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Thread: Information RE Legal action against shady car dealers.

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    Mods: Please change title and make this a sticky

    Since it seems that we get someone that’s just bought a knackered 200sx pop up on the board about once a month, I thought I’d write a guide on how to deal with the situation.

    Disclaimer: All of this advice is based on personal experience and I make no guarantees as to the accuracy of this information. I accept no responsibility for any losses resulting from following this advice. By reading this, you are accepting these terms.

    First, read this
    http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/c...V0003-1011.txt
    The law is actually very good from a consumers point of view and if you think you have been shafted, they have probably broken the law and you have a claim.
    The main points are:
    When you buy goods, you enter a legally binding contract with the seller that is covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002). This puts restrictions on what the seller can and cant do. What the law says is that the vehicle must be:

    1. of satisfactory quality
    2. fit for its purpose, including any special purpose made known to the seller
    3. as described
    4. fit to be used on the road
    5. in a condition which reflects its age and price
    6. reasonably reliable

    What this all means:

    1. The vehicle simply must be worth what you have paid for it. If you buy an S13 for £2500 and it is knackered – maybe had big ends that are on their way out or has major clutch or gearbox problems then it is not worth £2500 whatever the trader says, unless it is heavily modified to make up for the faults. However, if it is fine bar a slightly slipping clutch when on full boost, then that alone is not enough. It also means that even if the seller tells you the engine ill go band 10 miles down the road, the gearbox will fall out and it will split in two he has still broken the law, because the car is not worth the money you paid for it.
    If a dealer sells you a brand new ford focus that is perfect in every way and works properly for £50,000 even though there is nothing wrong with the car, he has still broken the law, as the car is not worth what you paid for it.

    2. I cant see this being used against a car dealer for a 200sx. If anyone has any ideas here, pm me

    3. This means the car must be as advertised/as you were told. If a dealer advertises a car with 80,000 genuine miles and you have an advert to that effect, and you later find that it has significantly more, he has broken the law. If he says engine rebuilt 3000 miles ago and you can prove it is a lie, then he has broken the law.

    4. The car MUST be road legal. i.e. it must be able to pass an MOT the same day you bought the vehicle! Things like bald tyres, illegal emissions etc all make it illegal for road use, even if you are told about these things! If the car has any of these kind of defects then the dealer has broken the law. However, I wouldn’t recommend taking a dealer to court for say a bald tyre or cracked number plate as it is cheep and easy to fix and you are better off paying for repairs yourself. Only use this either in addition to another point or if making the car road legal is going to be expensive.


    5. If you buy a £500 S13 that has “issues” then it can be a bit crap. You cant pay well under the book value of a car and expect it to be in the same condition as one that costs 3 times as much. However, If you pay £2500 for one, then it should be pretty good with decent everything really. If the bodywork is FUBAR’d, then it is not in a condition that reflects its age and price. The less you pay, the more issues the car can have. However, it must still be road legal. (knocking big ends do not make a car non road legal, same with slipping clutch, gearbox probs etc)

    6. Pretty much covered by the previous points. A £500 S13 does not have to be as reliable as a £2500 one.


    Bare in mind that the car only has to not cover ONE of these points for the dealer to have broken the law and you to be entitled to repair at no cost to you or a full refund.

    When it comes to private individuals, pretty much the only thing protecting you is that the car must be “as advertised”
    IMHO, chasing private individuals for money is not worth it as you are unlikely to win unless you have an advert and can prove the car is not “as advertised” Then it’s a matter of getting the money off them. Too much of a pain in the arse if you ask me. Put it down to experience.

    Bare in mind whatever the dealer says, whether it is in writing or not cannot get him out of his obligations under law. Things like “sold as seen” have no effect on your rights. Its like me and you having a contract where I buy goods off you and say in the contract that I can kill you if you don’t pay. Just because it is written down doesn’t mean it invalidates the law.

    Warranties

    Warranties are another issue. They only cover the car for damage AFTER the car is purchased. Any issues with the car that were there that point to problems with the car when you bought it are covered by the sale of goods act. You will also find that most warranties will not cover you for repairs caused by problems before the warranty was taken out.
    Dealers are legally obliged to OFFER a warranty and the price advertised should include a 3 month warranty, but If you knock them down and agree, the warranty does not have to be offered.
    Regardless of what a dealer says about a warranty, if you buy a sh1tter, he has to offer either to repair it from his own pocket, or give you a full refund. You can choose which you want.

    Credit

    The consumer credit act 1974 gives you additional protection. If you bought goods on credit, then if the goods are not up to scratch as above, then you do NOT have to pay your credit on them. Inform the credit provider of the state of the goods and sort it out with them. They can then pursue the dealer for their money back.

