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yanny2308

Low Mileage Centre Used car dealer not responding to rejection letter

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I purchased a 2008 BMW 318i from a used car dealer on 22nd December 2018 for £3,995 with 70,000 miles on the clock. I was told by the dealer that they would want to MOT and service the car before I took it, and as the garage they used would be closed over the Christmas and new year period, I agreed to collect the car on 5th January 2019. The car came with a three month warranty. I paid a deposit on the 22nd December and the remainder when collecting on 5th January and paid by debit card.

 

When at the dealers on 22nd December I noted that much of the paperwork referred to an oil leak. I asked whether this had been repaired and was told it had. I looked online the day before collecting the vehicle to see the outcome of the MOT test and was surprised to note that it yet again mentioned an oil leak. When collecting the vehicle on 5th January the dealer obviously did not mention this. I said that I had seen the results of the MOT and noted an ongoing oil leak. I was told that this had been repaired after the MOT and it had been the rocker cover gasket. I was told that the catalytic converter had also been replaced.

 

Since buying the car, it has been back to the dealer on three separate occasions, once for an issue where the central locking stopped working and I couldn't get into the car, a second time for them to diagnose the ongoing oil leak and a third time on 19th March 2019 to have that oil leak repaired. I understand that the rear seal on the engine was replaced. However, the car has still slowly been losing oil. The car went to a BMW centre on 28th May 2019 to have some recall issues sorted, and upon assessing the vehicle they have noted that it has an oil leak from three places, one of which being the rocker cover. I called the car dealer on 29th May 2019 and they refused to repair the oil leak, suggesting that it had developed since their last repair! I only use the car for small journeys and have only done around 1,500 miles since purchasing it.

 

In addition to the above, last time the vehicle went back to the dealer (when still under the three month warranty period), I advised that the vehicle was not driving well and using an excessive amount of fuel. I told them that the fault codes had been read and there was an issue with both O2 sensors. When collecting the car from them on 21st March 2019 they advised that the codes had been cleared and that they would have been caused by the oil leak. The issue has not been resolved, and the car continues to drive roughly and use an excessive amount of fuel. I understand that faulty O2 sensors can cause the catalytic converter to fail, which is interesting as they had previously replaced this.

 

I wrote to the car dealer on 3rd June 2019. I said that as I had been advised on two separate occasions by them that the oil leak had been fixed, when it has clearly not, I believe the vehicle is not as described, and quoted The Consumer Rights Act 2015. I advised them that they were in breach of contract and as a previous repair had failed, I am requesting a refund. They wrote back within 14 days advising that they are now prepared to repair the vehicle. As the vehicle has more issues than just the oil leak, I don't really want the hassle of dealing with it anymore. I am confident the dealer won't repair 3 separate oil leaks, nor deal with the O2 sensors if the fault isn't caused by the ongoing oil leak. As such I wrote back to them on 18th June 2019 advising that I no longer wished to return the vehicle to them for repair, and requested a refund once again. I asked them to contact me within 14 days to arrange collection of the vehicle. They have until tomorrow to respond, and so far I have received nothing. I am therefore looking at issuing small claims proceedings against them. I also provided them with a video link that BMW gave me, which shows the underneath of the vehicle and the three different oil leaks.

 

I'm just after some advice here. Has anyone issued proceedings against a second hand car dealer before in a similar situation and what was the outcome? I'm just wondering whether it is worth doing and what my chances of success are. I have no other vehicle, nor any money to replace the vehicle, so I am left having to use the vehicle daily. It is horrible to drive, and I just want rid! 

 

Sorry for the long winded post!

 

Edited by yanny2308

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On the basis of what you have told us, the chances of success are better than 95%.

The problem with all second-hand car dealers is the problem of enforcing the judgement. You haven't told us the name of the dealer – are you trying to protect them?


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Not at all! Just didn't think to put their details on. I purchased the vehicle from the Low Mileage Centre in Portsmouth.


Do you think I need to send them another letter advising that I will be issuing proceedings, or can I just go ahead and issue if they don't respond by tomorrow. They have had 28 days already since receiving my first letter.

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You will need to comply with the pre-action protocol which in your circumstances are that you have to give them written notice that unless they sort things out within 14 days then you will begin a legal action.

There is no special format – just basically that it makes your deadline clear and what they need to do to avoid the legal action.

You could actually have sent the letter before claim earlier so that it expired on the deadline that you have already given them – but you appear not to have done this so they have a further 14 days.

As I have said, your success in this is pretty well beyond doubt – but enforcement could be a problem. I just looked at the website of the Low Mileage Centre and I notice that all of the images they have vehicles are on the street – not in a showroom. Is this a proper well established company with proper premises? Have they been around for a fair amount of time. It would be worth doing a companies check on them to see how long they have been there, how long the company has been in existence and also have there been any name changes.

