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Avon Car Sales - Dubious tactics not to refund for fault in car

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Hi  all.  New to this.


Purchased a car last sept and after a couple of trips, a warning light came on.
 Coolant system.  Topped up the coolant  and light went off.  After happening a couple of times,
 I reported it to the used car dealer within a month and they had offered to investigate and repair.  

Problem was that they were over 90 miles away with no train service for me to get back and I had family runs to make and no childcare plus coming into a lock down.  

I got Skoda to do a 
cursory health check & They then recinded the offer and offered full refund but won't repair it take it or leave it.


So, seeing that we like the car otherwise and thought it just to be a leak in a hose and being so far from the dealer, we had a mechanic look at it quickly.  Couldn't find a direct leak but saw signs of something much bigger so we had to book in for a full investigation but had to wait 3 weeks for a slot.

 At this time, no one said NOT the drive the car!!  

We consequently found that it was very serious and expensive repair, cylinder head gasket which could lead to other repairs that couldn't be quantified at that time.  
The mechanic didn't want to take on such a big job and said take it back to them and take the full refund.
 This was reported to the dealer & I requested the full refund offered.  He said to return the car for their inspection.
 I said that they had a copy of the report and that I want he full refund as offered.


I had to return it at my expense via a car shipment company by the next day as they were closing for the lockdown & transferred the DVLA VC5 ownership to them.  

They then had their lawyers write me saying that I caused the damage by continuing to drive the car and that they were going to deduct the
full cost of their estimated repairs £1,200.  

I then reported the transaction to VISA debit card disputes [not credit card] who took 2 months to review.  

They just replied saying that they couldn't dispute or return the full amount 3,495 as the dealer had made an offer, what offer?
Refund less the full repair from before. so I wrote their lawyer offering to settle halfway at 500 cost to me but that didn't that I accepted any liability what so ever as the car had a reported fault within the first month of a 3 month warranty.

They must take some responsibility for providing a faulty car and not attending to it as agreed and kept changing their offers with "take it or leave it" and refusing to be helpful.  

They then wrote back stating that they want me to collect the car in 2 weeks or they will start charging storage fees & that as VISA didn't make any award to me, that they felt confident that they would win a money claim in court. 


All the way through this process, I have felt bullied and unsupported and that they kept changing their promised offers which kept leaving me in a position of having to accept.  
They played along a thin legal line from the start so its obvious that Im not the first victim.  

Its been a financial and emotional drain on our family who work very hard for the NHS frontline and we've had the expense of having to buy another car eating into our savings in these difficult times.  

What can I do next?   


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Welcome to the forum.

I see you got our message to space out your story for us. Well done. Maybe even a bit more spacing would be helpful.

You haven't told us the exact date that this happened. The date you bought the car and the date that it broke down.

You say that you've been contacted by a firm of solicitors acting for them. What firm was that please?

How much has this whole episode cost you altogether – including shipment et cetera?


Also, where is the car now?

And I'm interested to know why they sent you a letter from a solicitor? You must have sent them some communication which cause them to feel that they had to take these defensive steps. What did you send them please?

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Well you asked for it 😜   ......


Summarised Time LIne:

Car dealer – AVON CAR Sales Ltd is 96 miles away from us as very difficult to find this model car locally.

11/Sep/2020 Deposit paid £350


25/Sep/2020 Balance paid on collection £3,145  3 months warranty mentioned no policy provided.  Slight damage to front indicating a small collision noted to Dealer who said what do I expect for a car of that age.


2/Oct/2020  “Low level Coolant warning” goes off [light & continuous sound] & Service Now warning displayed.  Dealer notified by Whatsapp.


7/Oct/2020  Not trusting that the Dealer & that this is not the only issue, Local Skoda Dealer conducted a free general Health Check at short notice but told about coolant level.  They noted the leak but couldn’t easily identify source as no obvious sign, & oil staining around engine & recommended further investigation.  They also noted 2 split CV boots that should have failed the MOT & problems with brakes.


8/Oct/2020  Dealer notified of findings.  Dealer offered to full refund or repair or accept vehicle as is and pressurised me to make a quick decision.


