Check for outstanding recalls – a cautionary tale

A client takes a car in part exchange and (you’ll be pleased to know!) sold it shortly afterwards.  Not so pleasingly, a defective component caused the timing belt to snap causing £4000 worth of damage.  We know it’s a potentially defective component because the manufacturer issued a product recall because of it. 

But that recall was in 2010 and was unknown to our client.  When approaches are made to the manufacturer they refuse to help because 2 recall letters had been sent out to the then owner but because it was not brought in for correction under the recall, they refused to assist. 
This causes two problems for our client.  Firstly, it’s potential evidence that he sold a vehicle with an inherent defect and so the proverbial buck stopped with him in so far as the buyer is concerned.  Secondly, because our client had no contract with the manufacturer (having not purchased it from them) there is no easy claim for him to make against that manufacturer. 

The evidence is, of course, not conclusive since as we have seen with the current airbag problem, only ‘5 out of many, many thousands of units are defective.

As such it might be advisable when taking a car in part ex, just to check with the manufacturer (preferably by email at least noting the date/time and name of person spoken to) that there are no outstanding recalls before it gets sold on – or you could end up forking out for the manufacturer’s failings.

Published: 15 Apr 2013


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