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Second Hand Car broke after 8 weeks - repair advice required!

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Hi,
Background first...... Question afterwards!
My husband and I purchased a Used Car from a garage for £5000. The car was advertised as in great condition, well looked after and had low mileage for its age (19 years old). The garage seemed very reputable with great reviews. We checked out the car's history and were satisfied that we were getting a safe, reliable car for our family. It was provided with a 30 day warranty.
Within the first month, a brakes warning light came on, which was incredibly concerning. The garage agreed to examine the brakes and gave us a courtesy car whilst they investigated. We also asked the owner to have a look at the rear nearside wheel area as there was a groaning sound at low speeds. Picked the car up... All seemed great, no repairs required, just a reset of the electric counter (it's a Mercedes), and all has been great since. The owner stated that the groaning from the rear passenger wheel was the air spring casing moving up and down. It had been replaced and as the original parts were not available, newer parts were provided and the casing was ever so slightly larger than the original. Accepted this explanation.
 Last week, 8 weeks into the ownership of the vehicle, another message appeared on the dash - 'Stop, Car Too Low!'. We were a mile-ish from home with our family in the car. When we got home, and the car into the garage, the whole drivers side was at an angle. The rear suspension had gone. 
Rang the garage, very pee-d off, only to be told that he would not repair this as he classed it as 'wear and tear'. We are challenging this, and have started proceedings to suggest he really should be doing the work, we are comfortable with our rights under the Consumer Rights Act, and luckily we paid for the vehicle by Credit Card. 
My question is.......
Can we pay to get the repair done by another garage (as we have no vehicle now), and claim the money back from the dealer we bought it from? How is the best way to go about this? We really need a working car! 
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  • Tucosalamanca
    Tucosalamanca Posts: 611 Forumite
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    edited 11 July at 11:40AM
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    Buying a 19yr old car (05 or 55 plate?) is always going to be fraught with risk, regardless of price paid.
    Mercedes of that era are not known for their reliability and you can probably expect more (possibly ongoing) issues going forward.

    The garage will argue that it's 'fair wear and tear', that the suspension might need replacing at this age (if not before) and that it won't be deemed as unsatisfactory quality under CRA.

    Can we pay to get the repair done by another garage (as we have no vehicle now), and claim the money back from the dealer we bought it from? You can try, it sounds like the car needs repair regardless.

    If the garage doesn't want to cooperate, you'll need to take it up with your CC provider or commence legal action.
    How much time do you have spare and how lucky are you feeling?
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,215 Forumite
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    Do you have home insurance? If so, do you have legal expenses cover? If you do, call the Legal Helpline provided by your insurer. They should review whether you have a valid claim under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

    To have a valid claim, you will need to show that the car was faulty at the time you bought it. This is going to be difficult without a third-party report into the suspension to look at whether it was faulty or worn. I would be very surprised if any third-party report concluded that there was a fault present, but you will only know if you commission such a report.  
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 14,331 Forumite
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    Have a look at the last MOT notes to see if any work was done on the suspension or if it was on the advisory list.

    It may just be bad luck and one of those things.  A pothole or repeated hits of potholes can cause a coil to break or crack.  I've had it happen twice in the last six years.  The first caused a dramatic collapse of the front corner of the car (thankfully at about 25mph so I could limp to a safe place) and the second went unnoticed until I had the car serviced.  The second occasion was on a spring only 2 years old.
  • FlorayG
    FlorayG Posts: 128 Forumite
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    My car is 20 years old; I've had it 6 years. Things go wrong suddenly and unexpectedly ALL THE TIME with cars of that age just because of metal fatigue and wear and tear reaching its limit. I honestly wouldn't think you will have much joy claiming unless you have some proof the problem was brewing when you bought the car. Why pay so much for such an old car? Is it a rare classic model? Seems to be a LOT of money for such an old vehicle
  • redped
    redped Posts: 751 Forumite
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    FlorayG said:
    Why pay so much for such an old car? Is it a rare classic model? Seems to be a LOT of money for such an old vehicle
    It isn't really that much for a 19 year old Merc.
  • Tucosalamanca
    Tucosalamanca Posts: 611 Forumite
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    FlorayG said:
    My car is 20 years old; I've had it 6 years. Things go wrong suddenly and unexpectedly ALL THE TIME with cars of that age just because of metal fatigue and wear and tear reaching its limit. I honestly wouldn't think you will have much joy claiming unless you have some proof the problem was brewing when you bought the car. Why pay so much for such an old car? Is it a rare classic model? Seems to be a LOT of money for such an old vehicle
    Agreed. Friends who drive Mercs of that era, generally pay £800 - £1,500 for them (E Class, SLK, ML).
    Facebook is full of ads and quite possibly where the dealer got it from in the first place.

