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Evening. First I apologise for literally signing up to the forum and asking advice. I am unsure of what to do next.

 

I am from Northern Ireland (UK), I traveled to the south of England to purchase a car off a small used car dealer on the 26/1/19. He has roughly 14 cars for sale at the minute.

 

It is a 2010 Volvo C30 automatic/powershift. Full history with only 1 previous owner and 50k miles, cost me just over £5k. On the face of it the car it is very well presented, good bodywork, service history etc. 3 month warranty assist 'gold cover'.

 

The first issue was on the 27/01/19. I was back in Northern Ireland at this stage. The steering would lock itself and not unlock, which would not let you start the vehicle. I had to leave the car in a petrol station forecourt and get it recovered later.

 

Warranty company said, take it to any VAT registered garage to get assessed. I got it taken to a local Volvo franchise. I thought then 'perfect time to get the automatic gearbox serviced' as I thought the gearbox was a little jerky and noisy. I left it with Volvo to get a quote for the steering lock fault and a gearbox service that I was happily paying for.

 

Volvo have since told me it needs a new gearbox as there is movement in some shaft that will be likely to fail at anytime. The gearbox alone is £4900 and the steering lock is £500. Warranty have refused to fix either of the faults and the dealer is saying he is only willing to replace the steering lock and the gearbox is still working ok, so it is just general wear and tear.

 

I have not yet got any of these faults fixed as I do not want to keep the car with the gearbox that could let me down at any minute and warranty are not willing to cover it.

 

Is this a genuine reason for rejection?

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Yes it is. Any defect within the first 30 days is a genuine reason for rejection. The seriousness of the defect does not matter.

 

You must assert your right to reject under the consumer rights act. Write the dealer a letter – and send it by recorded delivery – and say that the car has a defect and that under the consumer rights act you are rejecting it and you require a refund.

 

Now we have the problem of getting it back to the dealer. Did you really travel all the way from Northern Ireland to the south of England simply to buy motorcar? Pardon my incredulity.

 

Did the dealer know that you had made a trip specially for the purpose of buying the vehicle? Did the dealer know in advance that this was the reason you made the trip?

 

You say this is a small dealer. This has alarm bells ringing – because small dealers can easily disappear and then pop up again with similar names elsewhere – or even in the same premises if they are a limited liability company and then you find you have nothing.

 

A risk is that you could take the car back to the dealer – and then find that he refuses to refund you so that you are in a position where you have to bring a legal action which itself could take time and during which time you would be without a vehicle and without your money and also at risk that the dealer might disappear with both.

 

Also, you would have to begin a legal action from Northern Ireland. I'm not too sure of the complications of bringing a legal action in England from Northern Ireland – but I'm sure that it could be a bit tricky.

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Thanks for the quick reply.

 

We do not have as big of a selection of cars for sale in Northern Ireland. I have made the trip a few times before for the exact same reason, without issues. I was in talks with the dealer for a week prior to the trip to purchase the car.

 

Is it worth getting a second opinion from another garage to outline the fault in the gearbox?

 

I assume I do not have to give him a chance to repair it before I can reject it? I also paid on debit card (Visa) if it matters.

 

The dealer has been incorporated since 2005. The director is the guy that sold me the car.

 

To be totally honest. I would be willing to take the car to a ferry port if he was willing to collect it. I am unsure how to put this across to him

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You don't need to verify any defect to him. you simply need to write the letter and assert your rights.

 

I'm more concerned about you getting the cost of getting the car back to him and also the cost of taking the car away to Northern Ireland.

 

what will be the value of those expenses and are you interested in getting those back as well?

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do you mean a visa debit card or visa credit card? If you have paid with a visa credit card then this is excellent because under section 75 of the consumer credit act, they share equal responsibility for the vehicle so if you have any difficulty then you can involve them and even sue them in a county court action.

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It was paid with Visa Debit unfortunately. I have had the car inspected by another garage. They confirm a nasty noise from inside the gearbox. I will be going down the rejection route.

