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When the Car You've Just Bought Breaks Down

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 25 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Car Seller Rights Dealer Trader New

Picture the scene...you've just bought the car you've had your eye on, and it's your pride and joy. Before it's even had a chance to get dirty, you're driving it around and it makes a terrible noise - or simply refuses to start one morning. When you've stopped shouting at it, and investigated all the obvious causes, you realise the car isn't going anywhere soon, and you need to know what to do next. What can you do if you're stuck with a car that doesn't do what it's supposed to?

First Things First...Where Did You Buy The Car?

Sadly, a lot depends on where you bought the car from. It's only reasonable though - you wouldn't expect to get the same quality from buying a car for £500 from someone advertising in the local small ads as you would if you went to a high end dealer and spent £30,000. If you buy from an individual 'not selling in the course of a business' you have very few rights. The only rights you have against a private seller are that the car must be as described (the mileage must be correct, and it must have a full service history if that's how it was advertised for example). The phrase, "Nice little runner" has no standing in UK law.

If you bought the car from a trader, but it was second hand, you have rights under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act. This act says that anything you buy has to be of satisfactory quality, and that (among other things) it should be durable, as described, and suitable for any use you made known at the time of purchase. The durability factor takes into account the age and price of the goods, so if you buy a nearly new model and it's refusing to budge after a few weeks you have more rights to get your money back than if it's five years old with 120,000 miles on the clock. The keyword with cars, as with all consumer purchases, is 'reasonable.' If the car is older, you do still have rights, and you may still be able to negotiate a refund. But you may have to accept a free repair, if that's possible.

How Did you Pay For The Car?

The payment method can make a difference too. If you pay cash for a car, you don't have any rights under the Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, but if you bought it with a loan or HP agreement arranged by the garage, you can ask the credit company to take up the case if the seller is being unreasonable. Beware though - the protection only applies to loans or agreements linked to the sale. If you take out a separate loan with your bank, it's not a linked sale and so you're on your own.

Motor Trade Associations - What can they do?

One way to avoid dodgy car deals is to make sure that any garage or seller that you buy from is a member of a motor trade association - look for a symbol or sign. It means that they have agreed to follow the association's code of practice. Look out for The RMI (Retail Motor Industry Federation) or the Scottish Motor Trade Association - you can ask them to tell you whether the dealer is a member. The RMI has its own conciliation service and a helpline number you can call if you can't get anywhere with the dealer.

Hopefully your car will run like a dream - but you do have rights if it doesn't, so don't be afraid to insist on them.

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Hi. Today my brother purchasedhis 1st car from a dealership. Cost him £3000 paid with a debit card. My dad collected/drove car home. It broke down on moterway after 5miles. White smoke blowing out/lack of power. I have found lots of bad reviews about issues with this garage/service/cars. I don't think it'll be likely they refund him? My brother has contacted his bank to cancel the payment. He will try to return the car tomorrow as garage was closing as this all happened. Can anyone please tell me what they thinkthe best thing to do is? Do we have any rights to attempt to cancel payment? Thank you
Smc - 25-Oct-18 @ 9:42 PM
Hi I bought a car privately just over a week ago.And the person I got it from said everything that needed doing because of the advisory has been done.and said he will give me 30day if anything was wrong with it.Well when I went to look at it was their asking question for quite some time .He also said he would bring paper work over when the car came to me.Got the car and no paper work it also has a oil leak been in touch with him and he not replying to anything. Theirs a few other bits that need doing as well and he promised me he would come over but nothing .what can be done to get something sorted out its upset set me as I am disabled and need a car to get around.He promised me work would be done on it if need .up to 30day from the day I got the car.really don't know what to do .I have a witness for everything he said about the car.please can u give me some info what to do next
Gilly - 24-Oct-18 @ 9:07 AM
Hi, bought a Mini Cooper privately 6days ago and today the gear box has gone, can you tell me if I just have to get it fixed my self or I’m I in any Wright’s to get money back with it only been 6dayd? I’ve rang the man to tell him and he said no sold as seen, his son his a mechanic just has me thinking did they know already?
J - 7-Sep-18 @ 10:34 PM
My son bought a car privately and paid £5000 by bank transfer, he drove it 10 miles and then it broke down. He is having to have it recovered 400 miles home as the buyer refused to take car back and became abusive. AA don’t know what is wrong with car but suggests the engine could be unfixable.
TB74 - 15-Jul-18 @ 5:45 PM
Hi I purchased a 2011 ds3 back in Dec 2017, 59,830 miles on it have had jiggly issues parking sensor not working, exhaust mounts all 4 needing welded, discs and pads badly worn and pitted in April the engine light Cameron has been in and out of garage with warranty covering cost and now has a turbo actuator arm problem the finance company are telling me if it was inherent at time of purchase I’m not entitled to repair through them and I will have to foot the bill. Is this correct and what has happened to my consumer right side if this is the case as it is still faulty within 6 months
Shellyf - 19-Jun-18 @ 4:27 PM
lou - Your Question:
Hi I bought a vw golf tdi 2.0 diesel for 2000 with 106.000 on the clock I got it from a car dealership, I had it for about a day and the turbo had gone and loads of smoke coming out the exhaust I pulled over staight away and got greenflag to get me home all I want is it to be repaired as ive already had to put a new starter motor on it since ive bought it which isn't long.should the dealership be liable to pay for the repairs?