14/Oct/2020  Notified Dealer of other issues with the car & offered to work together to resolve.


15/Oct/2020  Arrangements made to deliver the car for inspection on 26/Oct/2020


15/Oct/2020  Offer to conduct the warranty repair withdrawn by Dealer.  We are given an ultimatum to accept the refund or accept the car as is within 5 days & told that legal team will be in touch.  I reminded them that they accepted to do a warranty repair & their obligation to honour their 3 month warranty.  They stated that their offer of a full refund superseded any warranty and are NOT willing to assist any further.


15/Oct/2020  I requested that they provide a copy of their warranty policy.  They confirmed that they have none and referred to a sentence on their Bill of Sale stating the offer of 3 months warranty on major mechanical issues (see attached).


19/Oct/2020 Given the Ultimatum above, I requested time to get the leaks assessed by a professional mechanic for which, given COVID, availability was limited & that my wife needed a break as frontline NHS COVID staff before the expected winter surge in cases.  We mutually agreed a date of 3/Nov/2020


19/Oct/2020  Visual inspection by Professional Mechanic.  Signs of past coolant leakage, components changed e.g. new radiator, indicating an ongoing unresolved issue (not in writing) recommended further investigation.


26/Oct/2020 Leaks inspected professionally.  Head gasket found to be the issue. Circa £800 + to repair plus split CV boots that would fail a MOT.  Recommended to get Dealer to collect and get full refund.


3/Nov/2020  As agreed, Dealer notified of findings of Mechanic’s investigation and requested for them to collect the car and give full refund.   Dealer refused to collect car & said it needed to be before the 5/Nov/2020 i.e. next day.  I stated that this is not possible nor realistic as they are 96 miles away with no train links and my wife won’t be available to assist until the weekend which is a school day.  I also asked, considering the leaking coolant & oil, who would be responsible and assist in the event of a breakdown?  They declined to assist.  When asked, they said to include the VC5 document, service book & keys.


4/Nov/2020  Car returned to Dealer by car transporter at my expense.  The driver had observed me remove the coolant & 2 water bottles from the car & witnessed me check the car and top up the coolant before his trip. 

He late said that I was lucky not to have a bad accident as the car was dangerous as break fluid had leaked onto his truck and damaged the paint (comment on receipt).  He also stated that he was instructed by the Dealer to take it to their  mechanic nearby who then said that they actually are employed by the people that own the Dealership.


6/Nov/2020  I asked the Dealer for the VC5 number so that I could transfer ownership.  He refused to provide it & demanded that I do not contact the DVLA.  I asked about cancelling the car insurance and he said that I was responsible for the as I was the owner although they have taken possession of it.  I complained that at no time did they explain the process and what my responsibilities were. He did not comment.


7/Nov/2020  Insurance company stated that I should cancel the insurance policy for my protection.


7/Nov/2020  Called DVLA, they recommended that I send a letter to them stating the date of the return of the car to the Dealer and their address.  Letter sent today with copy of transport receipt – copy attached.


11/Nov/2020  Received Legal Letter accusing me of negligence and stating that I wish for our Client to repair the Vehicle when I clearly stated that I have hadn’t & that I returned the vehicle in acceptance of their offer of a full refund.


All of the above is from our WHatsApp communication – copy of transcript attached.



1.     The car was bought in good faith with a 3 month warranty having been “checked” by the Dealer & their mechanic who passed an MOT & reportedly their in-house car check.


2.     The leak existed prior to the purchase of the vehicle but I did not expect to look for such defects as I’m not a mechanic especially as it did not show on the ground.  The only indication was when the low level warning light and alarm came on later on and the Car dealer informed.


3.     The Dealer accepted the warranty repair then rescinded the offer in lieu of a Full Refund


4.     The Dealer at no time explained my rights or what was explained at any part of the process even though requested to.  I am not a lawyer or a car dealer so am not expected to know the clauses of referred to in the lawyer’s letter except that the fault was acknowledged by the Dealer as a warranty repair within 2 weeks which is well within the 3 months warranty promised and did not supply details at the point of sale nor refer the clause in small print in his bill of sale or when requested later on which he then reneged on. He said it came with the warranty stated and I took him at his word.


