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Netherton Car Sales sells vehicle with serious fault and ‘warranty’ but refuses to fix


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Hi all

 

I bought a vehicle in August of last year from the above dealer for £1700. As it came with a ‘3 month warranty’ and ‘no nasty surprises inside or out’ I foolishly thought I had nothing to lose...

 

After a few days, I noticed there was something amiss with the automatic gearbox. I took it to a local garage who drove it and told me there was nothing unusual - this was because they drove it up and down an A-road and didn’t recreate the conditions under which the issues manifest. Having carried on driving it, I knew something was amiss - the car would make a massive ‘thump’ when driving uphill and changing down, and jump forward when changing up. It’s actually quite dangerous in my view.

 

I did some research and apparently this is a fault which requires expensive repair to the gearbox (valve body replacement) and normally leads people to scrap these cars as being ‘beyond economic repair’; 

I took it to a Volvo specialist who confirmed this was the issue and it would cost £1300 to fix (and even then this might not remedy it).

There were other issues with the vehicle also - non-standard tyres, non-functioning heater, leaking screenwash tank, dodgy suspension that I imagine will fail when it’s taken to an honest MoT tester. 

 

I contacted the garage within the period of the so-called warranty and thought I was being ‘reasonable’ by only asking them to remedy the expensive issue - the gearbox, and they became aggressive/abusive.

I asked them for a copy of the terms of the warranty and they said they only cover breakages and wear and tear isn’t covered.

 

I then went to my bank who did a chargeback on the basis that the warranty was misrepresented at the point of sale. 

 

During this time, my mental health was pretty terrible (wasn’t all of ours in the midst of the pandemic?) so I was struggling quite badly with anxiety, but I did my best because I was pretty sure I was in the right and had been deliberately sold a lemon.

 

However, I didn’t properly understand the need to return the vehicle, and wasn’t sure how I could manage to transport it the 60 miles to them in the middle of a pandemic, and expected them to be aggressive and abusive in any case and refuse receipt of the car (I am pretty sure they would have done this, to be fair).

 

Several weeks later, I got a letter from my bank - they did the chargeback on the basis that the company had sold the car with a warranty that was non-existent (and misrepresented the goods).

They sent me a copy of the correspondence, that had been had with the car dealer in February.

 

The chargeback was reversed following correspondence between the dealer’s bank and themselves on the basis that I hadn’t returned the vehicle, but also I found out some interesting information:

 

1) That in the course of the correspondence the garage had been asked for a copy of the warranty - all they provided was a copy of the invoice with ‘3 months warranty’ written on it - they never provided the terms of the warranty even at this stage.

2) Because the correspondence from the dealer’s perspective had to be in the name of the bank account holder, it turns out that all the correspondence they had with me had to that point had been under pseudonyms. The real name of the dealer led me to some news online that he had been taken to court by Trading Standards and convicted in 2013 at Magistrates Court of:

  • fabricating a vehicle’s service history and claiming a vehicle had come to him from a main dealer when it had in fact come from an auction.
  • advertising a car with a false mileage indication as it had been fitted with a replacement odometer, which the customer was not told about.
  • failed to tell the consumer that there were advisories on MOT certificates relating to worn brake pads and discs.

 

Now (wrongly in hindsight) I decided to FoI the local trading standards department, and asked them to provide me information on the six or so different car dealer companies he seems to be involved in and what action had been taken against him/them.

When I saw that he was a serial scammer who seems to hide behind a range of car dealer ’names’ I thought I could build a case.

They took a whole two months to reply and finally said they are exempt from providing this information.

 

I have also now sent a DPA request to the DVLA to find out more information about the vehicle and try and ascertain if there is anything that would show previous ownership that would enable me to see who it was sold to them by, and whether the fault was mentioned.

 

I am pretty sure he is a serial scammer / conman. His m.o. seems to be - buy cars cheaply at auction, cover up/don’t mention faults, sell them with a ‘warranty’ at premium price, and then launches a barrage of aggression/abuse at anyone who tries to claim on it.

But I am unsure what tack to take in terms of court action.

