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clearprop

Lowdhams of Huddersfield - Motorhome faulty can we reject?

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Hi Guys.

We bought a brand new motorhome in March 2016.

in March 2017 it broke down and could not be fixed at the side of the road.

Rather than having it recovered to Lowdhams in Huddersfield where we bought it, we had it recovered straight to our nearest Ford agent also in Huddersfield.

We picked it up three weeks later and it broke down again after only two miles.

 

At this point we could have rejected the vehicle but we let Ford try and fix it.

No definite fault was found

we agreed to run it to see if the work done had cured the problem.

 

It is now over two years since the first breakdown and despite it going in to Ford a further twice  they have not cured the fault.

It has broken down four times altogether

 

after the last occasion on 18-03-19 we decided that we had been patient for long enough.

We told Lowdhams we were rejecting it as it has not been fit for purpose since the first breakdown.

 

We have also had faults on the habitation side of the van leaving us with an unusable van for over eight months of the time we have owned it.

It is currently in the  Ford agent and we are told by Lowdhams that the repairs to cure the fault will cost £748.37p and they expect us to pay for the repair!

 

We are looking at taking this to court as we could have rejected the vehicle after the first unsuccessful repair.

We do not want the van any longer.

 

Can we still reject the vehicle?

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You have rather muddied the waters by going to a garage other than the one that sold it to you for the repairs.

You haven't told us anything about the faults – particularly is there any evidence that the faults existed at the time you bought the vehicle? You say that there is no definite fault but in order to have any claim against the retailer you will have to show some reasonable evidence of the nature of the fault.

What is the value of the motorhome?


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We took it to Ford as this is what Lowdhams would have done anyway with the van been under warranty. We have proof that the van breaks down each time due to loss of fuel pressure as the fault codes stored in the ECU are the same every time. We have all the breakdown data from the AA which we have included in the documentation that has been sent to Lowdhams. We have also sent them information from Ford showing what work/parts were fitted in their unsuccessful attempts to cure the fault. The van cost £45,342 and Lowdhams did say in one of their communications that thy would only refund us the vans current value even thought it has not been fit for purpose since the first breakdown in March 2017. I will attach the vehicle history so you can see all the faults but here is a summary of the main points :-

First breakdown 5,645 miles on 08-03-17 AA called out not fixable recovered to Ford.

Second breakdown 5,647 on 27-03-17 AA called out not fixable recovered to Ford.

Take to Ford for diagnostics check 13-04-17.

Take to Ford for new oil sensors fitting 6.020 miles on 02-05-17.

Third breakdown 8,977 miles on 19-09-17 AA called out. no definite fault found but eventually re started.

09-11-17 Take to Ford to see if cutting out fault can be cured. No definite fault found. Ford asked us to run it to see if problem is still there.

Fourth breakdown 14,029 miles on 18-03-19 same symptoms as on previous breakdowns, eventually started after twenty minutes.

Average mileage from new between breakdowns 3,526.

First and second breakdowns 27 days.

Van at Ford to try and find the fault 8 days.

No water pump so no toilet flush,shower,sink water 125 days.

No shower due to broken shower tray 90 days.

Total 250 days (over eight months) of not been fit for habitation out of three years of ownership.

Date Lowdhams were told we were now rejecting van as we have given them ample time to sort it out 20-03-19.

Van taken to Ford by Lowdhams 14-05-19.

Ford have at last diagnosed the fuel pump in the tank is drawing a higher than normal current and that this has been causing a bad connection of the contacts in the fuel pump relay.

As this has been the fault all along any repairs should be done under warranty.

We have told Lowdhams we have no confidence in the vehicle and do not want it any longer. If we accept the repair and it turns out that this does not cure the fault we will not have a leg to stand on and will have to pay for any further repairs. 

 

  

MOTORHOME.doc

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One of your big problems here is that the vehicle is over £45,000. If you begin a court action then because it will take you over £10,000 you will exceed the small claims limit and go on to the fast track. This means that if you lose, you will not only be liable for your own costs that you will be liable for most of the costs of the other side. This means that it becomes a seriously risky business to bring a legal action when the outcome, in my view, is not at all clear.

I don't understand why at the end you say that if you accept the repair and if the full is not cured then you have no further rights. This cannot be correct. Why do you say this?

It seems to me that if there has now been a correct diagnosis of the problem and the problem is repaired, then your best course of action might be to sue for all the expense and inconvenience you have been put through over the years since you bought the vehicle. This will be a much more manageable claim and also your chances of success would increase very substantially


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Hi BankFodder

 

I was assuming that if we broke down again Lowdhams would say that the original fault had been cured and any further breakdowns must be been caused by something else. If we do keep the van we would want something in writing to say that if it continues to break down the fault has been misdiagnosed and we still do not want a van that is not fit for purpose. Looking at other cases it looks as if similar companies will do anything to stop you rejecting the vehicle. As you say it will be easier get them to pay compensation and we will consider this.

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I'm afraid that by leaving it so long – you've had the vehicle since 2016 – and also given the value of the vehicle, over £10,000, you've added to the complexity of the problem.

They say that they have identified the root cause of the problem and I think that you are obliged to permit the repair. However the repair itself will be guaranteed in addition to the fact that if the repair fails then I think that you will acquire rights under the original contract that the vehicle must be of satisfactory quality and remain that way for a reasonable period of time.

You could make it clear to them in writing that if the repair does fail then you will be treating their breach of contract as a fundamental breach and therefore undermining the entire purpose of the contract and effectively bring it to an end. You could ask them to agree to this but I doubt whether they will so it's probably best not to complicate things but simply to make sure that they have a piece of paper in the hands which says that so that they are in no doubt as to your position and that you have a paper trail.

