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Second hand car problems - scotland


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Sometimes people tell me that I should 'take action' about a situation when in my gut, I feel that there is little that I can do but just to get some peace, I look into it - and so it is with this.

In July, I bought a second hand 16 plate Ford Fiesta from a seller whose Gumtree profile lists them as a trader. I had no transport and the car was about 50 miles away but the seller offered to bring it to show me. I took it out for a drive (the fifteen minute run which your second hand car guide advises against relying on) and it seemed okay - my previous car was a fiesta and so it felt familiar. It was advertised as having an MoT until March 2024 and a timing belt and water pump change in December 2022 - this was painted on the cover under the bonnet. I offered £500 under the asking price of £5,000 which was accepted and I paid by bank transfer (another no-no I know).

The first time I went out in it, I got a TPMS warning. It was possible to reset the warning and then I got another 20 miles or so before i got another warning. I took it to a local tyre company who informed me that three sensors were dead. They didn't actually supply sensors so I had to buy some online before going back to have them fitted and on my way there, I got a warning saying 'Engine Service Now' with spanner and stability lights. I OK'ed the warning and got the sensors fitted. I didn't get the 'Engine Service Now' warning again but wasn't driving very far - maybe only 50 miles - before I went to visit family about 250 miles away and on the way there got the warning again so took it to a friend of my sister who is a mechanic and did a standard engine service, changing fluids etc. and checking the error codes via OBD2 which he said were mainly battery related. Great, I thought. Sorted.

However, on my way home, maybe five miles onto the motorway, the 'Engine Service Now' warning came on again, this time with the spanner, stability and engine lights. When I got home, I booked it into a local garage (they had a two week backlog which I took as a good sign) but when they phoned me to report their findings, they said that it looked like there was a problem with the timing belt and asked whether they should go ahead with checking it out fully informing me that it could be quite a few hours work at £60 per hour + parts. I agreed but when they phoned to say that it was ready, they asked if I was sitting down before they gave me the cost - £726 inc VAT.

When I picked the car up, I was shown video that they had taken of the timing belt which was quite loose and needed changing again - it is a major service job which should be done about every 100,000 miles or ten years depending on the car - not twice in a year. They also told me that the coolant system needed repairing as it was leaking but that wasn't urgent so could wait (I have it booked in for next week) but that would be about another £200. Whilst the car felt okay when I took it out for a test drive (very much like my old Fiesta), the difference in it now is remarkable.

In total, I will have had to spend about £1,200.

The mechanics at both garages have said that I could take action to recover the cost of the repairs but I wouldn't know how. However, it seems pretty clear that cycling the ignition temporarily clears the warnings and so it would be pretty easy for a seller to mask errors (they switched the engine off and handed me the keys when they arrived) unless a buyer were to take a long drive - I don't see how the seller could drive it 50 miles without the warnings coming on. Furthermore, the likelihood of three TPMS sensors failing simultaneously must be pretty slim.

Anyway, I'm not expecting to be able to do anything about this but I just wanted to be able to say that I have sought advice.

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The first thing you could do is to tell us the name of the dealer.

Unless you feel that you want to protect them

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I don't feel the need to protect them but I only have their personal name which might be considered doxing. They described themselves as a trader rather than a dealer - in my head, I see a trader as an individual and a dealer as a company. However, on Gumtree, they use the name 'Gold'.

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That's all right. Give their personal name. It is all helpful to other people who have the same problems.

Meet may also be the other people will recognise it and will join this thread and contribute to the support we are giving to you

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Okay, but one last question beforehand because I haven't done anything about this; i.e. I haven't even mentioned the problems to the seller - I thought I would ask if I had any legal rights to back me up before I contacted them and give them the opportunity to put things right if I did.

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Okay, and appreciated that you haven't even contacted the seller.

In that case I suggest that you make a list of the errors that you have found and send the seller a gentle email – not conflictual, not aggressive – but simply pointing them out and explained that the errors were there when the car was bought and you would like him to deal with them.
I fully expect that the dealer will either not answer all be completely uncooperative – but let us know what happens and if the dealer is not helpful then post all the details about them.

In terms of your rights – your rights are easy. If you buy a car which manifests defects in the first six months then the dealer is entitled to be given one opportunity to repair failing which you would then be entitled to insist on a refund or a replacement at your option.

In any event, you are entitled to purchase a vehicle which is of satisfactory quality and remains that way for a reasonable period of time. People come and tell you that you have to show that the defect was there the time of purchase that in fact that is not what is said in any statute. That is an urban myth.
If you purchase a car for £5000 then you should certainly expect it to run without any significant issues for a year or two I would have thought.