I am happy to take him to court but would appreciate some guidance as to what I would contend.

 

Thanks in advance for reading this far - I realise that what I have done to date may not be ideal, and at the time my mental health was terrible - but I am just an ordinary guy trying to get on in the world, it’s him who scammed me at the end of the day.

 

I am feeling completely well now though, and even if I don’t stand much chance of success, I can and will warn others that he’s a scammer if nothing else.

 

 

 

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Thank you.

Please could you set out a timeline of events.

Keep it brief – but I'm especially interested in the chargeback dates.

Also was there any correspondence with you about the reversal before it happened?

And also – although you probably realise it now – it was a fatal mistake not to return the vehicle once you had your money back.

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Thanks so much for your prompt replies and interest- I will do the timeline later today as it will take me a bit of time to piece it together.

 

Regarding the chargeback -

I didn’t get my money back as such, no money ever appeared in my account. I didn’t know it had even been (momentarily) successful until I received a letter from my bank in February showing that they had done it and then the dealer had argued against it with their bank and got it over-turned.

 

I was a bit surprised that my bank were unable to communicate with me about the progress of it until this point? If I had known they had managed to put through the chargeback I would have returned the vehicle of course

 

(notwithstanding the fact that they would probably have been aggressive/abusive and refused receipt - not sure how you can *make* someone take a vehicle???).  

 

But I only got the full picture, including the correspondence with the dealer and their bank when my bank wrote to me to say they had ultimately failed in February - is this normal practice?

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Firstly, please could you be a little bit more careful about spacing and punctuating your post correctly. It is especially difficult to read for people with small screens and you need to make your responses as accessible as possible in order to encourage enthusiastic help.

I had understood from your previous post that despite the fact that they had repaid you your money, you hadn't returned the vehicle. What you have explained above is far more reasonable and it is something we can deal with.

I think that you should send an SAR to your bank. Do it straight away.

You have referred to various company names or trading names from these people and also a conviction.

Please can you provide a list of the names and any links. Also please can you provide a link to the conviction.

You also referred to correspondence which the your bank apparently had with the dealer and their bank. Please could you post up in PDF format. Single file multipage

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Here are the details of the conviction:

 

Quote

A LYE car salesman has landed a court bill of £8,000 after pleading guilty to falsely describing cars he was selling from his business.

Stephen Hickman, sole director of Seymour Motor Company Limited in Dudley Road, Lye, appeared before Dudley Magistrates Court last Thursday (November 21).

Dudley Council’s trading standards brought the prosecution against Hickman, aged 52, who admitted making false statements in advertisements relating to the description of motor vehicles offered for sale by his company.

 

https://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/news/10835293.lye-car-salesman-gets-hefty-court-bill/

 

These are the various company names I think he uses or has used:

 

 1. SEYMOUR MOTOR COMPANY LIMITED (04735862)

2. DS MOTORS LTD (STOURBRIDGE) LIMITED (10759958)

3. D S MOTORS (LYE) LTD (10221611)

4. The Car Lot, 205 - 215 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley

5. LV Cars 205 - 215 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley

6. Netherton Car Sales, 205 - 215 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley

7. Steve's Autos, 205 - 215 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley

8. Autoswift Ltd, 205 - 215 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley

 

In my dealings with him Ive seen Netherton Car Sales and Steves Autos both used.

 

I have scanned all 12 pages of the letter into a PDF but

a) some of the pages are blurred due to essentially being a scan of a printout of a scan (though I do have originals of some of those documents)

b) there is a fair amount of personal information such as my address which I would be reluctant to post in a public forum - is it possible to send that privately please? Otherwise I could go and black those bits out but it will take me some time.

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Yes. You should redact identifiers from your scanned documents.

Are we certain that we are talking about Stephen Hickman? And it's the same one?

 

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Posted (edited)

Yes - because in the correspondence concerning the chargeback they sign off the emails ‘Stephen Hickman and Nina Hickman’, so unless there’s another Stephen Hickman who lives in that area who is married to someone called Nina and is a car dealer I am certain that it’s him.

