Long -Is small claims worth it? (Garage refusing final right to reject, and malicious counterclaim)

I've written this with loads more detail but will summarize main points as much as I can so its not a huge essay....

In summary: I’m stuck on what to do next regarding being misold a car that has basically been written off due to amount of faults. The garage are refusing a refund/final rejection.

To make things more complicated the garage is falsely claiming I’ve damaged their courtesy car and is threatening to use that against me. Unsure if they could win, but probably? I 100% did not damage the car but its just my word unfortunately (details below).

I would like to know thoughts on if it is worth going to court (I’ve listed my worries below) for small claims, even if just for damages.

Otherwise I think my only other option is to dump the car on We Buy Any Car or something and use what little savings I have left to buy a cheap run around for meantime.

Timeline:

28/7/2023 – Bought the car for £4990 it was described as excellent. They stated on their adverts and website that every car is thoroughly checked by qualified technicians before sale.

Note as this is used against me later – driving is a major part of my job and I do a lot of miles, hence wanting a low mileage car.

On the test drive there was a squeaking noise which I and my friend both immediately asked about but the garage owner and mechanic insisted it was “wheel dust” as the car was hardly ever driven, as shown by mileage. And it would soon disappear. (These guys since problems started, are saying I never said anything on the test drive and was entirely happy).


29/7/2023 to 31/08/2023

After buying the car, it became apparent within two weeks that the tracking was badly off, car was crabbing and got worse. Air conditioning didn’t work.

Mid August the bumper also half fell off on the motorway, dragging along the road.

Also I had booked it in with my local, trusted regular garage to have it checked after buying. They found more faults totalling hundreds of pounds, including:

The nearside track rod end nut was loose and could move by hand

Tracking very badly off on every wheel.

“Rear toe non adjustable – previous rear end impact?”


31/08/2023

The Garage I bought car from first fobbed me off until the warranty period had passed.

Then upon that, they tried arguing with me about repairing or paying for repairs

Managed to make them very reluctantly accept to attempt repairs after Citizens Advice told me what to say to him (car not as described/satisfactory etc, Consumer Rights Act and so on) and its best to let them have a chance of putting the vehicle right.

They also claimed my local garage are cowboys making up lies to get work. So Citizens Advice told me to get two other garage assessments on the issues raised, which I did, which they still scoffed at.

I wanted them to pay for a hire car (I’m self employed so I rely on a car or no work for me) but they absolutely insisted on dropping me a courtesy car which I eventually agreed to (kicking myself now, this is where they got me!)


05/09/2023 to 08/9/2023

Garage finally made it to collect car where they did repairs of issues noted. However, they didn’t fix tracking properly. As advised by citizens advice I had their repairs assessed and all three garages noted tracking still off.

I paid for tracking to be done again myself for £70 two weeks later.

Later on (details below) in October, Toyota Garage after a vehicle healthcheck, verbally told me their repairs were “mostly sloppy and rushed”

The staff member who dropped car back and collected was complaining they had to order genuine parts, "otherwise I’d moan". He was also late collecting and dropping off by hours so I missed jobs, and kept saying I didn’t know what I was doing/other garages are liars etc. This was all verbal though so I guess no proof?

Also 08/11/2023

The courtesy car issue – the garage dropped me a battered Citroen. The sheet of paper for the courtesy car they gave me was just a blank black and white print out, the reg was on it and the date. And I didn’t sign it. The diagram of the car showing any marks was blank.

The staff member on collecting it back came to my door, and immediately confronted me saying he had looked at the car and I “had crashed it all down one side” exact quote. He phoned the garage owner to tell him this.

When I obviously totally denied this and asked to see where this so-called big crash damage was, it ended up being a light 2cm scratch on a bit of paintwork at the back.

At this point staff member said (verbal not recorded unfortunately so he is denying it) that the previous knocks and scrapes and a large dent were not recorded on the form but they were “old” so they “couldn’t say that was me”.  But he insisted I’ve crashed it.

They said if I bother them again they would claim against me for this vague, extensive damage I did! Totally false claim!

I know timestamps can be edited so I’m concerned they will just take photos of the battered car and claim those were me after all, if it comes to it.

I stupidly only took two poor photos of the courtesy car when I got it, but it was dark and doesn’t show detail or whole car, so pretty useless. I have lots of clearer, quality pics of the scratch and around the rest of the battered car afterwards (as the staff member was making those claims on collection though).