Certainly a vehicle purchased in July should be running without any issues now.

Those are your rights.

Enforcing a rights is a completely different matter. If the dealer chooses to be uncooperative then you will probably have to sue the dealer. You will win – that part is easy. But then you have to enforce the judgement and if the dealer was to be slippery and either liquidate his company and start a new one – called Phoenixing – then he will probably be able to avoid judgement. If he is able to show that he has no assets then he will be able to avoid judgement.
If he is not trading as a limited liability company then you stand a better chance particularly if you can identify his home address and he owns his own home.

But let's to each bit at a time. Send the general letter which I have suggested and let's see. I would wait too long if I were you. Send it by email and if you don't get a response within five days or so then come back here

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Thanks for the advice and information.

I don't actually have an e-mail address for the seller - all contact was via Gumtree and phone. However, when I was trying to get a lift to go and look at it, they gave me their home address. My feeling is that I should contact them via a method already used as to shift gear (no pun intended) to a more formal method might be regarded as an aggressive move.

Should I wait until the car has been in for the other job? It goes in on Monday and I expect it back either Monday or Tuesday.

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I think you should send the message to their home address.

Also you could have a look at the land registry records to see if they own that address.

It will cost about three quid but they will be money well spent

SEARCH-PROPERTY-INFORMATION.SERVICE.GOV.UK

 

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I'm in Scotland so it is a different register but the same fee.

By the way, earlier you said:

'Enforcing a rights is a completely different matter. If the dealer chooses to be uncooperative then you will probably have to have the dealer.'
 

Would I be right to assume that that should have read  'sue the dealer' or something like that?

Edited by Geronimo1
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  • dx100uk changed the title to Second hand car problems - scotland

Yes, it's my dictation software and I get careless about proofreading what I have posted.

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I waited until the latest job was completed so that I had an up-to-date cost. I have enclosed a redacted draft of my letter - I'd be grateful for any comments.

Curiously (by Google spookiness) although I haven't actually searched for anything on this subject, YouTube recommended this video from Black Belt Barrister who I occasionally watch and who uploaded this 8 days ago:

 

 

Fiesta-Letter-REDACTED-copy.pdf

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Sorry, I overlooked it. I was so engrossed with the video that you posted I got distracted. Obviously your fault!!!

You have said that you purchased the vehicle in July 2013???

I think there is too much narrative.

I think you should start are simply saying when you bought the car – you need to give the registration number et cetera.

Refer to the MOT and the other things claim the listing.

However within the first three months, the following faults have manifested themselves

  • One
  •  
  • Two
  •  
  • Three
  •  
  • Four

blah blah blah

You have attempted the following remedial action:

  • one
  •  
  • Two
  •  
  • Three
  •  
  • Four

and incurred the following expenses

  • £.
  • £.
  • £.


    Don't start talking about whether the faults were there at the time of purchase. Refer to your right to be sold a vehicle which is of satisfactory quality and remains that way for a reasonable period of time and clearly it hasn't.

    I suggest that you prepare draft based on the outline that I have suggested above and post that for us to see

 

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2013 - just a typo. I'm getting old.

The car registration number is in the Re: line at the top but redacted for web publication.

I was under the impression that you had inferred and implied that the faults being present when I bought the car was significant. It was certainly the opinion of the mechanic - he said that the turbo lever was seized in a way that it must have been like that for months if not years and that all the other problems were obviously there when I purchased it and I would have thought that was intrinsic to the argument that I should be sold a car of satisfactory quality.

Having watched the Black Belt Barrister video, I almost referred to Section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 but when writing letters like this, I like to keep my sword sheathed; i.e. give the impression that I am 'armed' (knowing my rights) without actually drawing my 'sword' (quoting chapter and verse) because being belligerent can draw offensive defence.

Anyway, I'll redraft shortly.

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If you can prove definitively that the faults were there at the time of purchased and that is very helpful.

However, if there is any doubt about it then the most important thing is that the car is not of satisfactory quality and hasn't remained that way for a reasonable period of time

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I think that it can be proven by logic but we aren't time travellers.

Three of the TPMS sensors failing the day after I bought it? Pretty obvious.

The turbo actuator was seized and it could be seen that it had not moved for a long time.

The timing belt was loose but had been supposedly changed in December 2022. Either the belt was badly fitted (most likely) or it had stretched (extremely unlikely but wouldn't happen overnight - it happened within two weeks of purchase). Usually, a timing belt should need changing about every 100,000 miles or 8-10 years - not after 8 months. If a timing belt goes, it is usually catastrophic as far as the engine is concerned and would most likely mean the end of the car's life economically.