 

He hides behind pseudonyms otherwise - he calls himself ‘Steve Jones’ and his wife calls herself ‘Sarah Jones’ in the emails to that point. 

 

See his reply to a review that someone left on Google where he denies that he is even the same person and that his name is in fact Steve Jones 😅

 

Screenshot 2021-04-29 at 8.47.49 am.png

Edited by Cybernoid
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Thanks.

Clearly you have a good basis for a County Court claim against this person – and your chances of winning are extremely high. The problem will be about enforcing the judgement. I see that there is an address for the garage, but do you know that it is actually an address where there is stock or assets which belong to the dealer?
I understand that this vehicle has been sold to you by a private trader – not a limited liability company – in which case if you can identify his personal assets such as a home, then you could enforce against that.
Any chance that you have a residential address for him?

The second thing you could do is you can challenge the chargeback.
I understand that the bank didn't correspond with you at all when deciding to reverse the chargeback although they were apparently in correspondence with the dealer and with the dealers bank. Is this correct?
Have you had any access to any of this correspondence?
 

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Posted (edited)

I have a residential address which I found after some sleuthing earlier this year - not sure if it is still current, however.

 

Regarding the chargeback, yes you are correct - he corresponded with the dealer and his bank but not with me. He made some untrue statements in the correspondence I can see in over-turning the chargeback also.

 

When I get some time later I will go and redact the personal info from it and upload if it helps?

Edited by Cybernoid
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I don't quite understand. You say "he" corresponding with the dealer. I thought "he" was the dealer.

In terms of the address that you have found, do a search on the land registry web search site and you will find out if the property is owned by him. It will cost you a small fee but if it turns out that it is owned by him then it will be excellent news

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, when I said he I meant the person dealing with the chargeback.

 

I know this might sound a bit creepy (but as you might tell I was very angry). But I spent several hours doing some sleuthing earlier in the year - I found him on Facebook and his background picture is some cars on his drive (and the houses and trees in the background correspond exactly to the address when put into Google Maps Street View), so I am almost certain the address is correct, unless he has moved recently. 

Edited by Cybernoid
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It's important that you do a land registry search.

Also, I still don't really understand what you mean by "the person dealing with the chargeback".

What I'm desperately trying to find out is whether your bank has been in discussions with them – but not with you.

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Sorry I didn’t explain myself very well. It was my bank. Ignore that bit.

 

Ok, I’ll do a land registry search. Thanks for your guidance so far, I really do appreciate it. 

 

This has caused me a lot of upset and anger and there’s no reason why people like him should be able to get away with doing this to people. Local Trading Standards didn’t want to know.

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So I understand that your bank has been having discussions with the dealer and with his bank – but not with you. Is this correct?

Have you got any details of those discussions?

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Sorry, I mis-spoke. I didn’t really mean that, please do ignore. I didn’t mean to mislead, I’m communicating on here while caring for my mother and working at the same time. Probably best that I wait until I can give it my full attention, apologies.

 

I have a copy of the correspondence which I can redact and upload later. It seems to consist of the dealer making representations to his bank. 

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Yes please I think it would be worthwhile seeing a redacted copy of any discussions which have been held by your bank with them. Please post them up in PDF format. Single file multipage

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please accept my apologies, I had to go away for several days for a funeral, and had no access to a computer. I have attached a redacted PDF

 

Some things to note.

  • This is a copy of what was sent to me through the post, which I have then scanned at the highest DPI I can.
  • Some of the documents were clearly already printed and scanned before they were printed out and sent to me so they have degraded significantly- this isn't something I can do about, sorry.
  • I do have originals of some of the documents which are referred to, should they be of any use.

 

  • Steve Hickman tells several outright lies in the document, which is why I was surprised I had no right of reply.
  • I am able to detail each of these lies in turn and back it up with evidence, including things that I am supposed to have said, but didn't, or things that he is supposed to have said, but didn't.
  • Why Nationwide wouldn't allow me to challenge Mr Hickman's lies and that the eventual decision was based on a set of untruths from Mr Hickman seems a bit one-sided? 
  • Returning the vehicle on the offchance that the chargeback would be successful, in the middle of a pandemic with difficulties getting back from the site did not seem logical at the time (they would have no doubt shouted threats and abuse and refused to take it, of that I am sure).