One thing we have found is that companies find that they are being sued and suddenly the company goes into liquidation and start-up trading is another company with an almost identical name – but unfortunately it is a different legal entity and so you are unable to enforce the judgement.

 

I can tell you that I have already had a brief search on the companies house registry and I'm sorry to tell you that although they seem to be trading as the Low Mileage Centre Ltd – there seems to be no such company in existence.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/search?q=LOW+MILEAGE+CENTRE+LTD

 

 

How did you pay the money?


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Thanks for looking into it. I paid by debit card unfortunately.

 

I have just pulled out the paperwork and on the receipt it says at the bottom 30 Agincourt Ltd T/A Low Mileage Centre. Company No. 6840157. I have looked them up on Companies House and they are active on there and been incorporated since March 2009. I assume if I issue proceedings it would be against 30 Agincourt Ltd?

 

It is a proper premises and looks like they have been there for some time, but they only have room for about 6 cars inside, so a lot of their cars are parked out on the road. 

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Well done on finding their true company name. The name you should see them in is 30 Agincourt Ltd T/A Low Mileage Centre. I see that they've been around since 2009 so that's encouraging and the two directors are presumably a married couple who have been in place since 2009 so the company seems fairly stable.

However, why are all the pictures of vehicles which are displayed on the website on the road and not in a showroom? Do they have a good looking premises?

Also I see that the addresses which the directors have given for themselves look as if they are private residential addresses. However, as that address is simply the address of the director and probably doesn't belong to the company then it means that if you try to enforce the judgement and they were insufficient assets then you probably wouldn't be able to enforce against those addresses. However I would check up the residential address given for the directors and see who owns the property. Maybe it is in personal ownership – but you never know maybe it's owned by the business.

You could also look at the registry trust online website https://www.trustonline.org.uk/ and see if there are any CC jays against the company or even against the directors and see whether or not they have been satisfied. I think that these are the reasonable kinds of preparation to make before bringing an action. If you found that there were a number of unsatisfied judgements against the company then you would need to ask yourself why and what makes you think that you might be able to enforce judgement whereas others haven't.

Of course you are in a strong position because the amount of money that you are claiming is well over £600 and that means that if you get the judgement, you would immediately transfer up to the High Court for £66 and then instruct High Court enforcement officers who have very powerful powers at their disposal to enforce judgement.

There is no doubt that their website is misleading and it displays unlawfully because they claim to be a limited liability company when they're not. They also claim to be regulated by the FCA and I don't really understand how come that can be the case. They give a registration number and maybe you should check with the FCA website to see what the story is there. Certainly if they are representing themselves as the Low Mileage Centre Ltd then they are misrepresenting themselves which means that their various claimed registrations are dodgy

 

Yes it is very unfortunate that you paid by debit card. People who buy second-hand vehicles should always pay by credit card even if you obtain the credit card simply for the purposes of that vehicle.


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Thanks for all your help - it's very much appreciated!

 

I have checked the FCA website and from what I can see, everything looks OK there. The address for the directors says online that it was purchased last in 1996, some years before the company was established, so I imagine it is owned by the directors personally.

 

I have checked on Trust Online and they have one unsatisfied judgment from 5th September 2016 in the sum of £2,504. Nothing else has come up on there. Does this just mean that the claimant in that case hasn't enforced the judgment? I assume they wouldn't be trading any longer otherwise?

 

Their premises is a bit run down, but no worse than other second hand car dealers that I've been to!

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Yes, it means that for some reason rather the claimant hasn't enforce the judgement. Otherwise it would be marked satisfied. £2504 sounds very much like the price of a second-hand vehicle.

So if you want to go ahead and make the claim then we will help you. Send the letter of claim. Register with money claim online and start drafting your claim.

If you want, post your draft claim up here and will have a look. Keep it very simple. It does need a lot of narrative. It does need to be verbose.

If you send the letter of claim then be certain that you are prepared to carry out your threat on day 15. Don't bluff.


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Thank you again.

 

I have received a further letter from them today. They left it until the last day to respond to my previous letter as well!

 

They have said the following: 

 

Further to your letter of 18th June regarding the above vehicle, we have viewed the link provided by BMW, and read the brief report on the vehicle.

 

It is quite clear from the above report, that the oil leaks reported on the vehicle are not in any way connected to the work we have had carried out on the vehicle. We had the vacuum pump oil seal replaced, and that is not an issue on the report. Engines can develop all kinds of oil leaks during the life of the vehicle, and we consider that we have satisfactorily dealt with the oil leak that was apparent when you brought the vehicle back to us for repair, under our warranty.

 

We cannot be responsible for every issue on a vehicle after our warranty has expired, and therefore cannot offer you a refund for the vehicle, as we have met all of our obligations.