Our Response:
Depending on the description you were given of the car at the time of purchase, if this happened within 30 days, you should be able to get the dealer to repair/replace it. Please read our guide Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-May-18 @ 11:14 AM
Hi I bought a vw golf tdi 2.0 diesel for 2000 with 106.000 on the clock I got it from a car dealership, i had it for about a day and the turbo had gone and loads of smoke coming out the exhaust i pulled over staight away and got greenflag to get me home all i want is it to be repaired as ive already had to put a new starter motor on it since ive bought it which isn't long..should the dealership be liable to pay for the repairs?
lou - 9-May-18 @ 6:27 PM
Russ - Your Question:
Hi looking for some advice, I purchased a van £2,000 cash and a four year finance deal on the 23rd March 2018, it broke down on the motorway 28 days later with engine failure, the van didn’t show any signs of this happening, I was doing 60 to 65mph the van is fitted with a 70 mph limiter, when it lost power and cut out I had smoke in the cab I pulled over when it was safe and thought it was on fire.The dealer has been very helpful so far, I had to pay for the van to get back to them at £460.00, I’ve lost days at work I’ve had to hire a vehicle.They have made a diagnosis and said the engine has no compression and it’s due to severe over heating, and it would of gave me signs of getting hot.As I told them no oil light, engine management light came on and temp gauge was normal.This is part of the reply I have had.“It would have been easier for us to have a successful warranty claim had the engine not ended up destroyed as the report from the garage reads engine driven to destruction. This now leaves the burden on the person operating the vehicle at the time”Where do I go from here??Any help would be appreciated Regards Russ

