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Issues with Used Car Dealer

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I hope you can give me some advice as I am having trouble with a used car I bought just under four months ago from an independent car dealer.


TL:DR is:

- dealer was dishonest and overstated advertisement;

- removed advisories from MOT without fixing problems;

- fixed some issues that would be obvious to even the untrained eye but stated other problems weren't there;

- have documents to show that issues were there even though the dealer gave me a delivery inspection report saying they weren't;

- problems became apparent once I started using the car;

- gave the dealer two chances to fix, didn't rectify the problems and resulted in me having to pay money to another garage to fix some of them;

- I now have an estimate for £1600 to make required repairs and dealer won't reply to emails or calls.


The longwinded story with full details is:


Car: Mercedes CLS

Year: 2007

Mileage: 67500 (just over half the average miles expected for age)

Price: £6350 (upper market value for model, year and mileage - £350 deposit paid on credit card. £6000 balance paid on debit card)

Description: "12 months warranty, 12 months MOT, Looks and Drives Superb, Outstanding the best we have ever seen or offered, excellent bodywork, full dealer facilities"

The dealer website also states that they carry out full service and all necessary maintenance on a car before it is sold and you can have peace of mind because warranty then covers any problems that may occur during the first 12 months.


Before purchasing, it was obvious that the boot lid handle and one of the electric windows would not work. I asked the dealer to fix these items and resolve advisories from the previous 2018 MOT. The advisories were:

- two brake pipes corroded;

- wheel distorted;

- loose wheel bearing;

- brake calliper damaged but function not impaired.


They put a new MOT on the car but the advisory for corroded brake pipes was still on there. The dealer assured me that the pipes were fine and would've been fixed if it had been required. He said there was nothing wrong with the wheels or brake calliper but he did change oil and air filter, tighten the wheel bearing, replaced a window regulator and fixed a broken wire for the boot lid handle. I drove the car home and then didn't use it for 3 weeks. When I finally started using the car, I noticed the following:

- the parking sensors would either not work or behaved erratically;

- CD player would not work;

- when driving slowly the car would sometimes slip when changing gears;

- when accelerating into moving traffic, the car often starts jerking/losing power;

- when driving at 60-70mph on motorways, the steering wheel vibrated a lot as did the passenger seat (loudly) if nobody was sitting in it.


After these issues became apparent, I contacted the dealer via email (<2 months and <1000 miles after purchase {approximate 1 month after I started using the car}) and stated that although they provided an aftermarket warranty, I believed it is the dealers responsibility to rectify problems within the first 6 months under the consumer rights act. He said to bring the car back to the garage (4 hour round trip) so they could investigate which I did twice, the second time leaving the car there for 10 days. I should also point out here that the dealer and the garage are in the same building with just a movable partition between the showroom and workshop but they are technically two different companies. During the period of them attempting the fix the car for the second time, I noticed that the service schedule required a gearbox oil and filter change at 40k which had not been done even though the advert stated full service history and there was a list of items on a receipt that wasn't shown to me when I originally viewed the car and its documents. This receipt included recommendations that the following items be addressed:

- gearbox oil and filter change;

- 1 distorted wheel;

- 1 cracked wheel;

- loose wheel bearing;

- brake pipes heavily corroded in several areas;

- damage to brake calliper;

- broken exhaust hanger;

- corrosion on brake disc;

- oil leak on turbo;

- fuel filter, air filters, glow plugs.


When I went back to the garage (by train), I highlighted these issues to the salesman that sold me the car and he said he can't remember going thought the documents would need to discuss it with the boss (even though he is one of the two directors of the company). At this point they had balanced and rotated the wheels, removed the CD/Sat Nav unit for repair and said here was no other problems with the car. They also repaired another broken window regulator but it would not work properly so I again asked them to try to fix it. They spent another hour at it but still couldn't get it to work properly and at this point it was after 5pm on a Friday evening and the guy wanted to go home so I told them I would take it to a local garage to get the window checked. They said they would post the CD/Sat Nav unit back to me once it was done.