 

Does this change my chances of success at all if I proceed to court? I'm not sure if it's relevant, but I don't believe the oil leak falls under the warranty, as I was told prior to sale that the oil leak had been resolved. If I had known it had not been resolved, I wouldn't have purchased the vehicle. 

 

The only thing that worries me here is that they replaced the vacuum pump oil seal on 19th March. I didn't get back to them until after BMW inspected the vehicle on 29th May (still within 6 months of sale). The reason for this is that there is no oil dipstick on the car, the levels are just shown on the dash. Unfortunately it won't show the oil level until you have been driving the car for around 10 minutes, and as most of my journeys are less than this, I'm usually unable to get an oil reading. Do you think this would be an issue at all? 

 

 

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My understanding is that you took delivery of the vehicle on 5 January. This means that you are just within the six months. Send them a letter telling them that you are now relying on the Consumer Rights Act six months right to reject in the event that they attempt a repair which fails. You must get the letter off today – email is fine – but I would suggest that you also send it by guaranteed next day delivery so that it is sure that they receive it tomorrow morning. Make this a priority.

Don't expect them to be more cooperative but at least you have reserved your rights. Then you can consider the action you want to take – which could be a county court claim to insist on the repair under their statutory duty and if the repair fails then a refund. I haven't been through the fine detail of your claim but if they have already carried out a repair then you are entitled to a refund.

You really should be fazed by this notion of a warranty. Warranty is almost meaningless – as you are starting to discover. You have adequate rights under the Consumer Rights Act but unfortunately many people seem to think that where a warranty is offered and the warranty expires, then that extinguishes all their rights. Not true. The consumer rights act entitles you to enjoy a vehicle in a satisfactory condition which remains that way for a reasonable period of time. In my view it is quite certain that you are entitled to enjoy the vehicle for more than six months before a defect occurs which is sufficiently serious to render the vehicle unsatisfactory. I'm sure that an oil leak does render it unsatisfactory.
Make it clear to them that you are not relying on the warranty. You are relying on their statutory obligations under the Consumer Rights Act and Which You Are Prepared to Enforce in the County Court if necessary.


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Now you see the kind of people they really are. You are lucky to the extent that you have come here and you are getting competent advice as to your entitlements. Imagine the number of their customers who find themselves in a similar kind of position and yet are fobbed off with the excuse of an expired warranty.

Very sorry to say but there are a huge number of used-car dealers who deserve their "used-car dealer" reputation. – I'm sure there are loads more who are pretty good – but I'm afraid it doesn't take many to tarnish the whole industry.


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I have just drafted a letter to go to them today. Does this look OK to you?

 

 

BY EMAIL & RECORDED DELIVERY

 

 

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

 

 

Thank you for your letter dated 1st July 2019.

 

I note that you refer to the oil leak being repaired under your warranty. I should make it clear that I am not relying on the warranty here, but am relying on your statutory obligations under the Consumer Rights Act. As advised in my letter of 3rd June 2019, as I was advised on two separate occasions by you that the oil leak had been fixed, when it has clearly not, I believe the vehicle is not as described. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 makes it an implied term of the contract I have with the Low Mileage Centre that goods be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.

 

As you are in breach of contract and I have owned the car for less than 6 years, and a previous attempt at repair has also failed, I am within my statutory rights to ask for a refund of up to 100% of the original cost paid. As such I am prepared to allow a further 14 days for you to contact me and arrange collection of the vehicle and provide a refund for the same.

 

If I do not receive a satisfactory response from you within 14 days of the date of this letter, I intend to issue proceedings without further notice.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Yes, point out to them that you will want them to arrange collection of the vehicle once the money has been paid – because you don't have confidence in them to take the vehicle without reimbursing you.

Also, are there any ancillary expenses which you have incurred?


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Ok, I will add that. The only expense I have incurred is two lots of oil I have had to buy, but I haven't kept receipts and it was only a minimal expense anyway.

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Well frankly I would still put in for the cost of the oil. Even if you don't have receipts – it is a reasonable and believable expense. Don't you have some note of it on a bank statement? Or did you pay cash?


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I can't honestly remember. I will double check my bank statements and if I can find it, I will add it to the claim.

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No response as yet. Royal Mail tracking online shows the letter was signed for on 4th July. I also sent it by email on 3rd July. Do I issue the proceedings on 18th July? 

 

I am just preparing them now. Would you mind taking a quick look and telling me if you think they are OK?

 

I managed to find one lot of oil on my credit card statement for £10.40, so I have added this to the total amount claimed.

 

image.thumb.png.88bde1b368c643553106527d200e9663.png

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Well I suppose that the fifteenth day after 4 July would be the nineteenth. As you are going to be using money claim, I would issue it on the Saturday or the Sunday. That gives them a clear 14 days.

The particulars look fine except I would include the registration number of the vehicle or some invoice reference number. Also, you may as well put in a claim for interest pursuant to 69 of the County Courts act 1984


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