of an MoT doh!.

 

Don't be afraid of them, you have the upper hand here and must write back (recorded) with the heading 'Letter Before Action giving them 14 day in which to permanently rectify this 'ongoing' problem or take the car back and refund all premiums paid to date.

 

AAs DX says above, these are a Micky Mouse finance company and will do all they can to poo poo any claim even when proof is offered.

 

Go for it

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This took another turn when we got a letter from the broker who sourced the finance. Seemingly, the broker is treated as the dealership by the finance company.

 

Anyhow, the broker/dealership essentially say the same thing as the finance company, but will reconsider the complaint if I supply an independent mechanics' report stating the fault was present at the time of sale - at my expense!.

 

It is looking increasingly as if the head has an issue, and compression gases are leaking into and over-pressurising the cooling system, either through a duff gasket, or a crack in the block.

 

There's no water in the oil, and no white smoke from the exhaust but the garages want to rule out all circulation problems within the cooling system before they even contemplate stripping down the engine to get into the head.

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Lets add another person into the equation and make it even more complicated. It really isn't complicated at all. They bought a car, they had the opportunity to inspect that car before handing over any money but chose not to.

That is not your problem.

 

Whatever happens, don't stop making your payments.

 

You can remind them that any payments you make on engineers reports will be charged to them and that you are doing this as a gesture of goodwill only.

 

If you are really serious and want this settled, then get a letter to them today saying they have 14 days in which to sort out 'their' car or you will take it further.

Edited by Conniff

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This is still ongoing, back and forth between the finance company and myself. I've even spoken to my local Citizens Advice, who say because I used my own garage after the second breakdown that I forfeited my rights under the CRA by not giving the 'dealer' Carfinance 247 the opportunity to fix.

 

Running out of options, looks like I'll need to throw myself at the goodwill of the CEO of the finance company via FLA, and/or take it to the Ombudsman. Either way I'm left with a car I'm paying a lot of money for that I can't drive; even if I hand it back I'm still on the hook for a tidy sum.

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