I then paid a local independent MB garage £120 to do a full check on the car and a run a computer diagnostics. This garage reported the following:

- rear wheels rotated to front (cannot be done on this model of car, wheels are stamped to emphasise this and would result in an MOT fail had I tried to get it tested like this);

- one wheel buckled;

- one wheel cracked;

- brake calliper damaged and requires replacement;

- one brake disc is corroded/pitted;

- two front suspension arms w/hydraulic bushings require replacement;

- gearbox service required;

- 2 exhaust brackets broken;

- brake pipes corroded (and at least one should've resulted in a failed MOT);

- recently repaired window was over tightened and impairing movement plus door control unit no longer functioning properly.


I got back in contact with the car dealer via email to let him know about the result of the car check up and provided a copy of the estimate I was given. Although the warranty given with the car said it covered brakes, suspension, bushings, the warranty company flat out refused to cover any of this so I also let the dealer know that. The dealer now won't reply to my emails, take or return my calls and I'm sitting here with repair bill of £1600 and a car that has a big hole in the dash because I've not received back the CD/Sat Nav unit. They removed this almost 6 weeks ago now and since they won't reply to me, I cannot find out whats happening with it. At all times I was polite and requested that we find an amicable solution to solve these problems even after it became apparent that these problems were there before I bought the car and the dealer has lied about numerous things and removed advisories from the MOT without rectifying the problems.


The only person I have managed to get a hold of is the mechanic who owns the garage section and he has said twice that he would talk to them and get them to call me but they haven't. The last time I spoke to him I made it clear that this is totally unprofessional, to which he agreed and I mentioned that I have been advised to report them to the Ministry for Transport about removing the items from the MOT. At this point he started asking how much I would accept to fix the problems. I stated that I have already given them the estimate but he started questioning prices, times to do the work and what they should really cover so I told him I am not a mechanic and so I cannot start deciding what things will cost because I am not qualified to do so. I requested that if they wish to question anything, reply to my emails stating what they want to negotiate and I will happily go back to the garage that gave me the estimate to see what he can do. He said he will call the mechanic himself so I gave him the number but they have not called him and they still have not replied to me.


What can I do from here? Am I now within my rights to send an LBA and try to make a claim against against them? Should I try to go through section 75 consumer credit since I used my credit card to pay the deposit? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Also forgot to add, do I really have a leg to stand on here since I bought an almost 12 year old car? The mileage was very low for age and the description was it was the best they have ever seen or offered for sale. Furthermore, there is documented evidence that the issues were there before I bought the car. Thanks

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Crappy situation for you, sorry to hear about it.


A lot of items on that list are not really faults, they are signs of wear on a 12 year old car. Brake disc pitting, cracked rim, exhaust brackets broken etc. You've bought a used car so you can't expect it all to be mint.


You should focus on the things that made the car dangerous, or unroadworthy in my opinion. The gearbox issue for example, it's not had it's oil changed and it's slipping, you say? Well that shouldn't be happening on a car with that mileage.


One thing I would say is that an MOT is done and a car passed or failed at that point in time. So it's all well and good an indy garage looking at a car and saying "yeah this shouldn't have passed an MOT" but he's looking the car three months later, it's not the MOT testers job to predict the future but to report on what he sees at the time and by what you say, he pulled up a load of advisories so I'd say he's done his job properly. 


On balance, the car isn't really of satisfactory quality, given the miles, price paid so I'd stick to the items that make it so (don't mention part worn brake discs etc, it just makes you look unreasonable, it's a used car) and issue an LBA. That may light a spark under the dealers a*se and get you some action.

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Hi Chuffnut, thanks for you reply.  I'm rushing to get to work so can only give a quick response now but regarding the MOT advisories for damaged wheel and brake calliper, what he did was remove these advisories from the new MOT but the problems were still there.


I was hoping that they would cover the cost of the suspension repairs that resolved most of the car vibration issue, the damaged wheels and damaged calliper that was removed from the MOT (which I hope would resolve the remaining vibrations), the gearbox service and the brake pipes.


So if I do managed to get a reply, should I just focus on the suspension issue and gearbox service then? I don't want to be unreasonable with the dealer. I only highlighted all the issues because it became apparent that they were there before purchase and he was not honest with me, even after I gave them the opportunity to carry out repairs.



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"The advisories were gone but the problems were still there"


This suggests that the source of the problems were not related to the advisories perhaps. In any case, we could talk for days about mechanical issues and whatever, it's probably irrelevant. I'd say if you have a genuine issue with the gearbox, that would be enough to cement a claim that the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality. It wouldn't harm to list other issues I suppose but a few of them are not really issues and just signs of use on a used car.

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