 

I just do not know were it stands with transporting it back to Southampton from Northern Ireland. It can not be reliably driven as it there is no guarantee the steering lock will not play up and cause it not to start.

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Yes it is. Any defect within the first 30 days is a genuine reason for rejection. The seriousness of the defect does not matter.

 

You must assert your right to reject under the consumer rights act. Write the dealer a letter – and send it by recorded delivery – and say that the car has a defect and that under the consumer rights act you are rejecting it and you require a refund.

 

Now we have the problem of getting it back to the dealer. Did you really travel all the way from Northern Ireland to the south of England simply to buy motorcar? Pardon my incredulity.

 

Did the dealer know that you had made a trip specially for the purpose of buying the vehicle? Did the dealer know in advance that this was the reason you made the trip?

 

You say this is a small dealer. This has alarm bells ringing – because small dealers can easily disappear and then pop up again with similar names elsewhere – or even in the same premises if they are a limited liability company and then you find you have nothing.

 

A risk is that you could take the car back to the dealer – and then find that he refuses to refund you so that you are in a position where you have to bring a legal action which itself could take time and during which time you would be without a vehicle and without your money and also at risk that the dealer might disappear with both.

 

Also, you would have to begin a legal action from Northern Ireland. I'm not too sure of the complications of bringing a legal action in England from Northern Ireland – but I'm sure that it could be a bit tricky.

 

BF, i’m interested in the part of your post where you say that’s any defect is grounds for a rejection within 30 days,

no matter the seriousness of the defect.

 

Does this imply that something as simple as split windscreen wiper blade or a brake light bulb can be grounds for rejection?

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BF, i’m interested in the part of your post where you say that’s any defect is grounds for a rejection within 30 days,

no matter the seriousness of the defect.

 

Does this imply that something as simple as split windscreen wiper blade or a brake light bulb can be grounds for rejection?

 

Either of those would be a MOT fail so I would think that rejection would be possible!

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Either of those would be a MOT fail so I would think that rejection would be possible!

 

Thanks for your opinion but I was asking BF, as he speaks as though he has actually been near a court room in his experiences.

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Why are you faffing about just reject the car.You can add the cost of transportation to any refund or court action if it comes to taking that course.This is a public forum so any one can express an opinion you dont have to action that opinion but there is no need to be need to be rude

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Actually your examples are not good. As both these items are known as ' wear and tear' consumables which could fail at any time, a court would be entitled to expect that you examine a vehicle before purchase. Both items being readily visible, it would be expected that you either do not go through with the purchase or replacements requested.

 

If they were not seen by you the seller would be entitled to insist that those 'defects' were not there!

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You can still claim via Visa Debit card, but bank will resist and say you can't.

Contact Visa direct if bank won't help.

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Actually your examples are not good. As both these items are known as 'wear and tear' consumables which could fail at any time, a court would be entitled to expect that you examine a vehicle before purchase.

 

sorry but this is completely wrong . There is no legal requirement that you examine a car before purchase . On the other hand , it is a legal requirement a supplier provides the car without defects. There is also a legal requirement that a car is sold in roadworthy condition.

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Thanks for your opinion but I was asking BF, as he speaks as though he has actually been near a court room in his experiences.

 

I think that surfer01 is completely correct

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I think that surfer01 is completely correct

 

You believe that if a brake light bulb fails after say 3 weeks of ownership (meaning an MOT fail) that would be grounds for rejection?

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It's an interesting point.

 

The wording of the statute is clear – there is no distinction between a minor defect or a major defect. Before the Consumer Rights Act, although one was assured of having an item which was of satisfactory quality, one had to evaluate the defect before knowing whether it was sufficient to bring the contract to an end or it could simply be remedied by a repair.

 

These rules are contained in the Common Law of contract. A defect could either amount to a "breach of condition" which effectively was a fundamental breach that deprived the innocent party of substantially the whole benefit of the contract. Or else the breach could be a "breach of warranty" which did not invalidate the contract and which could be addressed by a repair.