Our Response:
This doesn't sound like grounds for refusing a refund under Consumer Rights Legislation, you may have to pursue it via the courts but first, call the finance company and see if they can offer any support. We're assuming you haven't covered a hugh number of miles (i.e 10,000+) in the four weeks you had it of course - in which case the dealer might have a point.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 1-May-18 @ 12:40 PM
Hi looking for some advice, I purchased a van £2,000 cash and a four year finance deal on the23rd March 2018, it broke down on the motorway 28 days later with engine failure, the van didn’t show any signs of this happening, I was doing 60 to 65mph the van is fitted with a 70 mph limiter, when it lost power and cut out I had smoke in the cab I pulled over when it was safe and thought it was on fire. The dealer has been very helpful so far, I had to pay for the van to get back to them at £460.00, I’ve lost days at work I’ve had to hire a vehicle. They have made a diagnosis and said the engine has no compression and it’s due to severe over heating, and it would of gave me signs of getting hot. As I told them no oil light, engine management light came on and temp gauge was normal. This is part of the reply I have had. “It would have been easier for us to have a successful warranty claim had the engine not ended up destroyed as the report from the garage reads engine driven to destruction. This now leaves the burden on the person operating the vehicle at the time” Where do I go from here?? Any help would be appreciated Regards Russ
Russ - 30-Apr-18 @ 7:02 PM
Hi, I just purchased a Land Rover for 6k, about 2 months ago, very suddenly the clutch dropped and is undrivable, I had it towed to the garage and dealership I bought it from as it came with a warranty, but now they are saying th warranty doesn’t cover wear and tear?! Repairs going to cost near £1000, where do I stand on this?
Shell Salton - 22-Apr-18 @ 11:47 PM
Ray25 - Your Question:
Hello,I bought a Vauxhall Astra from a dealership a few days ago for £6000. It's a 62 plate and has 26k miles on it. Upon driving it home I noticed that it was smoking from the engine and exhausts so decided to pull in and have a look. As the dealership was now shut I continued to drive it home and sort it the next day. I rang the dealership and explained the problem and told them I would like to take the car back for a refund and had a mechanic come out to findvthatthere were lots of problems. He said that it looks like it was in an accident as there is lots of repair and replacements. This was not advertised at all - otherwise I would never have bought it He is now refusing to refund me what can I do?

Our Response:
If the dealer is refusing to refund you, you should report it to Trading Standards and consider taking legal action (the small claims court might be appropriate) against the dealer. Note that while you do have a right to reject a faulty vehicle within the first 30 days, you are, as a buyer expected to have carried out certain checks etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-Apr-18 @ 2:17 PM
Hello, I bought a Vauxhall Astra from a dealership a few days ago for £6000. It's a 62 plate and has 26k miles on it. Upon driving it home I noticed that it was smoking from the engine and exhausts so decided to pull in and have a look. As the dealership was now shut I continued to drive it home and sort it the next day. I rang the dealership and explained the problem and told them I would like to take the car back for a refund and had a mechanic come out to findvthatthere were lots of problems. He said that it looks like it was in an accident as there is lots of repair and replacements. This was not advertised at all - otherwise I would never have bought it He is now refusing to refund me what can I do?
Ray25 - 10-Apr-18 @ 7:54 PM
Fab - Your Question:
Hello I bought a car from a dealer on the 14 o march and on the 6th of april the clutch went, I phoned the dealers and they said they will fix it up but I had to arrange for delivery of vehicle, they are located some 30 miles from me! As I am still on the 30 day period I said to them that it was their responsibility but they kept saying they would just fix it and thats it! As ive got finance on it I rang them and explained the situation and told them I was not prepared to pay near 200£ to deliver a car wich obviously was sold to me "not of satisfactory quality" and I also had just paid 300£ upfront sum 2 weeks ago for the car! All they said to me is that the dealer only has to agree to fix the car but its my responsability arrange delivery even thou im still on the 30 day period. I have now had to pay for the delivery and rented another car for a couple of days so I can get to work out of my own pocket!! Can I claim any of this money back or is anything thats been said to me correct? This was over the weekend so I couldnt ring anywhere to get any info. Any help would be very much appreciated please.