 

  • One of the key things I asked for was a copy of the terms of the warranty, and this is something which is also asked for during the chargeback.
  • To this day, they have never provided a copy of the warranty - just some vague illiterate waffle about 'ware and tare' (sic).
  • Despite being asked for the warranty, all they provide in the chargeback correspondence is a copy of the invoice with '3 months warranty' written on it.
  • There is no warranty. As far as I can tell, the 'warranty' consists of Mr Hickman hurling threats and abuse at anyone who gets in touch to report a problem with their car.
  • The 'warranty' was one of the reasons I bought the vehicle, at dealer prices.

 

I am grateful. as always, for any advice that people are able to provide please.

 

 

Scan chargeback letter Volvo REDACTED05.pdf

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Good morning everyone

 

I thought it would be worth mentioning my next intended step to see if anyone thinks it is a good idea please?

 

As Nationwide’s letter seemed to have an air of finality about it, I didn’t think I was in a position to challenge it, even though I can see several lies have been told by the other party. So my next step I guess will be to write to them setting out the evidence from my side.

 

Does this seem like the best course of action at this time?

 

Has anyone else been successful in getting a chargeback decision over-turned like this? Is there a time-limit for doing so?

 

By the way, one thing I didn’t mention - there is an error in the letter above from Nationwide - the time of the incident is not April 2020, I do not know why they put that, as the car was not even in my possession until August.

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I'm trying to look through the PDF which you posted above relating to the chargeback.

A lot of the documents in that file are pretty well unreadable and I don't know if this is because of a poor quality original or a poor quality scan.

Please can you let us know

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Thanks for the reply, I think I explained in the post I made yesterday that the letter which was posted to me by Nationwide obviously consists of printed copies of scans, which I have then scanned at the highest DPI available.

 

I can try scanning it again but the quality of the original is so poor in places I don’t think it will make any difference.The quality of the original is already poor. There isn’t anything I can do about that, sorry.

 

That being said, the documents which have degraded significantly I do have originals of - so I could scan those to get clearer copies. Again this is something I did say I could do in my earlier post I think :-)

 

The documents which are scanned and printed into oblivion that are probably illegible are:

 

  • The bill of sale from Netherton Car Sales
  • The V5
  • The report from a Volvo Specialist

 

All of which I can scan and include as separate attachments. Substituting them into the document (rather than just uploading them) to keep the integrity of my document might be beyond my Adobe Acrobat skills - the redaction took me a very long time in itself. But if that is what is required I can try?

 

Thanks for your time, it is appreciated. 

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Yes please. Please could you put together a file of documents as legible as possible. Those which you can't replace with legible versions, simply include the illegible ones so that we can see what you have got and what needs replacing.

Then I think a complaint to nationwide about the quality of the documents they have given you.

How did you get these documents? Did you send them an SAR?

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No this was the letter that Nationwide sent me earlier in the year - the PDF is a scan of the ‘judgement letter’ or whatever you might call it, which includes:

  • ‘evidence’ (i.e. copies of documents)
  • correspondence between Mr Hickman and his bank,
  • correspondence between his bank and mine - saying the chargeback is invalid

 

The three documents I have for the following reasons:

  • The bill of sale was provided to me by the garage when I bought the vehicle
  • The V5 I was sent by the DVLA
  • The report from the Volvo specialist was given to me when I took the car to them.

The reason they had them is because I provided them to the chargeback team at Nationwide when I originally raised the chargeback, I did not submit an SAR. As far as I can see I already have all the information Nationwide have relating to the chargeback, and an SAR would not yield further.

 

This is not an insurmountable problem, I was just saying I think it might be beyond my ability in Acrobat to keep everything as single document by substituting in more legible copies of certain page BUT I will have a go.

 

If not, I can annotate the original to point to the cleaner copies. I will try that later this morning :) 

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