Complaints about the purchase of used vehicles tops the complaints list every year and is also the most common issue that readers contact me about. Here’s a round-up of what you’ve been asking me and what your rights are:
Your basic rights
When you buy a used vehicle it must i) be of satisfactory quality and, regardless of its age and price, have a working engine and be roadworthy/safe to drive, unless the seller clearly states that it is not and ii) be fit for the purpose it was described and iii) be as described by the seller.
When considering whether a used vehicle is of ‘satisfactory’ quality, you have to take account of the cost, age and mileage of the vehicle, the description given by the seller, and what a reasonable person would expect of a vehicle of equivalent age and mileage.
The first 30 days
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you the automatic right to reject a used vehicle and demand a full refund if it turns out to be faulty within the first 30 days after purchase.
Kevin from Luton purchased a Ford Ka on a hire purchase agreement. Two days after purchase, the car broke down. Kevin returned it to the garage and they found an issue with the clutch which they fixed. Three weeks later the same problem occurred and again the garage fixed it. Two weeks on, it has happened again and now Kevin has had enough. The car is clearly not of satisfactory quality and, as the repair has failed, Kevin can now demand a refund. The car being of satisfactory quality will have been a term of the hire purchase agreement and, on this basis, Kevin can get the agreement terminated.
Damian from Southend purchased a Ranger Rover Evoque using a fixed term loan. After eight weeks the car began to constantly break down. It became apparent that the problem had been present since the time Damian purchased the vehicle. Damian complained to the dealership but they refused to help unless he paid for a repair. In these circumstances, Damian can make what is called a section 75 claim to the provider of the hire purchase agreement. This will result in them cancelling the loan agreement, taking the car back, and pursuing the garage for a refund.
Escalating your complaint
If all else fails, you can always take your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service if you purchased the vehicle using some form of credit.