5.     There is a coolant leak so the tank would obviously become empty over time.  The tank was filled as usual before its delivery to the Dealer on a flat bed truck using a car transport service, they can testify to that. 


6.     At no time was the car run without coolant.  The car is fitted with a water level sensor which is a big red symbol in the middle of the dash board with a continuous loud sound.  The reservoir was filled before, after & during any use and, as such, never over heated at any stage.  The temperature gauge was constantly in the middle of its range.  Photos have been supplied showing 1 bottle of coolant & 2 bottles of water in the front passenger’s foot well.


7.     The location of the leak could not be easily determined by Skoda or Best Auotcare initially on visual inspection because there was no obvious sign of leaks or puddles under the car except the drop in the coolant level so this signified something more serious from the offset which was found to be the cylinder head gasket on full investigation when available. Please bear in mind that all this is happening during very unusual conditions of a COVID pandemic were families & businesses are struggling.


8.     The dealership is nearly 100 miles away (2 ½ hr drive) from our home so some heavier mileage was inevitable from the start.


9.     We are a working family who have to do shopping & do school runs so some mileage is expected especially when the coolant levels were carefully managed awaiting investigation.  At no time did the Dealer tell us to stop driving the car and they expected us to drive the car back to the garage to repair the issue (later to return it for full refund).  They also, expected us to drive the car back 100 miles & refused to collect even though I raised it as a concern.  I had to engage a car transport company at my expense at short notice under threat.


10.  The dealer unilaterally rescinded their obligation to repair the vehicle within warranty with an accepted warranty repair and offered us a full refund which we needed time to assess. We did so within the agreed time & returned the vehicle safely with coolant at the start of the journey using a car transport service flat bed truck within the time (unreasonable at best) given by the dealer.


11.  It’s the Mechanic’s view that previous work was done to the vehicle to address the coolant loss as there were new parts in the engine compartment relating to the cooling system  e.g. new radiator, but fell short of doing the head gasket.


12.  The MOT passed 2 items [Split CV boots] that 2 Mechanics judge that should have failed an MOT and noted issues with the brakes that weren’t listed as advisories [See attached reports]


Considering all of the above and the communication trail between us & the Dealer, we dispute the allegations & do not accept any negligence especially under the conditions of an unprecedented global pandemic


so based on the above facts and how we were treated as a honourable customer, we feel strongly that we were clearly being taken advantage of which seemed to be their plan from early on.  As such, we cannot as a matter of principle accept the terms placed before us by their legal team.


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I'm astonished at this disgraceful story where hearing. What's the name of the person you are dealing with at the dealers? Also I believe that you said that you received a solicitor's letter? Which solicitors?

Where is the car now?

I asked you to tell us by how much are you out of pocket and you haven't answered as far as I can see

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Also you had better read some of our used car buying advice https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/393-general-consumer-tips-and-guidance/ although it's a bit late now

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4/Nov/2020  Car returned to Dealer by car transporter at my expense. Dvla VC5 transferred. See notes above.  Yes they are still in possession and monday Lawyers4U sent a letter stated that since the VISA debit card disputes team rejected my claim, they rescinded their offer of the value £3,495 less their full estimated repair cost of £1,448.48 plus £200 "goodwill" and demanded that I remove the car in 14 days or face daily storage fees.


- Skoda Health check free

- Mechanic felt sorry for me so didn't charge Investigation fee.  

- To return the vehicle cost £200.  

- And an amount to be claimed for all the stress & inconvenience caused.


Defects as reported by Skoda Healthcheck & investigation by Mechanic :

- Broken Head gasket & cylinder head - their estimate to fix £1448.48

- Both Outer CV boots split (MOT failure)  £356.54

- Rear discs heavily lipped require replacement £254.09

- OS/R brake binding, check caliper when replacing brakes £??

