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Returning a faulty used car

(17 Posts)
IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 00:03:02

I posted this over in AIBU but thought it may also be a good idea to post here to check I can actually return this car under the consumer act 2015:

Yesterday I bought a used Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 2.0 I 16v VTR+ ESG petrol from a trader. It's an auto 07 plate and has just over 68,600 miles on the clock. Test drive was fine and the 70 mile drive home was also ok.

This morning I went out and the car started fine but driving away it sounded a bit like a a motorbike when I pressed down the accelerator, with the noise stopping when I took my foot away. The car felt a bit jolty changing gears too. Rang the place I bought it from and they asked me to try get a mechanic to have a look at it and let them know what was wrong. I had to nip out this afternoon and the noise was happening again but then the car seemed to get stuck in first and the car bleeped with a 'depollution system fault' and engine management light. After that the car seemed to struggle changing up gears, especially 3 to 4. Felt a bit sluggish.

Managed to get it home and called out AA to have a look at it. I explained what was happening, he had a look under the bonnet and revved the engine a bit. White smoke was coming out the back at this point. He plugged in his fault reader and the following codes came up:

P0170 - fuel correction bank 7
P0300 - random cylinder misfire
P0172 - fuel/air mixture rich
P0130 - o2 sensor, bank 7, sensor 2 out of range

The AA guy said it could just be a faulty o2 sensor but then again it might not be. Most likely the exhaust. I told him to leave everything as is for the time being as I'm going to give the trader a call tomorrow. I've been googling a lot (which can sometimes be a curse!) which throws up a possible hole in the exhaust etc etc. I did originally take a recording of the sound and sent it to a mechanic friend (not local) who says it sounds like this could be the case and they (the garage) could have patched it with putty or something hence there being no sound yesterday. I'm in two minds about what to do. Do I let them have a chance at fixing it or give it back an ask for a refund? I've been stung by a French car before (b* Renault) and I really don't want to go through the aggro again to be honest. The trader also owns a garage and mot'd the car the day before I bought it with no advisories or anything. I know that under the October 2015 consumer act I do have the right to return the car for a refund within the first 30 days or ask for them to fix it. I think I'd prefer to ask for a refund at this stage, it's something I just don't need right now. The car was £4k and I'd expect better than it to be faulty a day after purchase. Any advice would be appreciated!

prh47bridge Sun 15-May-16 09:38:29

Yes, this is covered by the Consumer Rights Act. The car must be of satisfactory quality given its age and mileage, it must be fit for purpose and it must match any description you were given. You have the right to reject the car and get your money back. If you accept a repair and the repair is unsuccessful you can still get a refund.

Personally for something like this I would let the garage repair it. Exhausts do fail and so do sensors. The main concern is to be sure that it is repaired properly. If it is a hole in the exhaust they need to fit new parts, not patch up the existing ones.

IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 12:58:21

Thanks prh.

I think I'm still leaning towards asking for a full refund - I've been advised that it could just end up being an intermittent engine fault which in the end will just end up being expensive. Plus if I gave them the chance to fix it and it came back in a few days/weeks/months I would still be in the same situation, just further down the line.

I have spoken with them already but the manager isn't in until later on. I spoke to one of the deputies who started to say they have 3 chances to fix it and when I pointed out that that wasn't actually right he said I'm not arguing with you (I wasn't arguing) manager will sort it this afternoon. Now I know the 3 chances thing applies to the sale of goods act 1979 but it doesn't apply here does it?

littlenicky61 Sun 15-May-16 13:11:00

We had a similar thing happen recently with my mum. She bought a car that seemed fine on test drive etc and she decided the next day to get a mechanic friend to give it the once over and he told her it had loads of problems and to take it back . He listed everything that he could see was wrong ( from just his initial check ) and I went back with her armed with a info about the consumers rights act etc but he offered a refund straight away once I read out the list of faults. I would go for a full refund and try again with a different car

littlenicky61 Sun 15-May-16 13:16:29

this link explains the new consumer act and how you don't have to accept their offer of a repair

IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 14:32:20

Thank you.

Just waiting on them to call back now but still have an hour before the manager is in. I just have a horrible feeling I'm going to struggle with this. As we're a bit of a way away they could just refuse to come and collect it. If I'm rejecting it I think I can't drive it, not that I'd be happy to anyway. It does drive but with the struggle to change gears and the potential for it to go into limp home mode I don't want to risk it. I suppose I could arrange to have it taken back if they refuse and then I could leave the car there with them? I will put my intentions down in writing and post recorded delivery tomorrow and also email as well depending on the outcome of the conversation this afternoon.

IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 18:02:59

Reposting from AIBU as I need some legal advice on where I stand with this and what to do next:

He's not accepting there was a fault on it, as I said it seemed to drive fine on the way home and on the test drive. He's insisting on a repair. He said that I'm only entitled to a refund on a pre-existing fault and they can prove it didn't have a fault when I took it as I could drive it away fine, it passed its mot and it had a Citroen Heath check. I told him I had no paperwork to prove they had this health check carried out. He said I know and I will email you it on Monday but I will contact my warranty company and I will find a garage in your area to get the car in for the morning to repair it. I then stated I wasn't happy with this and I had been advised via citizens advice that under the new consumer act if a fault developed in 30 days that I was within my right to request a full refund. He then went on to say that he knew their rights and that they could legally just offer to repair the vehicle, that it had to be a preexisiting fault and the fault the car was showing now wasn't preexisiting. I told him to hold off on organising anything as I didn't want him to do that, I wanted to contact citizens advice again and take more information. He told me he was organising for the car to be picked up and fixed to get me back on the road. I told him again I had no confidence in the vehicle and wanted a refund as the vehicle was faulty.

He mentioned if I wanted to go through the refund avenue that I would be off the road for months, they knew their rights and they weren't just going to roll over and offer the refund. What the hell do I do now? I ended the call by saying I would speak to him tomorrow as telling him I didn't want the repair seemed to fall on deaf ears. Feel really upset.

Do I put in writing that I'm not accepting him repairing it? It seemed like he was trying to threaten me that they will just keep this going on for as long as possible. Where do I stand now?

prh47bridge Sun 15-May-16 19:06:24

They are trying to bully you. Don't let them.

As you have had the vehicle less than 6 months it is up to them to prove it wasn't faulty when you bought it. If the exhaust has failed within 24 hours of purchase it will be difficult for them to prove that there was no fault. It may not have actually developed a hole but it was clearly about to do so.

Do not drive the car. Put in writing that you are exercising your right to reject it and want a full refund. Give them a deadline for providing the refund and tell them you will take legal action if they fail to comply.

IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 21:52:11

Thank you so much prh. I've been in knots about it all evening. There is some mention online about the onus being on the consumer in the first 30 days to prove there's a fault but I'm assuming since the AA man has been out and the car has thrown up some fault codes/has an error showing on the dash a day after purchase this would go some way towards that? I don't know for certain it's definitely got a hole it's just one of the things I've been advised it could have.

The car was advertised as full service history, which I think I mentioned earlier, but they've not offered it since I spoke to them. They say they have it but seem in no rush to provide it. Same thing with the health check they say the car has had, which I'm not sure how long ago it's been since it had it. He told me he would email the health check documents over to me tomorrow and seemed in no rush to do it. I'm not sure how I can get them to take the car back if they refuse to come pick it up. In the end I suppose I'd have to arrange to have it taken to them before the 30 days is up so its in their possession?

zipzap Sun 15-May-16 22:41:34

Have you got legal cover on your insurance?

If you have, speak to them and they should help you to sort this out...

It might also be worth contacting trading standards locally (or local to them if that would be different) both for advice and to see if they 'know' the garage - and know if they have form for trying to flog dodgy vehicles or if they are usually pretty reliable.

Good luck!

IThinkIveHadEnough Sun 15-May-16 22:56:16

Thank you, I will try get that all done in the morning. I do have legal cover through my car insurance yes, so will definitely talk to them about it. Trading standards probably a very good idea. Just the whole way he was being made it seem like they'd had this before. He did also mention they've had this before and people don't understand how it works etc etc. He kept going on about how they were reputable. I told him I wasn't saying they weren't, I was telling him that the car was faulty, I wasn't happy and wanted a refund. Going to look at emailing them something over just so they know I'm rejecting the car in writing. That way I suppose I have a paper trail if things start going completely tits up.

Thanks again flowers

IThinkIveHadEnough Tue 31-May-16 14:55:02

I'd appreciate some more advice if possible please.