 

Under the 2015 legislation, for the first 6 months that problem no longer exists. Any defect in the first 30 days entitles the innocent party to reject the item. Any defect in the first six months entitles the innocent party to give the retailer a single opportunity to repair the item.

After 6 months one has to fall back on the traditional rules of breach evaluation under the Common Law - and which has worked pretty well for several hundreds of years.

 

Now of course when we start talking about a broken light bulb giving a purchaser a right to reject an entire vehicle – we begin to see some of the potentially ridiculous consequences of the 2015 legislation. Yet on a literal interpretation of the Act, this is what seems to be the case.

 

If a dealer wanted to challenge the rejection in court – then it would be open to that dealer to argue that the bulb was not defective – it was simply quite normal for a bulb to have an unpredictable life and that wear and tear could take its toll on a lightbulb at any time.

 

I think that any reasonable judge would want to accept that argument and would feel a bit ridiculous allowing a motor vehicle to be rejected on the basis of a broken bulb.

 

On the other hand, supposing you go to a shop and buy a lightbulb. Supposing that the lightbulb fails after three weeks. Imagine that the lightbulb fails after two months. I would have thought that in both of those cases you would feel quite miffed and you would consider that the bulb had not been of satisfactory quality in that it had not met up to what a reasonable consumer would expect given modern standards of manufacture and modern expectations.

 

So if you bought a bulb and it blew after three weeks and you felt that this was evidence that the bulb was defective – not of satisfactory quality – then why would it be, if you put it into a vehicle, and it blew after three weeks, that the situation should be any different?

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On the other hand, supposing you go to a shop and buy a lightbulb. Supposing that the lightbulb fails after three weeks. Imagine that the lightbulb fails after two months. I would have thought that in both of those cases you would feel quite miffed and you would consider that the bulb had not been of satisfactory quality in that it had not met up to what a reasonable consumer would expect given modern standards of manufacture and modern expectations.

 

But if you bought a second hand bulb? Would your expectation be the same?

 

Do you have a stated case to back up your assertion of what you call 'the literal interpretation'. Otherwise it would rest on the interpretation of the judge as to the intent of parliament when the act was drafted. This is why I said the the court could be entitled to expect that the purchaser examine before buying and if not satisfied walk away so taking the stance that on reasonable balance that the defects were not present.

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It depends on the lightbulb, the price paid for it, the claims made for it – and a whole raft of variables. Certainly, if the lightbulb was defective then my position would be exactly the same.

 

In terms of the rules of statutory interpretation – I'm afraid that's O-level stuff. The rules are applied by the courts every day of the year – here is some stuff you to read https://www.google.com/search?q=statutory+interpretation+rules&oq=statutory+interp&aqs=chrome.5.69i57j0l5.9175j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

Once again, there is actually no duty on any purchaser to examine goods before taking them. I have no idea why you should think this.

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It depends on the lightbulb, the price paid for it, the claims made for it – and a whole raft of variables. Certainly, if the lightbulb was defective then my position would be exactly the same.

 

In terms of the rules of statutory interpretation – I'm afraid that's O-level stuff. The rules are applied by the courts every day of the year – here is some stuff you to read https://www.google.com/search?q=statutory+interpretation+rules&oq=statutory+interp&aqs=chrome.5.69i57j0l5.9175j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

Once again, there is actually no duty on any purchaser to examine goods before taking them. I have no idea why you should think this.

 

I think that your view about a lightbulb being sufficient to render an entire vehicle to be of unsatisfactory quality may well be considered by most people to be 'unreasonable' and therefore would fail the test for satisfactory quality at a very early hurdle. See CRA Section 9(2).

 

I also think that a split wiper blade may also be legitimately argued against under the same grounds, bearing in mind that they are both easy and cheap to replace. I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to test this in court!