    I drive a 2003 Audi, it would list for around £4,000 on a forecourt. Insurance value is £800, I'd be lucky to sell it for £2k on a very good day and would expect private offers of £1,000 to £1,500.
    It's rare and in vgc, two owner, with fully documented service history (file is several hundred pages).
    I spend hundreds (at least) each year keeping it on the road and it constantly needs attention.
    Suspension and steering components, brake calipers, catalytic convertor, latest was a thermostat a few weeks ago.
    It's a labour of love and certainly not trouble free, despite its condition and history suggesting otherwise.

    At this age, there's a huge difference between forecourt and values elsewhere....
  • stu12345_2
    stu12345_2 Posts: 1,166 Forumite
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    edited 11 July at 1:24PM
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    I watch YouTube chops garage, a small dealer in Devon,he said he has to make good, the  repairs on cars he sells even after a year.
    cos the onus is on him to prove the fault wasn't there when it was sold, not the customer has to prove it,he said that's very hard for a dealer to prove, so he fixes them or offers the customer their money back.

    he says if a car has faults that are expensive before he sells it, he lists the faults and reduces the price by a lot and takes the hit on his profit 

    sometimes if the car is under 10 years old he includes a top if the range  6 month warranty and asks the customer to put a claim in.

    other times  he says if the warranty won't cover it, he will pay for the repair and asks the customer for a contribution , especially if he offers the customer their money back, but the customer wants to keep the car and the repair is too expensive and offering their money back is cheaper for him.
    pay your debt at your rate.not what the creditor demands.cos they have no power.they aren't the police.
  • stu12345_2
    stu12345_2 Posts: 1,166 Forumite
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    edited 11 July at 2:16PM
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    I would go back to garage and state it is the dealer that has to prove the fault wasn't there  when sold and (the customer has 6 months of ownership protection of these from  sale date faults), not you prove it

    if he is still unhelpful, offer to pay half the repairs, then you get new parts which then come with 12 months standard warranty!!!

    if he still won't help , tell him you will start legal proceedings including the costs you have/will do/ done , eg putting right the car fixed at another garage, ( at a non  dealer hourly rate)and taxi costs, hire car costs.

    state this verbally and in a letter, see how he reacts 

    he probably has £3000 wiggle room minus his vat he pays to allow for repairs and still make a profit, so see how much the repair would cost normally

    after watching chops garage on YouTube he acts better and fixes things that he doesn't have to fix for the customer if the customer doesn't bombard him with emails, calls and is friendly, that's why chops garage has a great reputation 
    pay your debt at your rate.not what the creditor demands.cos they have no power.they aren't the police.
  • stu12345_2
    stu12345_2 Posts: 1,166 Forumite
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    edited 11 July at 2:15PM
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    on a footnote a £80000 Merc when new sells for £5000 when 10 years old, why, cos one or two repairs can cost £5000,mainly electrical  repairs,so nobody wants them, even dealers.

    chops garage says a £6000 to£ 7000 Hyundai i20 is his best seller and most reliable small family car.

    imo the only folk driving old mercs are pensioners that take them out twice a month to the bowling club, cos they know any more miles than that risk big repairs and they cant afford it or it doesn't make economic sense to fix it , they usually put private plates on them to disguise  the cars age and  thus look posh and rich to their car  naive  pensioner friends
    pay your debt at your rate.not what the creditor demands.cos they have no power.they aren't the police.
  • easy
    easy Posts: 2,517 Forumite
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    If you "really need a working car"  why, in the name of all that is holy,  would you buy a 19 year-old car?
    When you say "low mileage for it's age" what mileage has it actually done?  Cos I'm prepared to bet its over 100k.  

    You would have got a far better car for £5k  if you hadn't been seduced by the smart badge. 
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say. :)
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