Purchase by inspection

legal_updates

The lack of air conditioning did not inhibit the performance of the vehicle.

Author: Darren Fletcher
Published:
Reading time: 3 minutes

This article is 4 weeks old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Lawgistics had a recent case go to a court hearing and was successful in defending it on behalf of one of our members.

The customer bought a VW Transporter from our member for £20,000. The advert was created by inputting the registration number into a website and all of the information about the vehicle was pulled through from a database into the advert that appeared.

Our member did not notice the advert stated the vehicle had air conditioning, when in fact, it did not.  It did not even have an air conditioning system button.

The customer viewed the vehicle on three occasions, including a lengthy test drive when temperatures were in the 20 degrees range, and at no point noticed there was no air conditioning.

The customer collected the vehicle at a time when temperatures were averaging 27 degrees, and yet it was two weeks before he notified our member that there was no air conditioning system.

Our member immediately offered an apology for not noticing the missing air conditioning, and to refund the cost of the vehicle in full, but the customer decided that he wanted a retrofit air conditioning system at a cost of £2,200.

Our member was sensitive to the customer’s issues but was not willing to fund the retrofitting of an air condition system as it was disproportionate to do so plus the dangers of inherent future issues that might arise if the system was not working correctly.  A full refund was offered on numerous occasions, but the customer was fixated on the air conditioning being installed and issued proceedings for the cost of the retrofitting.

HR Manager

So simple even a child could use it

HR Manager is designed to assist employers manage their legal obligations in relation to Employment Law, Human Resources, Health & Safety and Data Protection. Fully utilising HR Manager will demonstrate best practice, assist in the meeting of legal obligations and show due diligence.

At trial, our member’s barrister, fully briefed by Lawgistics, systematically stripped away the customer’s arguments until the judge could only find that the customer had fully inspected the vehicle, on more than one occasion, and had never asked about air conditioning, so therefore in accordance with section 9(4)(b) of the Consumer Rights Act:

(4) The term mentioned in subsection (1) does not cover anything which makes the quality of the goods unsatisfactory—

(b) where the consumer examines the goods before the contract is made, which that examination ought to reveal, or

The inspection by the customer should have identified the lack of air conditioning, as this was deemed by the court to be a purchase by inspection.  The lack of air conditioning did not inhibit the performance of the vehicle, and as the Claimant did not ask about air conditioning, or notice for two weeks that there wasn’t an air conditioning facility, this shows that it was not an important factor in the purchase.

The judge agreed with us that a retrofit of an air conditioning system was disproportionate given that it would make very little difference to the value of the vehicle and would have cost more than 10% of the sale price.

The judge gave the Claimant the option of returning the vehicle to our member for a refund, less a deduction of usage of 35p per mile for the 4,500 miles travelled, or he could keep the vehicle.  He chose to keep the vehicle and no costs or legal fees were awarded.

The customer went from the offer of a full refund so he could purchase a different van with air conditioning, to keeping the van which would be worth less as a part exchange or as a sale than he originally paid for it.

We at Lawgistics take you through every stage of litigation, from proceedings being issued against you, right through to fully prepping the barrister for any hearing or trial.

Darren Fletcher

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.