 

Regarding the duty to inspect the goods, I agree that there is no actual duty.....however if the goods are inspected before purchase (and who buys a used car without inspecting it first?) then the CRA does not provide protection for faults that should have been apparent. See CRA Section 9(4)(b).

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Thank you for your input.

 

Do you think that "defect" in the first six months is the same as "satisfactory quality" for the rest of the reasonable life of the vehicle?

 

 

Of course, you're quoting the statute as to your responsibility to carry out any inspection with reasonable diligence. This duty has appeared in the previous sale of goods Acts as well as the recent 2015 act. But this is not relevant to the ongoing discussion.

 

However, as to your question – who buys a used car without inspecting it first? The answers lots of people. A huge number of people aren't qualified to carry out an inspection. A huge number of people trust the dealer – and why shouldn't they? You pay 100% of the purchase price – you expect 100% of the goods. This sounds reasonable enough to me.

 

Furthermore, you are only liable for any defects which such inspection might reasonably have been expected to reveal. In other words, if you simply check the interior then you would only be expected to have accepted defects in the interior. Not the engine, not the gearbox, not the steering, not the engine, not the exhaust system, not the lighting system, not the air conditioning, do we need to go on?

 

In fact there is a very good argument to say that by carrying out any kind of inspection then you are putting yourself at risk. People who do inspect a vehicle normally carry out a cursory inspection within five or 10 minutes often under the watchful eye (read – pressure) of an anxious salesman.

 

Better off perhaps to carry out no inspection and then to discover the faults later because at least it can never be said that your inspection should reasonably have revealed those faults.

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Thank you for your O-level lesson, I was already aware of the Statutory Rules of Interpretation.

 

What I was asking for was the precedent setting case for your interpretation of CRA in this respect.

 

By the way, I did not infer that the CRA required a purchaser to examine the item before buying, but that a court would place less credence on a claim that the items were defective at time of sale, in the absence of checking something which is readily observed.

 

I will bow out of this thread as it is no longer helping the OP

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I'm not aware of any case where the meaning of the statute has come in question so far. In fact I'm not aware of any case so far concerning the consumer rights act which has been considered by a court of record. On that basis I'm simply relying on good sense and intuition.

 

At the end of the day this is all that can ever happen in the absence of a case which has considered the precise point in question.

 

I think that you are wrong that a court would place less credence on a claim because something had not been checked – even if it was readily observed. If there was such an attitude, it would undermine one of the main purposes of the new consumer legislation which is to place an enormous burden upon retailers.

 

The burden, by the way, in case you are confused is to improve customer service and the quality of goods sold by retailers generally because if retailers know that the goods are going to be sent back to them then they will put pressure on their suppliers and hopefully all the way up the chain with the result being a general improvement in what we all buy in the shops.

 

Once again, I don't understand where you get this idea that a court would place less credence on a claim in the absence of having checked something – even if it is readily observed.

 

However, I do notice that you are shifting ground a little because whereas you originally suggested blandly that a failure to inspect would be remarked upon and could prejudice a consumer – you are now saying simply that this only applies where the thing to be inspected is readily observed.

 

However, as I've already said – this is also wrong.

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It's an interesting point.

 

The wording of the statute is clear – there is no distinction between a minor defect or a major defect. Before the Consumer Rights Act, although one was assured of having an item which was of satisfactory quality, one had to evaluate the defect before knowing whether it was sufficient to bring the contract to an end or it could simply be remedied by a repair.

 

These rules are contained in the Common Law of contract. A defect could either amount to a "breach of condition" which effectively was a fundamental breach that deprived the innocent party of substantially the whole benefit of the contract. Or else the breach could be a "breach of warranty" which did not invalidate the contract and which could be addressed by a repair.

 

Under the 2015 legislation, for the first 6 months that problem no longer exists. Any defect in the first 30 days entitles the innocent party to reject the item. Any defect in the first six months entitles the innocent party to give the retailer a single opportunity to repair the item.