If the vehicle breaks down again then it will be a question of evidence as to whether it is the original problem or a new problem. If it is new problem then you are still in the same position which is that if it is a serious breakdown then it undermines the purpose of the contract again.

I'm afraid that with all of these things one is best served by acting with alacrity – and you have not done so. I don't fully understand why but that is water under the bridge now. However, 45 grand I would have expected more and I would have husbanded my investment so that I was "on the case" at the outset.

I still wouldn't let it go though. I would start calculating all of my losses meaning – actual losses: discernible money losses including any reasonable expenses which were a foreseeable result of their breach of contract. And I would also start making a detail of any inconvenience including loss of the facility. I think that you said that the vehicle has been off the road and unavailable to you for a considerable period of time.

If you can bring home a figure of less than £10,000 then I would consider bringing a legal action with a high degree of confidence and a low degree of risk.


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What makes you think you could reject the motorhome, 12 months after you had it?

 

As far as I'm aware, under the Consumer Rights Act you have 6 months to reject/repair if a fault is proven. After 6 months you have to prove the product was sold not fit for purpose... 

 

Also as previously mentioned, it doesn't seem you have ever given the Dealer (Lowdhams) a chance to repair, until 3 years later? Unless your story has missed out some info in between.

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3 minutes ago, Sparxeh said:

What makes you think you could reject the motorhome, 12 months after you had it?

 

As far as I'm aware, under the Consumer Rights Act you have 6 months to reject/repair if a fault is proven. After 6 months you have to prove the product was sold not fit for purpose... 

 

Also as previously mentioned, it doesn't seem you have ever given the Dealer (Lowdhams) a chance to repair, until 3 years later? Unless your story has missed out some info in between.

 

I'm afraid that you are quite wrong in respect of not having a right to reject an item after the six months has expired. In addition to the Consumer Rights Act one still has the benefit of the common law of contract which is extremely powerful. If a breach is so fundamental that it undermines the purpose of the contract then it is taken that the person in breach has terminated the contract and released the purchaser (in this case) from their contractual obligations at the option of the injured party.

 


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Hi Sparxeh.

Lowdhams were informed each time it broke down and also on the two occasions when it went to Ford for further work to try and solve the problem. If we had taken it to Lowdhams they would have taken it to Ford anyway so we just saved some time by taking it to Ford direct. It is possibble to return goods up to six years after purchase depending on the circumstances. If you read the MOTORHOME.doc on one of my earlier replies to BankFodder you will see the full vehicle history and have a full picture of what has gone on so far.

Cheers guys.

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6 minutes ago, clearprop said:

It is possibble to return goods up to six years after purchase depending on the circumstances.

 

Just a general comment here – I have no idea what you mean by this supposedly six-year rule. Everyone seems to be hung up on some notion of a magical six years. And there is certainly no six-year-old after purchase although it's not especially relevant in this thread anyway.


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Hi Guys

Our latest email from Lowdhams is telling us that they are " Willing to cover the repair cost as a gesture of good will in full and final settlement of the matter without admitting any liability". It is also saying that I set up a contract with Trust Ford in Huddersfield by taking it to them on the initial breakdown in March 2017. I will be replying to this stating that any repairs will be covered by Ford as it is a further attempt at rectifying the original fault and is nothing to do with any good will. They are trying to make it sound as if they are doing us a favor. With regards to me having a contract between myself and Trust Ford in Huddersfield, Lowdhams actually asked me to take it to Trust Ford when I informed them that we wanted to reject the vehicle. The reason it didn't go to Trust was that they could not look at the fault for two months due to lack of staff. I will be informing them that not paying for the repair is just a starting point. I will keep you informed.

Cheers guys. 

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Well it sounds as if it may be en route to being sorted out – but this idea that you are entering into a contract with some other company and therefore exempting them from any further liability is complete nonsense


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Hi Guys

I have today 25-06-19 been in touch with Stoneacre Ford and they are still waiting for Lowdhams to give the go ahead for our van to be repaired. It is now 41 days since Lowdhams took the van to Stoneacre  and 95 days since we informed them that we were rejecting the vehicle. I have phoned Lowdhams to try and find out what is going on but as usual the person dealing with this is not available. Looking on line the going rate for loss of amenity is £800 per week but I don't know if that applies to caravans and motorhomes. We have heard nothing from Lowdhams since 13-06-19 when they accused me of setting up a contract with Trust Ford. I will let you know if anyone gets back to me from Lowdhams.

Cheers guys.

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It sounds to me as if you are losing control.

What is the cost of the repair if you had to pay it out yourself?

Loss of amenity at £800 per week sounds over the top. How often during the summer are you expecting to use your motorhome? How much would it cost you to rent one? In my view that will be the measure of the loss of amenity – but you would actually have to rent it and use it. If you are planning to go away for several weeks then probably a court would consider that they had been no loss.

I think that you are being played. I would find out the cost of repairs. I would then write to the dealer and tell them that they have 14 days to authorise the repairs or make some alternative arrangement or you will put the repairs and hand yourself and you will sue them for the money plus the loss of amenity plus interest and without any further notice. Give them 14 days from now for the legal action or to approve the repairs.

Frankly I don't see any other way


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Hi guys.

The repair cost is £748.37p and Lowdhams are now paying the bill. It will come with Ford twelve months part and labour warranty. Hope to get it back this Thursday.

Cheers Guys.

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Very good. Well done.

Don't forget that even though it's covered by a warranty, you probably have better cover automatically through the Consumer Rights Act. You should always remember that your statutory rights almost always trump the guarantees contained in warranties


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Thanks BankFodder I will remind Lowdhams of this and also the common law of contract and limitation act. 

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