30/10/2023

The side indicator lights both started to fall out, loose

 

15/11/2023

Car making dodgy noises and electric key failed. Local garage said to go to Toyota garage as key would need to be from them.

They did a health check for the dodgy noises while I was there, and found:

Tracking is badly out again

Brake fluid test failed (and three of the things on the wheels are frozen solid so would break and cost lots if they tried to remove them to replace brake fluid, they could only work on one that they could remove – apologies I’m not a mechanic but hope this makes sense).

Auxiliary belt and links worn need replacing/work

Wishbone brushes are badly deteriorated/failing

Brake pads need replacing

 

As mentioned due to my work, I drive a lot. I had done 8000 miles roughly at this point. However, I’ve heard the wishbone parts fail at 40 to 60k miles so surely that part isn’t caused by me and my mileage? Not sure about the rest to be honest.

I haven’t paid for an engineers report for more detail yet as waiting to see if worth the cost.


Response:

In garage’s response, they are focusing on blaming me due to my mileage and not driving carefully, age of the car. Skirted over the major issues.

Also my tyre was sliced by a vandal that morning so Toyota had to note and change it for me (joys of my neighbourhood, spate of car attacks that month) but they’re saying a cut tyre shows proof I don’t take care of my car. Ditto as a level of something was getting low.

They refused right to reject, and said if I start court they will strongly defend themselves and counterclaim for damage to their courtesy car (yeah, that threat has reappeared). 

They still state that none of the paperwork, invoices and garage reports and even a video from Toyota hold up as sufficient evidence. 


If I go to court for refund (and also damages too)?

I have a couple of friends who have had legal issues before and one warned me even if I win:

1.      They can reduce my refund by 25p a mile. So I may only end up with something like £2k for the car anyway?

2.      They can just end their company (limited) and refuse to pay and that’ll be stress chasing them, or may not be paid at all. Plus I would have my court costs on top of a rubbish refund?

So she thinks I shouldn’t bother, especially if they can win their counterclaim for the courtesy car.

Other friend thinks it’s worth looking into. Other reviews  have said similar to me (dodgy, faulty cars) but the garage seems to have these removed quite quickly. And he thinks they’re trying to intimidate me. 

Thanks for reading, sorry for length! 

 

 



Comments

  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,696
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    edited 30 December 2023 at 3:42PM
    As you say, a long and detailed post.


    But first, some basics.

    • You don't say much about the car. What is the make, model, variant? Age and mileage when you bought? Full service history, previous MOTs?
    • How exactly was the vehicle described in the dealer's ads, Autotrader, etc?
    • What exactly is your job? What does it entail? What word defines it in your insurance and what category is your insurance (sdp, sdpc, etc)?
    Edited to add:
    • Just to confirm, you took delivery of the car (drove it home) on 29 July? You formally rejected the car (even though they fobbed you off) on 31 August?
    • You drove it for a total of 8,000 miles (scary with brakes like that!)? What mileage had you done when you rejected it on 31 August and what mileage did you do after you rejected it?
    Based on what you have said, I think they could refuse your rejection of the car on a number of grounds.

    Regardless of anything else the car must be at least roadworthy when it is sold. That means safe enough to pass an MOT. So you are entitled to some of the repairs such as brakes and track rod ends. Perhaps not aircon regassing, etc.

    What is the relevance of the courtesy car being a Citroen?
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,405
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    That is a long and detailed post but omits some quite important information:
     - Type, age, mileage of the car?
     - How did you pay?
     - Type of dealer (franchise, supermarket, large chain, small chain, established independent, fly-by-night)?
     - What checks did you do prior to purchase?  HPI?

    These may well be the most pertinent elements of the post:
    LB640 said:

    28/7/2023 – Bought the car for £4990 

    05/09/2023 to 08/9/2023  Garage finally made it to collect car where they did repairs of issues noted. 

    Also 08/11/2023  The courtesy car issue 

    I had done 8000 miles roughly at this point. 

    They refused right to reject, and said if I start court they will strongly defend themselves and counterclaim for damage to their courtesy car (yeah, that threat has reappeared). 

    If I go to court for refund (and also damages too)?

