Sale of Goods Law Rights

legal updates

Many dealers do not appreciate that if a vehicle shows a fault within a few weeks the customer can claim for a full refund.

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.

The rights and remedies for consumers under Sale of Goods law is in need of an update since it is confusing both for the customer and the dealer. 

Originally, the customer, if they established there was a fault had the choice of either:- 

a) getting a full refund (rejecting the goods) providing they opted for this within, usually, a few weeks of finding the vehicle was faulty when sold. 

b) getting compensation which had to be kept to a minimum (mitigated) and, of course, frequently involved the dealer repairing the fault. 

Many dealers do not appreciate that if a vehicle shows a fault within a few weeks the customer can claim for a full refund. There is a myth that the dealer should always be allowed to try a repair.  Not so.  Often the customer can be encouraged to allow a repair but this is a bonus. The right of rejection has a big bearing on the consequences of the case.  A lot of vehicles sold cost more than £5000 means that, if a solicitor gets involved, it can claim its costs which for a simple case can amount to another £5000 easily. So beware of fighting such a case if the outcome is doubtful. 
Another myth is that the dealer should have three chances to repair before the customer can have their money back.  Again, not so! 

The Sale of Goods legislation was then extended to allow extra remedies if a vehicle is not of satisfactory quality when sold. 

The extra choices are:- 

c) a repair or replacement 

If these are chosen then they must be completed without significant inconvenience to the customer. However, the dealer can decline either repair or replacement if one is disproportionately costly in comparison with the alternative.  So, the requirement for a £1500 replacement engine on a £2000 car would be disproportionately costly compared with getting the customer into another vehicle at £2000 or thereabouts. 

If neither repair or replacement is realistically possible then the customer can request instead:- 


Leading experts in print, promotional clothing, staff uniforms, branded merchandise and PPE. Involution is your brand partner for promotional marketing and workwear, a one-stop-shop for your branded marketing needs for any business size and industry.

d) a partial or full refund 

If the customer has had some significant use before the problem materialised then only a partial refund is available 

The six month rule for establishing liability only applies to these additional remedies and not the basic previous remedies of rejection/compensation.

Dennis ChapmanIn remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015Read More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Maintaining professionalism in customer disputes

Your emails may be presented to a judge for review to help decide on how you have handled the matter before the court’s involvement.

Assist your consumer… before it’s too late

If a consumer is ignored or refused assistance by you, and a repair is carried out, you will no longer be able to inspect the failed component.

Car sold with a fault

Ensure the consumer is aware, understands, and most importantly, accepts the vehicle is subject to fault.

What you pay for is what you get

The consumer presented our member with the bill because they wrongly thought they had the right to do what they wanted.

Customer reneges on agreed not distance sale

Our member explained they do not offer a delivery service and do not engage in distance selling.

Consumer “Handcuffed” by Deduction for Use Settlement

Don’t sign any contract unless you are fully aware of its terms!

Inspecting part-exchange vehicles

It is always a good idea to keep a paper trail for any transaction, especially in situations where representations are being made by a consumer.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.