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Thread: Faulty second hand car claim?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019

    Default Faulty second hand car claim?

    Hi all,

    I'm hoping you can clarify whether I have grounds to push forward/make a claim regarding a second hand car I bought from a trader that has given me nothing but grief! Brief details below...

    The car was purchased in February for £5600, it's a 2003 but with low mileage (46000). It was paid via bank transfer but some of the money used was through bank loan. (The car has now done 52000 miles).

    Very soon after purchasing the car started having intermittent gearbox faults, the car would stall (it's an auto!), the gearbox fault light would come on and the car would go into limp mode. This is the main problem, the car also had a battery drain issue, faulty PDC sensor and faulty o2 sensor. The latter problems are things I may expect for a car of this age and did not bother me so much.

    I used to work in a dealership of the same manufacturer so have lots of experienced technician friends so I did not both the trader to begin with as I thought I was best placed to get it fixed. Unfortunately it seems the problem is hard to diagnose and is costing lots of time and money, i've been having to borrow cars and on one occasion I couldn't make it into work.

    In May I decided to text the trader to make him aware of the problems but stated that I wasn't going to ask him for anything at that point. A few days ago I decided that the car was causing me too much grief so emailed him (after not being able to get through to him by phone) detailing the problems I text him about further and asking for his assistance. His response was that he wouldn't help toward the cost of repair as I had waited too long and continued to use the car which may have made the problem worse. The advice of my technician friends was that it would not cause further problems with the car unless I drove it in limp mode (which I don't, unless i'm half way through a journey and it doesn't reset after turning ignition off and on).

    I have limited knowledge about the consumer rights act 2015 but understand that within 6 months if the car is faulty then it must be repaired at the cost of the trader and it is down to him to disprove that the issue wasn't there at time of purchase. I honestly believe that the fault was there at time of purchase, or intermittently before time of purchase...

    Is the trader right, will I struggle as I didn't inform him as soon as it happened? Or do I still have grounds to pursue?

    I appreciate your help and advice in advance,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Firstly you need to decide right now what you are going to do, reject the car/claim or carry on and repair it at your cost.

    If you are looking at any type of claim or trying to reject the car then my opinion is you need proper legal guidance from a solicitor/expert.

    To me it certainly appears you have done everything wrong so far, but again that’s just my opinion.

    Delayed notifying trader.
    Did not give trader chance to inspect and fix
    Now three/four months later bring up issue.

    You may still be in luck under the six month part of the act but you need to seek some legal advice and go from there if the trader is not willing to assist you now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008


    As above, you have done everything wrong. As soon as the fault(s) appeared you should have told the dealer and if within 30 days you have the right to reject outright. Just because the car is older does not mean it is okay to have a faulty oxygen sensor as this makes the car unroadworthy because the emissions will probably be out of limit.
    Now you are into the next part of the act - the 6 months section - and the CRA 2015 states that it is up to the dealer to prove the faults did not exist when he sold you the car. Not for you to prove anything. The ball is in his court. So if the faults were there when you bought the car you are still okay. A statement from the dealership would be a good place to start and send the dealer a copy with a letter requiring him to repair the car fully at his expense (keep copies and send by recorded delivery). Presumably he will tell you to do one so you need to decide what to do.
    If he refuses you can still reject the car. However, bear in mind that he can lawfully make a reasonable deduction (not £100 a day) for each day you have used the car after the 30 day limit. In effect he will have hired you the car. You need to balance the cost of the deduction plus the cost of changing or cancelling your insurance and if you paid the car tax in a 6 or 12 month lump sum you will lose some money when the tax is surrendered, against keeping the car and repairing it. It sounds as though the gearbox problem may become very expensive and a good time to cut your losses.
    If he fails to respond or attempt the repair to the gearbox then reject it. It sounds as though he will not back down and comply with the law so you do need to be prepared to go to court if you make legal noises. You can get free advice from Consumer Direct (Citizens Advice) and you can get a free telephone call with a solicitor if they advertise free initial consultation. You can download template letters from C.D.'s website to use.
    Oh and don't quote your mechanic friend who says driving it in limp mode will damage the car. It won't. That's why it is often called limp home mode - it allows you to drive to have it repaired.
    Last edited by Hometune; 19-06-19 at 23:06.

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