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Car dealer refusing to repair used car

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A bried summary of my issue.

I bought a Vauxhall Astra used car from a Toyota main dealer for £7000 in April 2017.  When I noticed that it is hard to get the key off from the car ignition all the times, I contacted the dealer within 5 days and explained him the situation (in addition to lack of service book and incorrect warranty information). Since the service personnel did not respond properly, I sent an email to the dealer's CEO and one of their directors contacted me and resolved the issue with the service logbook and warranty information. He informed me it is ideal to get the key issue sorted out at a Vauxhall service centre myself, despite me repeatedly asking him to getting it repaired by his dealership. I budged and the Vauxhall service centre replaced the key capture solenoid actuator and charged me around £200 including labour charges in July 2017. The Toyota dealership refunded me the amount. 


The issue started happening again after 3 months and I contacted the service centre again who could not reproduce the issue. Since this was intermittent, I just lived with it for a few months. After a few months, around mid of 2018, this started happening very frequently. I contacted the director of dealership again who said his dealership would not repair it but he would either a) pay me the repair cost of Vauxhall as final or b) part-exchange Vauxhall for a Toyota or 3) Buy back the car minus usage. I said yes to part exchange and he took more than a couple of months to come up with alternatives but since the cost was prohibitive, I declined the same. With respect to buy-back, I declined since he was quoting far less for the car than the market value. 


I went back to Vauxhall, who replaced the key capture solenoid actuator again for free but the issue came back after a few days. They then said it would cost £550 for the gear selector to be replaced but cannot guarantee that the problem would resolve forever. 


I went back to the Toyota dealer to repair the car by themselves, but they said I have to repair it myself by Vauxhall once and for all.


I went to another Vauxhall service centre, who said they cannot identify why this is happening and wants it to be extensively investigated at another location for at least a couple of days.

I have spent a lot of time sitting and waiting to take the key out in several car parks or in front of home or at my little one's nursery car park, as this has been happening very frequently.  Sometimes I had to just wait more than half an hour just trying to take the key out. I even missed a hospital appointment and spent a lot of time visiting garages, etc. This happens for a month or so and then works fine for a few months and then comes back later.


The dealership asked me to contact the Motor Ombudsman, but I am more inclined towards going to the Small Claims Court. If the latter, how much should I claim for, approximately?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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I think you are quite right to avoid going to the so-called motor ombudsman. These institutions are generally speaking a waste of time.

I'm afraid I don't really understand what your problem is about. You have difficulty extracting the key – but from your description it seems to me that it is something which has to be released by the car. Is this correct?

Anyway, as to how much you should claim – it seems to me that you should claim all of the losses that you have experience so far plus the cost of putting it right. You are entitled to be placed into the position that you would have been if the contract had gone through smoothly and there had been no breaches. This seems to me to be a clear case of a breach of contract.

He said that it has been repaired once and then it is gone wrong again. Clearly this could happen yet again. One thing that you need to realise is that if you sue them now for the cost of having the work done, if anything goes wrong again, you still have a new cause of action and you could sue again.

I also think that if you have the fault properly diagnosed then you would be entitled to claim for the cost of a hire car during the period of diagnosis – and also during the period of any repairs.


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1 hour ago, BankFodder said:

Thank you. 


As regards the problem, when I stop the car and try to get the key out, it doesn't come out all the time, i.e. 7 out of 10. I have to wiggle it or drive the car again for a couple of minutes and then park and try to wiggle out. Most of the time, it takes at least 20 to 30 minutes, if not more. 


With respect to the claim, I am not sure how much I can claim claim for. Vauxhall says even changing the gear selector for £550 might not address the issue completely. The original Toyota dealer refuses to get it repaired though. My only requirement is that I want the car repaired properly which the seller is unwilling to do themselves.



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