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Hi,

 

My daughter purchased a used car on 20th feb 2019. She was driving it yesterday and tried to slow down for a roundabout, but the brakes completely failed, she crashed into a lampost, car is a right off and she is in hospital. Does she have any rights at all? It was purchased from a small independent car dealer. Thanks.

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Her rights under the consumer rights act are that if a defect manifests itself within the first six months of ownership then she is entitled to a repair and if the repair fails then she is entitled to a refund of her money or a replacement – at her choice.

Had the brake failure occur within the first 30 days then she would have been entitled to reject the vehicle outright.

If you the fact that the car is a write-off then it seems unlikely that they are going to manage to do a repair – but you had better given the opportunity. Contact them immediately and inform them of the problem and the you are rejecting the vehicle and if they believe they can repair and they have a single opportunity to repair it but if not then you require a full refund of your money.

In addition to that, your daughter would be entitled to recover all her losses and also compensation for any injuries that she has suffered. Of course you can imagine that the dealer in this circumstance will immediately try to say that the crash occurred because of some reason unconnected with the quality of the vehicle and that there was no defect in place.

However, you should begin by writing the letter that I have suggested above. I would suggest also in the same letter that you ask the garage for the name of their insurers because depending on what you say about her injuries, you may be looking at rather more money than simply the value of the vehicle.

Secondly, please can you tell us something about the extent of her injuries. 


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Thanks,

 

She has only cuts, bruises and strains thankfully. She has been discharged a couple of hours ago. She did have to be cut out of the car however.

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I have emailed the company rejecting the car and asking for their insurance details. I did email them this morning telling them what happened and this was their response: We are very sorry to hear about your accident and hope you are getting better. We obviously have no idea why the car had brake failure and there can be many reasons why this should happen.The car is sixteen years old and we give you a three month warranty on the engine and the gearbox.Prior to the accident the car was obviously driving without any brakes issues as I’m sure you would have made us aware of such a serious problem. With regards to the airbags they don’t always deploy as it depends on the type of incident.
You will need to contact your car insurance company who will cover you for the accident and any repairs that they deem necessary. If you need any help please let us know.

 

i will post back here their reply to the new email once received.

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May I firstly wish your daughter a speedy recovery?

It is important to remove, as far as possible, the emotion that such an incident naturally invokes. As no doubt the police attended and will be making their enquiries which will revolve around the cause of the incident, hopefully their forensic examination will support her claim of total brake failure. You should not approach the vehicle supplier until you are in possession of this information, as even reasonable traders may become reticent in the face of accusations of supplying a dangerous vehicle.

If no report is available from the police, you will need to arrange one yourself through your/her insurance company who you should inform straightaway.

 

NB whilst typing this reply I have been notified of your second post, which rather proves my second paragraph above!


My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Response to me request to reject the car:


The car was driving without issue.The brakes on a Mini have a dual system and we have NEVER know a Mini to have total brake failure.As we mentioned this is a insurance issue and you need to claim through your insurance .We are sorry we are unable to help.
Best regards
 

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Once again, write the letters I suggested above. Don't be fazed by their three month warranty. It is unenforceable and in fact unlawful. The evidence suggests that the car was sold in an unroadworthy condition and such a sale is illegal under  Section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 - this is in addition to your consumer rights.

You should make your position completely clear that you do not accept that your entitlement to a car of satisfactory quality is limited by their three month warranty. Make sure that they also realise that you will be making a complaint that they have sold a car in an unroadworthy condition.


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I have sent the above letters and they are denying any involvement and refusing to do anything.

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Being realistic and blunt, did the brakes really fail OP or is your daughter looking for a reason not to blame herself? Everyone has accidents, it's nothing to be ashamed of - it's what insurance is for. Was it more her misjudging the roundabout, her speed/braking distance or not seeing someone else coming maybe?

 

It's very rare brakes just completely fail, especially considering she had been driving it for over a month without issue. Also prior the accident I presume she was driving 5-10 minutes prior and braking no problem? She will need the car to be inspected to prove the brakes failed before you can claim it was mis-sold...

Personally I would claim on my insurance, ask the assessor to check the brakes specifically if they failed. Then if they did you have evidence to begin claiming the car was mis-sold. Unless the Police are inspecting the car themselves since cutting her out, then you can see what they have to say about the brakes whether they were an issue or not.

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Yes, the brakes definitily failed. pedal went straight to the floor with nothing.

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can you get an independent assessment of this? Shouldnt take much if the engine turns over. you can then go route 1 straight to the small claims court for the cost of the car. Now if she wants to consider personal injury/recovering lost income etc I would suggest that is taken up as a separate matter using the insurer's legal dept. Problem is whatever happens her insurance will go up as they always see any incident as being the result of the driver's behaviour.

Get hit form behind? insurer marks you down as someone who brakes suddenly or just drives too erratically for others to avoid them. Died in bed- too lazy to get up

  • Haha 1

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I agree that it's very strange that brakes suddenly failed.

Could it be that she scraped the car belly on a speed hump and lost all brake fluid before getting to the roundabout?

Car needs to be inspected to understand the reason for brake failure. 

 

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For the brakes to completely fail, with the pedal to the floor then the brake fluid must have escaped somehow. It’s very rare for this to happen, for a brake pipe to burst and loose all pressure immediately. Check the brake pipes & ferrules and accessories for failure. 

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