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Bought a faulty car?

Buying a car can be a significant expense, and whether you’re buying new or used, privately or from a dealer, you don’t usually expect the vehicle to be faulty or to develop serious faults not long after you bought it. If you realise that you’ve bought a car that’s faulty, or your new vehicle isn’t as it was described by the seller, you may wish to return it and request a refund, or you might find that you’ll be faced with a large bill to fix it.

The situation can be made more stressful and inconvenient if the seller of the car either refuses to deal with the fault or let you return the car and provide a refund or a price reduction, or they might totally refuse to accept liability for the fault that the vehicle has. There can be various ways to try and resolve this kind of situation, and your rights as a consumer will depend on the circumstances involved.

Our specialist dispute resolution team can give expert advice in this area of law and help you to achieve the best possible outcome from the situation. Call us on 0161 696 6178.

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What are my rights if I buy a faulty car?

If you buy a faulty car, your rights depend somewhat on where you purchased the vehicle and how it was described to you before you agreed to buy. There are different rights if you bought a car and it’s faulty from a private seller i.e. the car’s current owner than if you buy from a registered trader or dealer.

For this reason, buying a car privately is one of the riskier ways to buy a used car, but people often choose this route as privately sold used vehicles are usually cheaper than if buying the same make, model and year from a dealer.

Buying a new or used car from a dealer does give you more protection if the vehicle turns out to be faulty, as covered later in this guide.

Buying a car at auction can be more complex in terms of understanding your rights if it turns out to be faulty, because different legislation may apply in different situations e.g. live car auctions can operate differently to some online auctions and different auction houses may have different terms of sale.

What can I do if I bought a faulty car privately?

Being sold a faulty car in a private sale can be quite difficult to resolve, as there are less protections for the buyer. However, by law, the car must match the description that the seller provided, it must be roadworthy and the seller must have the legal right to sell the vehicle on, i.e. be the current registered keeper or have permission if they are selling on the registered keeper’s behalf.

If you’ve bought a faulty car from a private seller, the first step is always to contact the seller and let them know about the fault. If the fault means that the car isn’t as it was described or is not safe to be driven, you are within your rights to request a refund and return the car to the seller.

If the seller refuses this, you may be able to claim the money back either via the small claims court (if the amount that changed hands was under £10,000) or for high value cars, you can make a claim with the help of a solicitor if an agreement can’t be reached with the seller another way.

For help resolving a dispute related to a private car sale, call our team on 0161 696 6178.

Can I return a used car if faulty?

If the used car that you bought from a private seller is faulty, in a way that makes it unroadworthy or means that the description provided by the seller isn’t accurate, you can request that you return the car and receive a refund for what you paid for the vehicle. If the fault that you find does not meet these criteria i.e. it does not make the vehicle unroadworthy and was not something covered by the seller’s description, they are under no legal obligation to accept the car that you want to return or to offer you a refund.

If you believe that the seller of the faulty car has not fulfilled their obligations to you, you may wish to dispute their version of events and make a claim against them to get your money back. Our team can offer expert advice in this area and let you know where you stand from a legal point of view. Get in touch by calling 0161 696 6178.

What if I bought a faulty car from a dealer?

Buying a faulty car from a dealer is something that nobody expects, but unfortunately it does sometimes happen. There are some basic protections which mean that you have the right to reject a faulty car bought from a garage and get a full refund within 30 days of the purchase.

If the fault only appears once this time period has passed, you do have fewer rights but you can still ask the dealer for a repair or replacement, or a partial refund to cover the cost of the work. The fault must be proven not to be due to normal wear and tear of you driving it since you bought it, so the sooner that you contact the dealer to report the problem, the better.

If you’ve been sold a faulty car by a dealer and you don’t think that they are fulfilling their legal obligations to you as a buyer, you might want expert advice about what to do next. Our team can help with dispute resolution to help achieve the best possible outcome from your situation if you bought a faulty car from a trader.

Can I return a faulty used car to a dealer?

With a car bought from a garage that turns out to be faulty, you can usually return it for a full refund within 30 days of the purchase. After this, the dealer may instead ask for an opportunity to fix the problem. It’s important to keep a record of any conversations or communication with the dealer and to get anything they have agreed to on the phone or in person in written form too e.g. an email.

You may also have some additional protection if you have bought the car on finance or paid for all or part of it on a credit card.

If you have tried to resolve the issue with the dealer and are unable to agree on things, you can still reject the car within six months of taking delivery of it, by providing details in writing of why the car is being rejected. The dealer may contest this, so you may require dispute resolution services to help sort the situation out and get some or all of your money back. Get in touch with our dispute resolution team by calling 0161 696 6178.

What if I get refused by the car dealer that sold me a faulty car?

If you bought a faulty car from a dealer and they refuse to refund you, fix the problem or allow you to reject the vehicle, you might be able to make a claim against them to get your money back. Our team of faulty car lawyers are experienced in cases like these and can help you to resolve the dispute with the dealer, usually before court proceedings are required.

It might be that the issue has been escalated from the dealer to the car’s manufacturer and your dispute is now with them. If they are not fulfilling their legal obligations to you then our faulty car solicitors can help. Get in touch for free initial advice and to find out more by calling 0161 696 6178.

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