Used Car Warranties

What is a fault?

For the purposes of the Act, a fault is something which renders the vehicle:

•    Not of satisfactory quality

•    Not fit for particular purpose or
•    Not as described

We have already seen consumer organisations advise customers that they can return an item for any fault. This is not correct.

A wear and tear item or a minor fault such as a spark plug failure will not give the customer the Rights as set out in the Act. Your first consideration when a customer comes back to you asking for a repair or a refund under the Act should be ‘is this a fault which means the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality, not fit for purpose or not as described?’. Of course, your customer may have a different opinion to you but ultimately the law considers what a reasonable person would think about the fault considering factors such as the age, mileage and price paid for vehicle.

Published: 22 Sep 2015


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Nona Bowkis - Lawgistics Ltd (13/09/2016)
Thanks for coming to the site but we only advise motor traders and not consumers and so cannot answer your queries. You are best advised to contact a consumer organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or talk to a solicitor
Steve (13/09/2016)
Hi i bought a car on the friday by tuesday the car had a significant oil leak over my drive way and a whinning gear box. The car is 30,000 miles on the clock and three years old... the whole engine bay had been spotlessly cleaned in my opinion to hide the oil leak fault which is why it wasn't obvious uponpurchase. Am i able to take the car back to the dealer?
Bill Jennings (30/03/2016)
Hi, I bought a used car from a second hand car dealer on the weekend. I test drove the car for 5 minutes as there was low petrol. During the test drive I noticed the clutch was juddering, however, I assumed this was due to the low biting point, and me not being used to this. Since buying the car I have learned that this is not simply a case of getting used to the clutch control on the new car, and is in fact a common fault on this model which requires the clutch to be replaced. I suspect the seller may argue that it does not affect the cars performance, however, I would counter argue that it does, the car rolls back on hill starts and stalls often. What advice can you offer me? I have contacted the seller yesterday but am yet to receive a response.
Nona Bowkis - Lawgistics Ltd (09/12/2015)
Hi Jo and yes the fact that a mechanic test drove the car and was specifically taken along to inspect the car is good evidence for you of the car being of satisfactory quality at the point of sale. The only potential fly in the ointment is that they may try and argue that the fault was developing at the point of sale but for the short term right to reject, the onus is on the customer to prove the fault was there at the point of sale and so if the customer wants to go down that route, they will need to get a report which definitively states that the fault, whatever it may turn out to be, was a developing issue at the point of sale. Of course it may just be a loose wire triggering the warning light in which case, it will not be a fault worthy of triggering the consumer’s right to reject in any case.
Trader Jo (09/12/2015)
I recently sold a used car to a young lady. Before the sale she brought her cousin who is a mechanic to inspect the car. They both took the car out for a test drive, twice in fact. First time he was driving with her next to him and one of my colleagues in the back, second time she was driving with him next to her. Everything was fine and after he thoroughly checked the car over the young lady decided to buy the car. She drove the car 40-50 miles home without any probs. 5 days later they text my colleague to inform us that a problem had appeared and a warning light had come on relating to the automatic gearbox. My question is, if she brought a mechanic with her to inspect the car and test drove it twice would this indicate it was of satisfactory quality at the time of sale?
Nona Bowkis - Lawgistics Ltd (01/12/2015)
Sorry to hear of your son’s problem but we only provide advice to traders and so cannot help. You can get free consumer advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
Dixey 50 (01/12/2015)
My son bought a car from a car trader he found faults when they delivered the vehicle & sent it back . It was delivered again on Tuesday . The last two days it has been loosing power and today with the children in the car it slide so much someone nearly went into the back of him! . This to me is dangerous he cannot drive this as it is so it's not fit for the purpose it was sold . Having this for less than 5 days I feel he should reject this vehicle except the dealer is not returning his calls!. Any advice appreciated
Nona Bowkis - Lawgistics Ltd (05/11/2015)
Hi Eddie, as with all new laws, we have to see how things develop through the courts but the current situation is that for the customer to be able to exercise the Short Term Right to Reject they have to prove 3 things. 1. There is a fault 2. The fault is fundamental enough to make the car not of satisfactory quality (considering the vehicle’ age, mileage and price paid), not fit for particular purpose or not as described and 3. The particular fault was present at the point of sale. If the customer cannot prove the fault was present at the point of sale then they will not be entitled to the Short Term Right to Reject. In your case, the RAC 82 point check will make it very difficult for the consumer to prove a fault at the point of sale, especially after a period of 20 days.
automotive (05/11/2015)
excellent information but the law states any fault within 30 days surely if this was taken to court the purchaser would win . we carry out a rac buy sure 82 point check on every vehicle carried out by a independent garage ,but the vehicles as most we sell sometimes will have the eml light come on if you slip the clutch which could put it into limp mode customers then have a right to return the vehicle for refund especially if they have had it for say 20 days and any excuse to return if they have found another cheaper I just think even with a good pdi this is going to cause major problems 30 days is a long time regards eddie Williams motor trader for 30 years

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