    I have a couple of friends who have had legal issues before and one warned me even if I win:

    1.      They can reduce my refund by 25p a mile. So I may only end up with something like £2k for the car anyway?

    2.      They can just end their company (limited) and refuse to pay  

    You end by inferring the Dealer is a bit "rogue" (risk they'll just wind up the company), yet they have previously attempted to address the issues and provided a courtesy car which is, perhaps, counter to how you'd  expect a "rogue" Dealer to behave.

    If you think the Dealer is "rogue" then your Consumer Rights become somewhat moot as you won't get any money regardless.

    You accept that you will have to make some contribution for the time and mileage you have had the car and gained beneficial use.  I am not sure where you get the 25 pence per mile from.  I would expect a mileage levy at around 10 pence per mile (depending on the age of the car at the outset).

    Where is the car now and what is the status of the car now?

    If you have the car and it is working, one option would be to obtain a price from the online car buying services (WBAC, Motorway, etc) and compare what you would lose by simply selling the car on with what you would lose by rejecting the car and accepting the reduction for beneficial use.  If that is a similar number, simply selling the car on may be the most pragmatic route forward.







    LB640 said:
    I've written this with loads more detail but will summarize main points as much as I can so its not a huge essay....

    In summary: I’m stuck on what to do next regarding being misold a car that has basically been written off due to amount of faults. The garage are refusing a refund/final rejection.

    To make things more complicated the garage is falsely claiming I’ve damaged their courtesy car and is threatening to use that against me. Unsure if they could win, but probably? I 100% did not damage the car but its just my word unfortunately (details below).

    I would like to know thoughts on if it is worth going to court (I’ve listed my worries below) for small claims, even if just for damages.

    Otherwise I think my only other option is to dump the car on We Buy Any Car or something and use what little savings I have left to buy a cheap run around for meantime.

    Timeline:

    28/7/2023 – Bought the car for £4990 it was described as excellent. They stated on their adverts and website that every car is thoroughly checked by qualified technicians before sale.

    Note as this is used against me later – driving is a major part of my job and I do a lot of miles, hence wanting a low mileage car.

    On the test drive there was a squeaking noise which I and my friend both immediately asked about but the garage owner and mechanic insisted it was “wheel dust” as the car was hardly ever driven, as shown by mileage. And it would soon disappear. (These guys since problems started, are saying I never said anything on the test drive and was entirely happy).


    29/7/2023 to 31/08/2023

    After buying the car, it became apparent within two weeks that the tracking was badly off, car was crabbing and got worse. Air conditioning didn’t work.

    Mid August the bumper also half fell off on the motorway, dragging along the road.

    Also I had booked it in with my local, trusted regular garage to have it checked after buying. They found more faults totalling hundreds of pounds, including:

    The nearside track rod end nut was loose and could move by hand

    Tracking very badly off on every wheel.

    “Rear toe non adjustable – previous rear end impact?”


    31/08/2023

    The Garage I bought car from first fobbed me off until the warranty period had passed.

    Then upon that, they tried arguing with me about repairing or paying for repairs

    Managed to make them very reluctantly accept to attempt repairs after Citizens Advice told me what to say to him (car not as described/satisfactory etc, Consumer Rights Act and so on) and its best to let them have a chance of putting the vehicle right.

    They also claimed my local garage are cowboys making up lies to get work. So Citizens Advice told me to get two other garage assessments on the issues raised, which I did, which they still scoffed at.

    I wanted them to pay for a hire car (I’m self employed so I rely on a car or no work for me) but they absolutely insisted on dropping me a courtesy car which I eventually agreed to (kicking myself now, this is where they got me!)


    05/09/2023 to 08/9/2023

    Garage finally made it to collect car where they did repairs of issues noted. However, they didn’t fix tracking properly. As advised by citizens advice I had their repairs assessed and all three garages noted tracking still off.

    I paid for tracking to be done again myself for £70 two weeks later.

    Later on (details below) in October, Toyota Garage after a vehicle healthcheck, verbally told me their repairs were “mostly sloppy and rushed”

    The staff member who dropped car back and collected was complaining they had to order genuine parts, "otherwise I’d moan". He was also late collecting and dropping off by hours so I missed jobs, and kept saying I didn’t know what I was doing/other garages are liars etc. This was all verbal though so I guess no proof?