- Oil staining around engine - related to head gasket

- Rear indicators going white £8.78


Items due according to Skoda:

- Brake fluid change £60

- AC service / recharge £139

- Cambelt £549

- Haldex oil £79.27

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Okay, I think you are being badly mucked around and I'm sorry that you run along with it. We can help you take control and put an end to this being led around by the nose.

I would like to see the legal letter which you have received. Just out of curiosity and for a laugh.

You should understand that you're not dealing with the real firm of lawyers here, just some service that is prepared to send out letters to make you frightened.

You are going to have to issue legal proceedings on this. It may be that once they realise you're serious and you send the letter of claim that they may fall into line – but it is extremely unlikely. This means that if you decide to send the letter of claim giving them 14 days notice of a legal action, then on day 15 you must kick off the claim. If you don't carry out the threat then you may as well give up and walk away.

On the basis of what you tell us, your chances of success in a claim are much better than 95% and of course you will recover the cost of your claim as well. If for some remote reason which we don't understand, you lose then you will simply lose your court costs – and nothing else.

Also I think that a complaint should be made against the finance company because they are clearly in breach of their statutory obligations. However, it seems to me the best thing to do is to start off against the dealer.

I asked you if they are still try to charge you storage fees – and you haven't replied.

Let us know if you would like to take control and if you are prepared to take legal action. If you are not sure what this means then you should read up the steps involved in taking a small claim in the County Court. It's very easy. We will help you – but you are best off understanding the steps so that you have a measure of confidence and also that we are not dragging you around and spoon feeding you all the way.

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Hi .  Thanks for for your time & trying to help.


I have answered the query "I asked you if they are still try to charge you storage fees – and you haven't replied". As above, they've had the car since 4/Nov/2020 & the threat is for storage within 14 days from date of letter of 8th March 2021 to collect the car and withdrawing their offer repayment less full repair costs as detailed above.   


I'm happy to start a moneyclaim as they have exhausted & bullied their way through the process & refused my offer to settle which is required by the court process.


I am concerned about GDPR by attaching the letter so will have to edit it out contact details etc. 


Looking forward to your assistance whilst I start compiling my evidence.


Thanks again

Email Legal Solutions 4U GDPR_1.pdf

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We'll have a look at the letter and get back to you very soon. However don't worry about GDPR. It doesn't affect you. It only affects companies which collect data as part of their business. However, it is worthwhile redacting your own personal details from anything you post

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I've read the letter.

Of course this is a "legal service" which works for [read: – serves] the used car profession trade. You wouldn't expect anything else.

Actually apart from being mainly nonsense, the content of the letter actually makes several admissions which will help you if this goes to a hearing. They won't have realised it, and I'll explain more as we go through the process once you have issued proceedings.

The fact is, that the consumer rights act – requires that any item you buy should be a satisfactory quality and should remain that way for a reasonable period of time.

Clearly the vehicle you have bought is not a satisfactory quality and so therefore the dealer is in breach of contract.

The second thing is that there are two kinds of breaches. There are fundamental breaches – which are serious and go to the heart of the contract and deprive you of the purpose/benefit of the contract.

The second kind of breach is a minor breach – and in law it's known as a "breach of warranty" (I have no idea why).

It seems clear to me that the car has completely broken down and therefore there has been a fundamental breach of contract and that entitles you to treat the contract as voided by their breach.

They point to the fact that it had no coolant and you drove it without any coolant.
Your answer to this is that you have no professional knowledge. You had no idea that this could impact on the vehicle and you acted reasonably throughout. Had you known about the danger of running without the coolant – or if you had realised the extent of the leakage then you would not different.

Therefore, the coolant leakage – being there responsibility – quite naturally led to the entire breakdown of the vehicle. In other words the breakdown of vehicle was a natural consequence of their original breach.

Please let me know if you have any difficulty understanding this argument.

The next thing to do is to take control and I would suggest a single letter to them rejecting their position and telling them that you want a refund of everything – cost of the vehicle and any other ancillary expenses such as the delivery costs.

I would suggest that this letter should be a simple letter that doesn't make any threats – but if after say, seven days, there is I that no response or a rejection – then you issue a 14 day letter of claim and you sue them on day 15.