I had the car seen to at the Citroen dealer on Thursday. There was a gearbox fault on the car to do with the gearbox/clutch not being programmed properly. Now the place I bought it from told me that it had been to their local Citroen dealer and had the clutch readjusted a couple of weeks before I bought it but my local Citroen dealer said it definitely had no signs of having done so. I did manage to get some info from the Citroen local to the dealer and the confirmed it had gone in there and had that done so I then had a google. Apparently if it keeps unprogramming itself then the only solution may be a new clutch.

My local Citroen also found that there was a leak the the exhaust, requiring a new exhaust part at roughly £200, a coolant leak and an oil leak. All the parts together would be around £500 which I've been told would probably be £300 elsewhere. I'm of the view that these faults would have been there on point of sale due to the amount of time between purchase and them showing up (less than 24 hours) and would like to know whether this is enough to return the car now under the consumer rights act? I went on a motoring forum and it's been suggested that due to the age of the car this wouldn't be good enough to return for a refund and if it went to court I would look unreasonable.

I have emailed the company I bought the car from outlining what's wrong. They still haven't sent me the service history of the car despite agreeing to scan and email it over on 19th May. This was after them asking me why I felt I needed it if I was giving the car back even though they still weren't agreeing to a refund and apart from everything else I own the car still and everything that belongs with it. I highly doubt it exists now as surely they'd just send it over?

We do have legal cover with the house insurance but they told me that motoring issues aren't covered. I also have legal cover through the car insurance and am now waiting to hear back from them. I did manage to get some advice from the house insurance legal helpline which said I now needed to send a letter before action and give them a further two weeks before I can raise court papers. I did originally send them a letter on 16th May rejecting the car and giving them 7 days to give me a refund before I took it further but the lady I spoke to said I needed to send another letter. I haven't drove the car since 14th May, only to take it down to Citroen and back home. The car has been looking quite low at the back suspension wise and when I took it down to Citroen it beeped with a warning about the suspension not being inflated fully. I've read this could be an intermittent fault before it goes completely and the airbags that work a bit like springs on a normal car would need replacing. The visual check at Citroen said they looked fine but the small print does also say that when parts are disassembled it may find that things aren't ok.

So I suppose I'm asking whether anyone can say what my chances may be in small claims? I'm still happy to go down that route as I'm not happy with the car For the fault reasons or the lack of service history, but I'm just apprehensive about my chances here. I've had to hire a car for the time being and it's money we can't really afford. Is 14 days the minimum amount of time I need to give before I raise court action?

Thank you in advance

IThinkIveHadEnough Tue 31-May-16 14:57:53

Sorry I forgot to add that my local Citroen did readjust the clutch and gearbox again and took it on a test drive, in which they said that part seemed OK (it wasn't as sluggish to change gears etc as it was before). When I drove it back home I didn't really notice a lot of different to be honest!

prh47bridge Tue 31-May-16 15:57:57

Any faults that exist now are assumed to have existed when you bought the car. You don't have to prove that. It is up to the seller to prove the faults weren't there if they want to try to argue that.

The car must be of satisfactory quality given its age and mileage. It has multiple faults - exhaust, clutch, oil leak, coolant leak and a possible suspension fault. That does not sound like satisfactory quality to me. If an independent engineer agrees that the car is not of satisfactory quality it should be an easy win for you at small claims (if it gets that far).

Before you start legal proceedings you need to write to the dealer stating that the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality, saying that you are rejecting it, giving them a deadline (4 weeks, say) to return your money and telling them you will take legal action if they fail to comply.

DubiousCredentials Thu 29-Sep-16 19:41:45

Sorry to drag up an oldish thread but what was the outcome of this OP?

orangebird69 Tue 04-Oct-16 17:23:13

Following. ...

Abiba01 Tue 18-Oct-16 21:50:34

Hi, I would also like to know the outcome, as I am in the same situation. I bought a Citroen 24th August and 2 weeks ago came up with a Gear box fault. I contacted the dealer and stated I wanted a refund as the cost of repair was £2200 which didn't make sense as the car cost me £3300 and to have this happen in not even 2 months after buying it, luckily for me the dealer is prepared to give me a refund however he wants to deduct a small amount as I had it for 7 weeks and I have to bring the car to him as it is currently still at a Citroen service centre. I am just waiting for him to confirm the amount he will refund before a final agreement can be made. Had similar issue with a Renault, NO MORE FRENCH CARS!!!

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