Why did you replace that? That must prove it was faulty!

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The customer rejected the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) on the basis that it was within 30 days of purchase and the vehicle was not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

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Our members pride themselves on their customer service, so when a minor complaint is made, sometimes it seems best to make a small repair even if there was nothing wrong with the vehicle.

We had such a case which recently went to a small claims hearing.

The Claimant (customer) had purchased a vehicle from the Defendant (our member) in early November 2020. He had paid approximately £3,400.

The Claimant became concerned about the vehicle in the following weeks. His concern was the fluid level in the reservoir that feeds the brake and clutch was too low, suggesting there was a serious leak which meant the vehicle was unsafe.

On 30 November 2020, the customer rejected the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) on the basis that it was within 30 days of purchase and the vehicle was not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

He contacted the Defendant and while there was not an issue about whether this was potentially an effective rejection, the issue was whether or not there was a defect to render the vehicle not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

The vehicle was taken to another garage by our member and examined. The garage could not find anything wrong and provided a letter to that effect. However, when the Claimant had dropped the vehicle off at the garage, he had mentioned that he thought the slave cylinder was leaking. Because the Claimant was of the view there may be something wrong, the garage replaced the slave cylinder free of charge as a gesture of goodwill.

The Claimant was unhappy because he had sent the car to reject it, not for work to be done, and so Lawgistics became involved. We initially explained that as there was nothing wrong with the vehicle he could not reject it. However, he then issued legal proceedings against our member for whom we drafted a defence and all subsequent paperwork up to a final small claims hearing.

The Claimant was particularly pedantic, seeking to make currency from the very normal practice of having the Defendant’s registered address the same as their accountants, and even alleging the MOT company were not trading when the MOT took place. Our member had to obtain an email from the DVSA to confirm that the Claimant was not correct.

Expert evidence was instructed by the court at a preliminary hearing, and the subsequent report was largely in the Defendant’s favour.

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At no stage was the Claimant able to confirm the level of the fluid dropped below the midpoint of the reservoir, let alone the minimum mark, and at the hearing, the Claimant had to be constantly steered back to the issues at hand by the judge, as he was representing himself, whilst our member was represented by counsel.

The judge determined that there was no evidence of the fluid falling below the minimum level, no evidence of a leak, and therefore, no evidence that the vehicle was not of satisfactory quality when sold.

The judge found in favour of our member and awarded the costs of the hearing, £275, against the Claimant.

This shows how Lawgistics’ expertise comes to the fore in preparing cases for hearings and trials, and why spending a small amount on a barrister is usually money well spent.

We would always recommend that any legal proceedings you receive are immediately forwarded to us. Don’t be tempted to begin them yourself, that is what we are here for.

Darren FletcherLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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