If you do see them then you should sue them for all of your losses and also interest calculated from the date of the breach – which is the date that you noticed the leak in the coolant.

Please let me know what you think about this.

Have you taken a legal action in the County Court before?

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Thanks for this.  I have done a money claim against a tenant before 8 years ago so am vaguely familiar with the process.


The mechanic I used to get an independent view reported that there were signs of something more that the vehicle already came with.  I attached his statement. & an official letter I sent to Avon following some research.


I would need some help with the claim statement which is only 3 - 4 lines according to money claim guidance.  



Letter to Dealer 2020-Nov-17 GDPR.pdf Statement Best Autocentres 2020-Nov-27 GDPR.pdf

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Excellent. You had all of this sorted – and yet you let them dominate the situation. I really don't understand why.

Did the engineers report cost you anything?

Because this correspondence is so old – I suggest that you follow my advice and you sent the letter which I have suggested.

Refer them to your original letter of November 17. Refer them to the report from autocentres – and maybe include a copy of it with your letter.

Tell them that you want a refund of all your money – including fees et cetera.

As I said, I don't think it's worth making any threats at this point. I'm sure they will ignore you or simply reject – but at least it looks good that you have given them a chance. Then in about 7 to 10 days, send the letter of claim.

I suggest that you post up your draft letter of claim here before you posted.

I suggest also that you post up a draft particulars of claim here before you click it off. You're quite right – that it should be short. You do have an opportunity to send a more detailed particulars of claim after you have issued the proceedings – but we always suggest that you don't. We always suggest that you give the minimum amount of information – simply enough to show that you have a cause of action – and then wait for their defence which no doubt will be pretty detailed and will give you lots of clues as to what they are going to say – although their letter to you probably has already done that.

If you want you can post a draft of your initial letter here as well.

Let's get going, they've much you around long enough.

Be very careful that you are suing them in the correct name. It would be a great shame to get a judgement against them and then to find that you had sued the incorrect name or the incorrect address and that you then are unable to enforce the judgement.

Your chances of winning are pretty well guaranteed. The only thing you need to be careful about is enforcing the judgement because although they seem to be well established, sometimes these companies can become very slippery when they have bailiffs looking for them.

Because this claim is more than £600, then once you get your judgement – as you surely will – we will put the sheriffs in – High Court Enforcement Officers who will carry out a no-nonsense enforcement. Much more powerful than bailiffs

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Thanks very reassuring.   


The mechanic didn't charge as he felt sorry for me and didn't like that they tried to do that but he really didn't want to do a statement so I wrote it how he wanted and got him to sign.


I've checked the company on Companies House to see if there was a link between them & the company that did the estimate.  Nothing obvious.  


Besides the stress emotionally & financially on the whole family, I just can't let them continue to victimise people.  They have obviously done this before.

Edited by Sc0ut
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Ignore their timeline. It's you who are making the rules now. It's you who are setting the timelines.

The sympathetic engineer who helped to the report has done you a great favour. There is no reason why he shouldn't be paid. I should go back to him and asking to give you an invoice for the cost of the report – dated the same as the report.

Make sure it is marked something like "waiting payment – I look forward to being paid for this as soon as possible".

We will add it to the claim.

That means that in the letter that you sent Avon, you must list out the costs which you have incurred – and also the cost of the engineer's report.

Make sure you get the invoice for this first before you send the letter.



By the way, have we seen something from Avon in which they attempt to impose this 14 day deadline?


Also, have you taken into consideration any wasted insurance costs et cetera?

Also, have you incurred any extra transport costs?

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Amazing you have the time .... thanks so much.  As you say, its been a long time suffering.


Attached is my WhatsApp transcript with the dealer.  Kept changing the goalposts & offers made with a "take it or leave it" approach.  Carefully walking a tight legal line.

WhatsApp Transcript 2020-Dec-11 GDPR.pdf

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Well I'm sorry but I'm not going to go through that lot.

Please will you simply put up the sentence or few sentences where you are threatened with this timeline.

Also, let's not hang around please. Draft your initial letter and post it up here.

