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Used car bought by naive idiot me ...

(10 Posts)
glassspider Thu 23-Dec-10 23:38:05

On December 4, I bought a second hand car for just over £500 from a dealer. this company trades from a farm and buys and sells many used cars, many of which are advertised onlne. I bought the car after test-driving it, during which all seemed OK.

On December 7, I drove the car to work, or tried to. On the way there, the car engine overheated before it completely lost power, right in the middle of the right-hand land on a roundabout - a minute sooner and this would have happened on the M1, which could have been pretty damn disastrous. there was also a big bang from under the bonnet. the AA came out to look at it, before taking me and the car to a garage where a coolant hose, which had had a big hole blown through it, was replaced.

I tried to drive the car home again after it had spent the night in the garage, but the car was overhaeting again. White smoke was spewing out of the back and the car kept losing power. I just about got the car home in one piece. I took the car to a garage very close to my home for a further assessment (only just making it - the windscreen kept icing over, which made it difficult to drive safely). The mechanic said the car has at least a head gasket fault and many other faults besides, strongly recommending I take the car back and ask for a refund. I ring up the guy who sold me the car and he said, while I can get the car towed to the premises for him to check for faults, he says the head gasket fault is probably due to the cold weather and I am unlikely to get a refund.

He follows this up with an email to reiterate this, and adds that the car was sold with no warranty and sold as seen.

Now this is me being dim but a company that buys and sells used cars, and is registered as a ltd company, is a dealer, not a provate seller, or am I wrong? And if I buy a car from a dealer, surely the phrase "sold as seen is not legal, and I have rights under the Sale of Goods Act?

As for the fault being due to the cold weather, well, I guess it would be harder to prove. Aaaarrrrghhhh I hate being a dimwit and not knowing much about cars, while I reiterated that I would like a refund, can I really prove the car's faults were caused by anything other than it being chilly? Do I have a leg to stand on here?

I know I'm dafdt but if anyone has any advice it would be appreciated!

prh47bridge Fri 24-Dec-10 00:26:05

You certainly do have a leg to stand on, especially as you purchased from a dealer. The car must:

- be of satisfactory quality for its age and mileage
- meet any description given by the dealer
- be roadworthy

The dealer cannot take away your rights by using phrases such as "sold as seen" whatever he thinks. As you have had the car for such a short time it is up to him to prove that the faults were not there when you bought the car. You don't have to prove that the faults were not caused by the weather (which is pretty unlikely anyway). If there is a dispute you can get a report from an independent engineer (e.g. the garage where it is currently) and reclaim the cost of the report from the dealer.

As you have had the car for 3 weeks you are still able to reject it but you must do so NOW. That also means you must stop using it, but from the sounds of it that isn't much of a hardship!

Your next steps are:

- Write to the dealer saying that you are rejecting the car and want a full refund. You do have other options if you don't want to reject the car but, given the level of faults apparent already, I would recommend rejecting it. As they have already refused to accept liability, you should say that you are giving them a final chance to resolve the matter and that you will be taking your claim further if they don't provide a full refund.

- If the dealer still refuses to pay up and you bought the car on your credit card, contact your card provider to say you are rejecting the car. If they won't help you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman.

- On the other hand, if you didn't buy the car on your credit card you should send a "letter before action" to the dealer saying that you will be taking legal action if they don't act and giving them a deadline by which they must refund your money. If they still refuse to pay up you can take action against the dealer in the small claims court. You won't need a solicitor for this.

Don't let the dealer intimidate you. Stick to your guns and insist on getting your money back.

AnIdiotOnboard Fri 24-Dec-10 13:10:18

I've just namechanged to start a very similar thread- though in my case I really have been a naive idiot.

I hope you don't mind me tagging on your thread glasspider, and I do hope you get your car sorted.
I have no advice, but prh47bridge has given some great, so I'll just offer my sympathy!

I bought a car from a local dealer last thursday, looked it over , liked it, paid...
Then he said there are no problems with it whatsoever, you have children and I wouldn't sell you something that would put you at risk but "it doesn't come with a warranty" I said ok, fine, but then he had me sign a piece of paper that stated car was unfit for purpose! And I did. because I'd already paid and I'm too stupid and wimpy to say no sad

Anyways car not working today. Steering lock problem according to car.

I'm such a div, could slap myself.
There is really nothing I can do now is there?

Thanks in advance.

DorisVinyard Fri 24-Dec-10 14:18:36

AnIdiot shock I have no legal experience but I would think surely you must have some recourse. Hope someone in the know comes on here to advise you.

prh47bridge Fri 24-Dec-10 14:25:36

AnIdiotOnboard - My advice to you would be the same as for glassspider. You cannot sign away your rights under the Sale of Goods Act even if you want to. You are entitled to reject the car and demand a refund. Alternatively you are entitled to demand that the dealer pays for any repairs.

Jellykat Fri 24-Dec-10 15:05:45

I don't know any legal stuff,but just to add that there would have been visible signs if the head gasket was going..namely water/oil contamination-mayonaise type deposits clinging to the dipstick for the oil, bubbling up of the water in the radiator etc..

The dealer should've, and i suspect would've, been aware of this when he sold you the car- i can't see how he could claim ignorance!

glassspider Fri 24-Dec-10 15:46:49

Thank you all so much for your replies, and an IdiotOnboard, I hope you get your situation sorted too. It's horrible, isn't it? It sounds like your car is unroadworthy, if there is a steering problem, so the seller still has a legal obligation to help. Go to Citizens Advice, when you can - I've been trying to get hold of them - arrrghhh, it's hell when problems arise at Christmas, isn't it?

prh47bridge, I can't describe how much better I felt after reading your post - thank you!!!! I have written a strong email to the dealer, reminding them that as a dealer they cannot trot out phrases such as sold as seen, and I will take the matter further if I need to.

You are all stars! :-)

ragged Fri 24-Dec-10 16:29:52

Get in touch with Trading standards you guys, if you have any doubts how to proceed. The dealers have to refund you are provide you with an equivalent replacement. Trading Standards will guide you thru the process and your rights.

AnIdiotOnboard Fri 24-Dec-10 17:52:54

Thankyou also for your replies.
Just typical that it happens over Christmas eh?!

I'm going down to the dealers when they're open again.

Thanks again, and good luck glasspider smile

BeenBeta Fri 24-Dec-10 18:14:43

Defintley talk to Trading Standards.

They might even be very interested in following up your case if there have been other complaints about this dealer. I would mention you have taken advice for Trading Standards when talking with the dealer too.

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