Just Bought a Used Car With Problems?

You have more rights that you might have known.

Over the last 3 months I have received at total of fourteen emails from private car buyers all asking for advice. Each had purchased a used car from a dealership somewhere in the UK, and each has experienced mechanical issues after purchase.

Furthermore, each individual was told that the car was being sold to them under a strict ‘Sold as Seen’ policy…Meaning that the dealership rejected any responsibility for the vehicle after purchase.

No warranty or guarantee, no come back policy whatsoever?

fingers crossed image of a car dealer

Some car dealerships use ‘Sold as Seen’ when they are selling a car at a discounted price. They are stating that the steep price reduction will remove them from any liabilities after the sale. It’s a common occurrence in the used car industry and one of the reasons why the industry is known for charlatans, crooks and frauds.

One of my recent emails was from a lady called Michelle. She’d bought a car from a local dealer for a reduced price of £2300. Initially the car was marked up at £2500.

Michelle contacted me and outlined all of the details pertaining to the deal she had struck with the car dealership. They clearly stated that a price reduction of £200 invalidated the 3 month standard warranty and the car would therefore be ‘Sold as Seen.’

Michelle agreed to buy the car and drove it home that evening. The next morning she jumped into her car to find the EPS light on the dashboard and the power steering failing. Michelle then found my website and emailed me with her concerns.

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Once I had gathered all of the facts Michelle was surprised to hear that any car sold from a dealership, regardless of price, age and condition, could NOT legally be sold as seen.

Here’s why…

When you purchase a second hand car from a motor dealer, you enter into a legally binding contract. As the buyer you are entitled to expect that the car is fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality, and as described.

An older vehicle with high mileage will most likely not be of as good quality as that of a newer and lower mileage vehicle, but…

The vehicle should still be fit for use on the road and in a condition that reflects its price tag, age and mileage.

Trading Standards are your ‘go to’ source when confronted with issues relating to a used car you’ve bought from a dealership…Especially when they’re either refusing to assist you or are being generally unhelpful.

Trading Standards go on to say (Quote) “Traders must not mislead consumers by using phrases such as Sold as Seen or No Refunds”

If you buy a second hand motor from a dealer online (which I strongly recommended you do NOT do,) you have additional rights under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

But note you do NOT have these rights when buying a car from an auction or private seller.

If you buy a second hand car that is faulty, you have a limited amount of time after the sale to reject it for a full refund (contact Trading Standards directly for specific timeframes.)

Alternatively, you can choose to have the car repaired or replaced. You will need to contact the dealer, confirm all of the details of your complaint and the remedy you are seeking.

If all of these avenues fail you may be forced into taking court action. But always consider that used cars are used, and may carry one or more faults that are consistent with the age, mileage, condition and service history of the vehicle, but they should not be excessive.

In other words, fair wear and tear is NOT considered to be a fault.

In Michelle’s case an EPS warning light and failed power steering is NOT deemed as wear and tear. Items on the vehicle are broken and the dealership needs to provide a full refund (as the car has only just been bought,) or repair the vehicle to a satisfactory and roadworthy condition.

With the correct information Michelle was able to get the car fully repaired by the dealership despite their initial claims that the warranty was void. Once Michelle informed the dealers that she was aware of her rights the car was quickly repaired.

So to conclude, ‘Sold as Seen’ is a meaningless statement that dealers use to escape liability for the products they sell. It is both illegal and improper to use this kind of statement as it has no firm basis in UK law.

The Used Car Guy

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