The finance industry focuses on durability, and misses the point!

legal updates

There is plenty of sound legal authority that makes clear a buyer of a used vehicle must expect that faults will develop sooner or later.

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.

Finance houses increasingly, and often deliberately, seek to misinterpret the law for their self-serving ends. They argue the legal notion of “durability” as a sort of silver bullet against reasoned argument and cogent evidence.

Having grasped that the law is not necessarily designed to allow entitled consumers to drive about for X months, Y miles before something goes wrong and then simply return a vehicle to the motor trader to repair or seek some other remedy, finance companies have now collectively alighted on this latest wheeze to keep the consumer sweet and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at bay, while simultaneously throwing the much-maligned trader under the bus of consumerism.

There is plenty of sound legal authority that makes clear a buyer of a used vehicle must expect that faults will develop sooner or later, which remains good law, despite the provisions of the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015.

In the persuasive case of Thain v Anniesland Trade Centre (1997), the court found in relation to durability and satisfactory quality that:

“People who buy second-hand cars get them at less than the original price in large part because second-hand cars have attached to them an increased risk of expensive repairs.”

On that basis alone, buyers of second-hand cars must accept the risks inevitably attached to such cars due to wear of components with uncertain failure times, and as a result, often pay a much-reduced price from its price when new.

The courts have consistently found that even a negligible degree of durability may not represent unsatisfactory quality when a car is old and heavily used. Durability, in these circumstances, is purely a matter of luck and not something that any reasonable person would expect or demand.

Here at Lawgistics, we have been told in terms of finance that durability is: “a separate focus within the industry” which implies that the industry thinks it can make its own rules to suit itself, and it cannot.

Indeed, durability is only one of five aspects cited in CRA 2015, which “in appropriate cases” impact upon the quality of goods, and yet this is now the industry focus regardless. The key word here is “appropriate” as in most used vehicle cases, it most certainly is not.

Durability is a matter for legal opinion only based on the facts of any given case, and the court’s interpretation of the relevant law, it is not some nebulous catch-all argument for finance to randomly bandy about, and this seems to elude them. More worrying still are the barely veiled attempts we see by finance companies to direct and influence expert opinion to comment on durability, which they have no place to do. Moreover, any expert tempted to offer such an opinion for the benefit of its paymasters rather than to discharge its overriding duty to provide expert evidence within their field of expertise only for the benefit of the court, and not offer a legal opinion, which is a matter exclusively for the court, risks censure, not least since we/our sister CIC are watching… and you will be called out.

DMS NavigatorDealer Management System software for Car Sales, Aftersales and eCommerce

Our dealers use us to help them be more Efficient and Profitable!

You can use our Dealer and Lead Management software to integrate all dealership departments, both online and physical ; providing all in-house functions; Invoicing, Stock Management, Accounting and Marketing as well as interfacing for advertising, ecommerce and more.

Howard TilneyHead of Strategy / Legal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Have motor finance lenders scored an own goal?

A clear admission from two large motor finance lenders that they have no clue as to what their dealer networks are doing.

Always prep, check, then check again

If you state that every vehicle comes with a new MOT, then ensure that they do!

Deposit and Fair Contractual Terms

Explore the intricacies of contract commitments and the bounds of consumer rights in our latest analysis, where a £3000 deposit dispute underscores the significance of clear terms and buyer responsibilities.

FCA Commission Review: Separating fact from fiction in the wake of scaremongering

Attend a complimentary seminar hosted by the FCA for first-hand information – Scheduled for Wednesday, 24 January 2024.

The FOS reports over 10,000 motor finance complaints: Are we really surprised?

The good news currently is the FCA is focussing its attention on the lender and not our members.

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.

What? You want me to pay after nearly 6 years?

After 5 years, 8 months, and 41,000 miles, there was a problem with the vehicle, and it ultimately required a new engine costing £4,600.

Get in touch

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

Phone
01480 455500
Address

Vinpenta House
High Causeway
Whittlesey
Peterborough
PE7 1AE

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.