I think a jury (I'm being hyperbolic) would agree.

Anyway, I have to go out shortly but will work on another draft when I get back.

Edited by Geronimo1
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I have been delayed - not least by the weather. A fallen tree blocked the road on my way to go shopping yesterday and the central heating was causing problems when I got home. I've been trying to find a minute today but it is looking unlikely.

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Okay, well that was like doing homework that I didn't want to do (I had to forego my usual writing style to follow your guidance) and I am under a lot of stress with other consumer problems which I haven't brought up on here but I have uploaded a second draft letter.

I'm going away for a week on Thursday so I am hoping to get a letter fired off before I go.

Fiesta Letter REDACTED 02.pdf

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Okay. The letter is fine. You should send it.

I would advise you to remove the CC Consumer action group.

It is too conflictual at this point.

I understand that you haven't alerted the dealer to any office faults all of the expenses that you incurred until this moment.

You haven't helped yourself by this. The correct way to do it would have been to identify the Faults and to get quotations for the work and then to submit them to the dealer giving them 5 days or so to comment or to object.

The fact that you have apparently collected off these false and then collected off of various bills and are now trying to hit them for it without any notice and without an opportunity for them to discuss or to remedy will complicate things.

However, send the letter. Don't imagine that you will be sending a little claim next week.

As I have said I think that by failing to give notice you have put yourself in a tricky situation and there is likely to be a few exchanges before you can get to the position of claiming.

What will depend on the attitude of the dealer once they have received your letter.

Have you had any proper reports done which will show a professional independent view of the defects which you have discovered?

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Okay, I'll remove the cc. If I have ever taken advice from any kind of body in the past (e.g. CAB/ASAP), I have added them as a cc because it hints that somebody with experience and/or qualifications has advised me.

I get that it would have been better to contact them before getting the work done but the circumstances made that difficult - on one occasion, I was half way down the motorway to visit family and when I came back and was told that it could be a problem with the timing belt - which it was - it wasn't an option to wait and see what the seller says

I would not be able to drive the car until it was fixed because, as I mentioned previously, if the timing belt goes whilst you are driving, that is probably the end of the car, economically speaking. Not to mention that the dealer is about 50 miles away from where I live. I was over a barrel but retrospective vision is 20/20.

No, I haven't had any reports done but I think that the invoices speak for themselves - I haven't got money to fritter away on frivolous repairs.

I'll edit it and have it posted by First Class Signed For and they should have it by Tuesday.

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I think you are wrong in terms of leaving the CC.

I think is far more impressive if it looks as if you are sufficiently powerful to put it together yourself without any support. That is much more scary, in my view.

Regardless of the difficulty of the circumstances, you have and help yourself by not informing the dealer and at least one email explaining what had happened and putting them on notice that you were having the work done immediately because you had no choice and it was going to be £XXX – would have helped enormously.
As it is you are now having to play catch up and if the dealer says that this is the first they have heard of it and they were never given any opportunity to carry out repairs or anything as they would normally be entitled to do, their position would be very reasonable.

Of course it is too late now – but you did have the time to notify them. He did make a second journey of 250 miles and you still hadn't notified them. You then did leave the car in the garage to be repaired during which time you could have easily have informed the dealer – and you didn't and you still haven't.

In fact come to think of it I think you should amend the letter above if you haven't already sent it and explain why it is that this is the first contact.

I suggest that you do that and post the letter here so we can have another look

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Well, to be honest, when I have cc'ed CAB or ASAP in the past, I have usually had a reference number - there is always a reference number when you make a CAB contact (ASAP is kind of part of CAB) and it tells the recipient that there is an official record of the complaint.

My record so far with complaints has been fairly successful but as I said at the outset, it has only been other people nagging me that I should do something about this that has led me to make my initial post about it when I had thought that I had left it too late.

The fact that I had the work done prior to starting this thread is not news, I was quite up front about it. It started out with the smallish matter of the TPMS sensors it escalated fast along with my anxiety about the situation and I regret that I assumed that I had been had and that there was nothing I could do about it.

My first sentence in this thread was:

''Sometimes people tell me that I should 'take action' about a situation when in my gut, I feel that there is little that I can do but just to get some peace, I look into it - and so it is with this'

I had thought that this had been put to bed as far as the letter was concerned but I'm starting to get wound up about it again I'm going to leave it until tomorrow.

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and that is?
dx

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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1 hour ago, Geronimo1 said:

Thanks for the advice. However, I have decided to take a different approach.

Thanks for this update. I hope that your different approach works.

We would be very interested to know what you have in mind and how it works for you because other people who come to this forum for help with similar situations would probably find it very useful.

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