    Also 08/11/2023

    The courtesy car issue – the garage dropped me a battered Citroen. The sheet of paper for the courtesy car they gave me was just a blank black and white print out, the reg was on it and the date. And I didn’t sign it. The diagram of the car showing any marks was blank.

    The staff member on collecting it back came to my door, and immediately confronted me saying he had looked at the car and I “had crashed it all down one side” exact quote. He phoned the garage owner to tell him this.

    When I obviously totally denied this and asked to see where this so-called big crash damage was, it ended up being a light 2cm scratch on a bit of paintwork at the back.

    At this point staff member said (verbal not recorded unfortunately so he is denying it) that the previous knocks and scrapes and a large dent were not recorded on the form but they were “old” so they “couldn’t say that was me”.  But he insisted I’ve crashed it.

    They said if I bother them again they would claim against me for this vague, extensive damage I did! Totally false claim!

    I know timestamps can be edited so I’m concerned they will just take photos of the battered car and claim those were me after all, if it comes to it.

    I stupidly only took two poor photos of the courtesy car when I got it, but it was dark and doesn’t show detail or whole car, so pretty useless. I have lots of clearer, quality pics of the scratch and around the rest of the battered car afterwards (as the staff member was making those claims on collection though).


    30/10/2023

    The side indicator lights both started to fall out, loose

     

    15/11/2023

    Car making dodgy noises and electric key failed. Local garage said to go to Toyota garage as key would need to be from them.

    They did a health check for the dodgy noises while I was there, and found:

    Tracking is badly out again

    Brake fluid test failed (and three of the things on the wheels are frozen solid so would break and cost lots if they tried to remove them to replace brake fluid, they could only work on one that they could remove – apologies I’m not a mechanic but hope this makes sense).

    Auxiliary belt and links worn need replacing/work

    Wishbone brushes are badly deteriorated/failing

    Brake pads need replacing

     

    As mentioned due to my work, I drive a lot. I had done 8000 miles roughly at this point. However, I’ve heard the wishbone parts fail at 40 to 60k miles so surely that part isn’t caused by me and my mileage? Not sure about the rest to be honest.

    I haven’t paid for an engineers report for more detail yet as waiting to see if worth the cost.


    Response:

    In garage’s response, they are focusing on blaming me due to my mileage and not driving carefully, age of the car. Skirted over the major issues.

    Also my tyre was sliced by a vandal that morning so Toyota had to note and change it for me (joys of my neighbourhood, spate of car attacks that month) but they’re saying a cut tyre shows proof I don’t take care of my car. Ditto as a level of something was getting low.

    They refused right to reject, and said if I start court they will strongly defend themselves and counterclaim for damage to their courtesy car (yeah, that threat has reappeared). 

    They still state that none of the paperwork, invoices and garage reports and even a video from Toyota hold up as sufficient evidence. 


    If I go to court for refund (and also damages too)?

    I have a couple of friends who have had legal issues before and one warned me even if I win:

    1.      They can reduce my refund by 25p a mile. So I may only end up with something like £2k for the car anyway?

    2.      They can just end their company (limited) and refuse to pay and that’ll be stress chasing them, or may not be paid at all. Plus I would have my court costs on top of a rubbish refund?

    So she thinks I shouldn’t bother, especially if they can win their counterclaim for the courtesy car.

    Other friend thinks it’s worth looking into. Other reviews  have said similar to me (dodgy, faulty cars) but the garage seems to have these removed quite quickly. And he thinks they’re trying to intimidate me. 

    Thanks for reading, sorry for length! 

     

     




  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,626
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    edited 30 December 2023 at 6:21PM
    Bought the car for £4990, hence wanting a low mileage car. 
    I’m self employed so I rely on a car or no work for me

    So this is a B2B sale, not a consumer one? Not a courier or taxi driver are you?

    I do wonder what low mileage you can get for sub £5k?

    So just what is this car? Age mileage etc?

    Life in the slow lane
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,405
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Forumite

    I’m self employed so I rely on a car or no work for me

    So this is a B2B sale, not a consumer one? 

    I have, so far, extended benefit-of-doubt as to whether this is a consumer sale or B2B.

    It does depend on what type of work and what type of vehicle to some extent.  Also, how the accounting for business mileage is processed.

    I have assumed a regular family car and charging the "business" at AMAP rates - 45 and 25 pence per mile
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