So, you have taken delivery of your new vehicle, bought using a personal contract purchase (PCP) agreement or similar finance arrangement.
Ideally you will have years of trouble-free motoring. But what happens if a fault develops with your new pride and joy? Are you covered by the terms of your deal? Can you claim a refund, or the cost of the repairs?
We all know unforeseen repair bills can be costly, not to mention the frustration that comes with suddenly having your car taken off the road.
What course of action can you take to ensure you’re not out of pocket, as well as off the road?
Your consumer rights are clearly defined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
In short, the vehicle you purchased must be:
- Of satisfactory quality
- As described in the advertisement
- Fit for purpose
Most disputes, particularly in the case of buying used cars, centre on the term ‘satisfactory quality’. Used cars will undoubtedly have suffered a degree of wear and tear, something that would generally be reflected in the price.
Unless the seller advertised the vehicle as being in pristine condition, any fault would need to be more than merely an issue of wear and tear.
The normal finance arrangements for buying a vehicle are:
- Paying by credit card or with a fixed-term loan. If you used either of these methods and something goes wrong with the vehicle you can make a claim to your card provider or finance company, who will then take up the complaint with the dealer.
- Using a hire purchase agreement. In this case you should contact the finance company and inform them that the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality. This means they have breached the finance agreement and they should refund you.
If you make a claim to your card provider or finance company and it is rejected your next move is to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.
To do this you would need to provide:
- A copy of the loan or hire purchase agreement.
- Full details of the vehicle in question.
- Any documentation you have in relation to the vehicle.
- A copy of a mechanic’s report on the vehicle.
- Any other evidence you can gather to support the specific complaint.
Remember, you have better legal protection if you bought your vehicle from a registered dealer, rather than from a private seller or at an auction. However, even if the law is in your favour it could be a costly and time-consuming process to get your money back.
You are entitled to ask for a full refund from a dealer in the first 30 days after buying any product that proves to be faulty. This includes new and used cars.
If you discover a fault with the vehicle after 30 days but within the first six months of purchase, you can request a repair or a replacement vehicle. The onus is on the seller to prove the fault wasn’t present when it was sold. If they can do this, and you are likely to have known about it, a refund may not be issued.
The dealer will have one chance to fix the fault or give the buyer a refund. This won’t, however, be the full purchase price as the usage of the car will be taken into account and the refund adjusted accordingly.
If a fault appears after six months of ownership, it is down to the buyer to prove it was there at the time they took the vehicle. To do this, you may have to get an expert to examine the car (or component in question) and provide written evidence of this.
The law also provides protection for customers’ servicing and repair work that rendered a vehicle faulty. If you believe that any work on your car hasn’t been carried out with reasonable care, you can ask for a refund or for the repair work to be repeated.
By law, the vehicle you are sold must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. Otherwise you’re entitled to take it back and claim a refund.
The car must not be faulty or broken when purchased, and it must be of a standard that a reasonable person would expect, considering its age and mileage. It should be roadworthy, reliable and of a quality that is consistent with its age and the price paid.
It should also be fit for the purpose for which it has been supplied, including any purpose that had been discussed during the sale, such as towing a caravan.
Bear in mind that the seller may not accept your reasons for rejecting the car, in which case you may be forced to begin legal proceedings against them.
Dealers aren’t required by law to rectify any component failing due to wear and tear, such as tyres or brake discs worn due to normal use.
They are also not liable for any specific fault they informed the buyer about prior to purchase.
The Consumer Rights Act does not cover a buyer looking to return a fault-free car if they have simply had a change of heart.
While a PCP agreement may offer you some protection in the case of faults developing, thousands of customers may have been misled by their brokers and dealers.
If you believe you have suffered as a result of your PCP agreement, contact Barings Law to see if you can make a claim.
Speak to one of our experts on 0161 200 9960 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you get back the money you deserve.