    Insurance Claims and Accident and Repair Records
    There is no law requiring traders to inform purchasers that cars have been subject to insurance claims or have been 'written off' by insurance companies. Traders have no legal obligation to tell purchasers about past repair work. If you ask the trader about these matters, he must answer truthfully or tell you if he doesn't know, and it is wise to write down the answers to these questions and make checks of your own before purchase. Prospective purchasers should study registration and service documents before deciding to buy. Prevention is better than cure, but if you have written answers from the seller and you find out later that they are wrong, you may have a legal case for misrepresentation and/or a breach of contract.
    What to do if you have been shafted

    If the dealer has broken the law, you must reject the car AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The law only allows for a short time for this. After rejecting the car, you CANNOT use it at all. Usage signifies an acceptance. Do not attempt to pick holes in this odd logic. It is how it is and any attempts to point out the faults will be met with a “well moan to your local MP then”
    I would strongly advise rejecting the car within 7 days of purchase. The sooner the better. Bare in mind you have 2 choices, getting the car repaired at the dealers expense, or a full refund and let them collect the car. The choice is YOURS, not the dealers.

    Rejecting the car

    Write a letter to the dealer and send it recorded delivery ASAP stating clearly that you are rejecting it and your reasons for doing so. Include any evidence to support your reasons (like engineers reports etc)

    Here is the letter that I sent to the dealer that knocked me:

    Fen Cars
    Huntingdon Road
    Warboys
    Cambs.
    PE28 2SG
    12 August 2002

    Dear Sir,
    Enclosed are two separate engineers reports, one form Auto Aid and one from Glyn Hopkin, both based in Colchester. Also enclosed is an emissions report on the vehicle.

    I arranged for these inspections to be done when on the way home from buying the vehicle when on the way back the engine started making a suspicious rattling sound that could only be heard when the windows were up and the sunroof was closed. Hoping for the best (i.e. ignition timing being too far advanced), but fearing the worst (Big end/little end damage), I immediately took the car to a garage for a full inspection to tell me the extent of the problem.

    To say the least, I was surprised as to what the engineer told me the extent of the engine problems were, at which point, I asked for a full check and engineers report on the vehicle there and then, and they kindly obliged.

    When I received the report I was amazed at the number of faults found, and to find that I had in fact been sold an illegal vehicle that was clearly not worth the money that I have paid for it, especially when I was told that it would cost somewhere in the region of £1000-£1200 to repair.

    When I got back home, I phoned you and you refused to say that if the engine was found to be of unsatisfactory condition, you would offer me a full refund. I then phoned again on Saturday, and the best I could get out of you was that if I paid an extra £350 for the car, then if it was found to be faulty, you would repair the damage. This I found totally unacceptable as the car was obviously in that condition before I paid for it. You also claimed that I was the second person ever to have knocked you down on price. This I find hard to believe as when I phoned you initially about the car, by the end of the phone call, you knocked £200 off the advertised price (£2695).

    I was then accused by you of destroying the car on the way home, which would be impossible if the engine was in satisfactory condition, as it had just been serviced. I think you’ll also agree, that to destroy an engine that quickly, I would probably have lost my license on the way home.
    My little brother was following me all of the way home in a 1.1 litre Ford Fiesta (which I believe has a manufactures official top speed of 92 MPH) at no more than 70 MPH all of the way home with a significant amount of the journey at less than 50 MPH. He told me that when the car accelerated, a large amount of black smoke and a small amount of blue smoke came out of the exhaust.

    Enclosed are the emissions tests stating that the car fails 8 out of 11 emmissions test, including nearly 4% CO at idle! Also enclosed are the Nissan and Auto Aid reports on the vehicle, as well as the parkers guide value of the vehicle at the time.

    Based on all of this evidence, I can clearly say that the vehicle is not worth anything like the amount of money that I paid for it, and I am demanding my money back.

    If you do not believe these independent reports, then send me a reply saying that you want to test the vehicle yourself, and a mutually convenient location for these tests. If the vehicle fails, then I demand expenses for this as well, as I should not have to do this as the car should be in satisfactory condition. I can be contacted on (01206) ****** during most evenings to arrange the time and place.

    If you do not wish to do this, then I demand my money (£2350) back in full within seven days. If you neither offer me my money back or arrange for an independent inspection (subject to the conditions mentioned above), then I will assume that you have no intention of resolving this and pursue this through both Trading Standards and the courts.


    Yours Sincerely,




    Martin Tarala


    Encl.
    1x copy of Auto Aid Engineers report
    1x copy of Auto Aid Emissions report
    1x copy of Nissan Engineers report
    1x copy of parkers guide valuation of the vehicle


    BTW I have deliberately left the dealers name and address there

    That was probably a lot more that was necessary but it followed a couple of heated phone conversations with the dealer so I was just picking holes in every argument he was using in his favour. Give the dealer 28 days to pay in the letter. Wait for another 2 weeks after the deadline before going to the next step.