After 6 months one has to fall back on the traditional rules of breach evaluation under the Common Law - and which has worked pretty well for several hundreds of years.

 

Now of course when we start talking about a broken light bulb giving a purchaser a right to reject an entire vehicle – we begin to see some of the potentially ridiculous consequences of the 2015 legislation. Yet on a literal interpretation of the Act, this is what seems to be the case.

 

If a dealer wanted to challenge the rejection in court – then it would be open to that dealer to argue that the bulb was not defective – it was simply quite normal for a bulb to have an unpredictable life and that wear and tear could take its toll on a lightbulb at any time.

 

I think that any reasonable judge would want to accept that argument and would feel a bit ridiculous allowing a motor vehicle to be rejected on the basis of a broken bulb.

 

On the other hand, supposing you go to a shop and buy a lightbulb. Supposing that the lightbulb fails after three weeks. Imagine that the lightbulb fails after two months. I would have thought that in both of those cases you would feel quite miffed and you would consider that the bulb had not been of satisfactory quality in that it had not met up to what a reasonable consumer would expect given modern standards of manufacture and modern expectations.

 

So if you bought a bulb and it blew after three weeks and you felt that this was evidence that the bulb was defective – not of satisfactory quality – then why would it be, if you put it into a vehicle, and it blew after three weeks, that the situation should be any different?

 

All I was querying was your statement that the severity of the defect isn’t relevant and any defect is grounds for a rejection. I think a lot of people coming to the forum would read that statement and, as people generally do, they would read what they want to read and may indeed consider a brake light bulb or split wiper blade a reason for rejection. You will no doubt agree, as you have already suggested, should such a ridiculous case get before a judge he would be quite embarrassed that a case for rejecting a used motor vehicle on account of a blown bulb has been brought before him.

 

People do look up to you on this forum for advice and from what I have seen you have given plenty of good advice. The notion of rejecting a used motor vehicle under the short term right to reject for “any defect” is not correct and taking a literal view of that piece of law isn’t wise for anyone.

 

Whilst there is no differentiating between a major or minor fault in the CRA, the CRA defines what a “fault” is and that is not fit for purpose, not of satisfactory quality or not as described. It’s clear that a blown bulb, split wiper blade, worn (but roadworthy) brake pads, worn (but roadworthy) tyres etc do not make the vehicle unfit for purpose or not of satisfactory quality therefore under the CRA do not constitute a fault in the first place.

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Thank you for your input.

 

Do you think that "defect" in the first six months is the same as "satisfactory quality" for the rest of the reasonable life of the vehicle?

 

 

Of course, you're quoting the statute as to your responsibility to carry out any inspection with reasonable diligence. This duty has appeared in the previous sale of goods Acts as well as the recent 2015 act. But this is not relevant to the ongoing discussion.

 

However, as to your question – who buys a used car without inspecting it first? The answers lots of people. A huge number of people aren't qualified to carry out an inspection. A huge number of people trust the dealer – and why shouldn't they? You pay 100% of the purchase price – you expect 100% of the goods. This sounds reasonable enough to me.

 

Furthermore, you are only liable for any defects which such inspection might reasonably have been expected to reveal. In other words, if you simply check the interior then you would only be expected to have accepted defects in the interior. Not the engine, not the gearbox, not the steering, not the engine, not the exhaust system, not the lighting system, not the air conditioning, do we need to go on?

 

In fact there is a very good argument to say that by carrying out any kind of inspection then you are putting yourself at risk. People who do inspect a vehicle normally carry out a cursory inspection within five or 10 minutes often under the watchful eye (read – pressure) of an anxious salesman.

 

Better off perhaps to carry out no inspection and then to discover the faults later because at least it can never be said that your inspection should reasonably have revealed those faults.

 

A good point well made. I expect a number of people have pre purchase inspections carried out on vehicles (I know I have in the past) when doing so, would actually compromise our rights under the CRA it seems! Better to live in ignorance it seems

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