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Still waiting for their extract containing the deadline threat.

Also you haven't addressed my question about wasted insurance costs or whether you have had to pay anything extra for transport.

It would really help if you would respond to these posts with the same level of rapidity that I am putting them to you.

It's your car, your mess – and your money that we are trying to get back for you, after all

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We have our homes and our lives too – but thank you. I'll have a look at the summary that you have done

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Thanks for this resume. That was very useful.

It seems that they were doing the right thing up until the point where they insisted that returning the vehicle to them should be done at your cost. This was completely wrong. They were in breach of contract and they were responsible for that and all associated expenses.

As I said above, I think you should write a letter which lists the issues with the vehicle and also points to the fact that they insisted on the vehicle being returned to them at your cost and this itself was a further breach of contract.

I think you should also make sure that the letter highlights the way in which they attempted to impose their own timeline for returning the vehicle despite the fact that it is they who were at fault, despite the fact that you had your own domestic commitments and despite the overwhelming problem of the pandemic.

As well as the list of issues with the vehicle, include a list of the other expenses which have been incurred and then tell them that you are looking to them to reimburse you £XXX.

You may as well include the cost of the inspection – if you can get the invoice for that as I have suggested. However, I gather that you may have carried out the investigation before informing the other side and before warning them of the possible cost. From that point of view, you should certainly try to claim it – but you should be prepared to give that particular expense up because normally you would have wanted to have incurred that cost after they started to raise their objections and so you felt that it was necessary to confirm the faults in the face of their non-cooperation.

Anyway that's how them that it should be drafted.

If you'd like to prepare there and then post it up here so we can have a look. You could of course turn into a letter of claim and threaten legal action straightaway – but in view of the passage of time since the last serious communication between you and also their so-called legal letter, I suggest that a simple letter laying out the problems and what you want will be the best way.

I'm sure it won't produce any result and so you should draft a letter of claim ready to post off in about 7 days to 10 days.


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Possible particulars of claim:



The claimant bought a XXX car registration XXX from the defendant car dealer. Within weeks the car displayed serious faults and an investigation revealed further serious defects. The defendant is aware of the defects. The car is not a satisfactory quality. The defendant insisted that the claimant return the car at his own expense – which the claimant eventually did. The defendant refuses to reimburse the claimant for the cost of the car and associated costs and losses. The claimant seeks £XXX [cost of the car], £XXX car transporter cost, £XXX cost of independent engineers report – total £XXX plus interest plus costs.


Obviously there are things you may want to add or correct, but this is broadly speaking the kind of brevity you are looking for. Although it's early days, I expect that you will have to issue proceedings and so we may as well get this sorted out.
Your letter of claim on the other hand should be reasonably detailed – but listed – and a minimum of narrative.

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"they insisted on the vehicle being returned to them at your cost and this itself was a further breach of contract."   What is actually stated in their bill of sale is "When exercising rights, the terms of this agreement are that the vehicle is returned to Avon Sales".  Can we still claim this?



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Absolutely. The car had to be returned to them because of their own breach of contract. It's outrageous that they wanted you to pay for it – and it's outrageous that they tend to include a term of the contract that suggest that you should bear the cost of returning the vehicle.

The contractual term which you are referring to – anyway simply says that the vehicle should be returned to the dealer. That seems reasonable enough – and it wouldn't need to be made a term of the contract – but what that term doesn't say is who is responsible for getting the car back to the dealer and who should pay for it.


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I have to say that the story is a bit convoluted – and I don't always get the time to go through it and understand thoroughly the sequence of events.

So what I gather is:

  • You bought a car – it demonstrates some faults
  • you had the car examined by a mechanic and the faults were confirmed and new faults identified
  • you contacted the dealer and they told you to return it to them but it would have to be at your own costs
  • you eventually did return it to them that they then claimed that the car suffered damage because of the way you had handled it before the return
  • they have offered to refund you the price of the car – less the cost of the repair of the damage which they claim you caused
  • they have also declined to refund you the cost of the transportation of the vehicle to them.

Is this correct?

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