    Next, if you do not get a satisfactory reply, send a final Demand for money. Give another 7 days. Take no further action for another 14 days.
    Here is the final demand I sent:

    Fen Cars
    Huntingdon Road
    Warboys
    Cambs.
    PE28 2SG
    12 August 2002

    FINAL DEMAND

    Dear Sir,
    As I have received no reply since the phone call shortly after my first letter making that ridiculous and unfair (to me) offer that has no basis on my rights or the law, I presume that you have no intention of settling this. However, I am required to give you a final notice and 7 days to pay and arrange to pick up the 200sx reg. L822THC mentioned on the first letter at your expense. Should I receive no communication from you, then I will be claiming my money back (£2350), the costs of both of the engineers reports, costs for the inconvenience of not having a car, and interest calculated daily at (0.0219178%) which equates to 8.00%pa.

    Please bear in mind will save you several hundred pounds and will save me a lot of hassle, so it would be on both our interests for you to settle this before it goes to the courts.


    Yours Sincerely



    M. TARALA

    The dealer’s offer was that If I give him another £350 for the warranty, if there was anything wrong with the car, he would get it repaired. That if called warranty fraud (on his part) and there was no reason why I should have to pay for a warranty to get the car fixed. He broke the law.

    The final letter I sent was a notice of court action stating that In 7 days I would be taking court action over the dispute unless something was done that I was happy with. 14 days later I opened a case.
    After all of the tooing and froing relating to the case I took out had finished, I sent an offer to the salesman:


    Fen Cars
    Huntingdon Road
    Warboys
    Cambs.
    PE28 2SG


    OFFER ON VEHICLE

    Dear Sir,
    I am writing to make you an offer to settle this case on the Nissan 200SX that you sold me in August. If you agree to pay me the cost of the car (£2350), The court fees so far (£115), and the cost of both the engineers reports (£67.31),which adds to a total of £2532.31 which will cover me for all of the direct costs caused by this vehicle.
    This ignores the inconvenience suffered as a result of not being able to use the vehicle, and the fact that my money could have been better spent.
    I accept that you may not have known that the vehicle was in such a state when you bought it, as I only noticed the noise when I was travelling down the motorway with all of the windows shut, and even then I put the noise down to timing, but nevertheless, you have a responsibility under law to provide goods of a satisfactory quality, whether it is your fault or not. That is why I bought the car from a dealer rather than privately.
    I think it is in both of out interests to settle this on these terms. If I receive no reply by the ninth of November, 2002 then I will assume you have no intention of settling this and proceed with the case.
    Please bear in mind will save you several hundred pounds and will save me a lot of hassle, so it would be on both our interests for you to settle this before it goes to the courts.


    Yours Sincerely



    M. TARALA


    No response so I paid £80 for a hearing.
    In January 2002, The judge awarded in my favour and I got Interest for the money I paid, all costs and expenses for the day off work for the hearing. I was also told that The car would remain mine since I had paid for it and that the money awarded was damages for his breach of contract, not a refund for the vehicle.
    To take out a court case you must go to your county court and get all of the parperwork and follow the instructions. Any problems, then ask me

  2. #2
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    Just to add, once anyone has got to the stage where they are ready to take out a case against a dealer, get the forms and I'll help you with filling them in. There are some important parts that should not be missed.

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    Guest CraZyMoFo's Avatar
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    Cracking Read mate.

    I now know my rights thanks

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    Flamethrower def's Avatar
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    What i was also told is that you must return it when you find its not
    satisfactory not a week later.

    or stop using the car until the complaint is sorted by the retailer if he promises to sort it.

    Just my 2p

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    Quote Originally Posted by def
    What i was also told is that you must return it when you find its not
    satisfactory not a week later.

    or stop using the car until the complaint is sorted by the retailer if he promises to sort it.

    Just my 2p
    Yep

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    Guest chrischeung's Avatar
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    Cool...

    You certainly enlightened me

    It's so good to hear that you won !!!

    I realise from your post that you REALLY have to be methodical and good at keeping your cool...

    Did you do this through the Small Claims Court ?

    Anyway what happened with the car? Did you dump it or sort it out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrischeung
    Cool...

    You certainly enlightened me

    It's so good to hear that you won !!!

    I realise from your post that you REALLY have to be methodical and good at keeping your cool...

    Did you do this through the Small Claims Court ?

    Anyway what happened with the car? Did you dump it or sort it out?
    Completely rebuilt the engine (there's a thread on here somewhere) drove the car around for a year then sold it

  8. #8
    Guest Lou's Avatar
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    You may have just been my saviour! I shall be writing a similar letter tomorrow to the gent who sold me my vitara, the diff blew tonight when driving up a gravel trap, well its a 4x4 so it should be fine correct?

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    Ooo, something i can actually help out on...

    Any advice needed regarding court procedures i should be able to help, just PM me

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