Our Response:
This is what Car Expert says: "It is the dealer’s obligation to collect the vehicle, unless your sales contract includes a clause obliging you to return the car. You only have to make sure the car is available to collect. Be reasonable about this and work with the dealer if you want to get your money back with minimal fuss. Make their lives difficult and you can be sure they will return the favour"
ConsumerRightsExpert - 9-Apr-18 @ 3:34 PM
Hello i bought a car from a dealer on the 14 o march and on the 6th of april the clutch went, i phoned the dealers and they said they will fix it up but i had to arrange for delivery of vehicle, they are located some 30 miles from me! As i am still on the 30 day period i said to them that it was their responsibility but they kept saying they would just fix it and thats it! As ive got finance on it i rang them and explained the situation and told them i was not prepared to pay near 200£ to deliver a car wich obviously was sold to me "not of satisfactory quality" and i also had just paid 300£ upfront sum 2 weeks ago for the car! All they said to me is that the dealer only has to agree to fix the car but its my responsability arrange delivery even thou im still on the 30 day period. I have now had to pay for the delivery and rented another car for a couple of days so i can get to work out of my own pocket!! Can i claim any of this money back or is anything thats been said to me correct? This was over the weekend so i couldnt ring anywhere to get any info. Any help would be very much appreciated please.
Fab - 8-Apr-18 @ 3:46 PM
I bought a 2nd hand Skoda Octavia Scout 8 year old with 105k on it. Had it for 2 months was making a terrible noise so took it to my garage (he's a friend of the father in law) who has informed me that the 'bottom end' of the engine has gone and it needs a new engine. It looks like its been bodged to sell.Can i get my garage to do it and charge the dealer or do i have to give them the chance to do it first. I obviously don't trust them to do it properly.
MrG - 3-Feb-18 @ 11:50 AM
We bought a second hand car from a dealership around 8 weeks ago.A few days ago it broke down, the ERG jammed open.The RAC man got it started but as he followed us home it happened again.As the dealership is around 20 miles from our home (and with the risk of it breaking down on the way) my husband took it to our local garage and we've paid for the repair out of our own pocket.Are we able to send a copy of the invoice to the dealership and ask that they refund us?
JH - 22-Nov-17 @ 1:45 PM
i have owned my l200 warrior for 3 weeks now , and today the engine has blown , i live 22 miles from work and work 12hr shifts , so,, 3 weeks in and only 700 miles at the wheel and now i have a 4 grand ornament !!car was taken under a finance deal from a separate company to the dealership . called the finance company today and they seemed to jump on it straight away , i really do notwant to deal with this dealership now , i just want this truck gone and my money to date back , how long can this drag out ??what are my rights on this ,
mr - 22-Nov-17 @ 12:51 AM
Hi i am my wits end just wondered if anyone can help.I purchase a car on 6/11/2017.We saved for ages to get a little Smart car cabrio as my wife always wanted one.I found what i thought was a little diamond in Autotrader (Private seller) and arranged viewing.Gentleman was a lovely chap very well spoken,showed me round the car.I had all the checks done Hpi,accident damage ,mileage etc and it all checked out.We went for test drive everything seemed fine.We did the deal i paid him cash.When we filled in log book he said i will forge wifes signature as its her car.I didnt think anything of it.So off i set wife following behind me feeling really happy, got off the A roads on to the Motorway,driving for about five minutes noticed wife flashing me like crazy swerving.Holy crap whats going on,then oil light came on and car started to slow down.I got it onto hard shoulder my wife was shaking when i got to her.Oil had spewed out of car i had just bought,on to wife following behind and silly sod used wipers and couldn't see.I was fuming called seller about twenty times no answer.I had to pay to get it off Motorway and im was on a mission to get my money back and give him a bollocking how my wife or some one could have been killed.However to my amazement seller had a completely different attitude and said sold as seen nothing you can do.My wife had to stop me from losing it, i thought if i do what i wanted to do to him i would end up in trouble and wouldn't have a leg to stand on so cooled it.Now all im getting off people is you have no rights at all as its a private sale.I have yet to seek legal advise yet as this has totally wiped me out,i missed a days pay as couldn't get to work in time because of sorting out getting piece of crap back home which cost another £150 I could never do that to anyone think its dishonest and disgusting can anyone out there give me some advise
craig - 9-Nov-17 @ 3:08 AM
Hi. I have just bought a brand new car from official Lexus and the engine broke down at 2,200km. The service said it was a factory deffect and not my fault at all. I was windering if I am getting a new car or a new engine? What is the prostocol for this?
Allan11 - 26-Oct-17 @ 5:31 PM
Charlie - Your Question:
Hi I'm trying to help a friend who has a lease car. Two weeks ago the turbo went on it and blew a hole in the engine.The car is 4 years old 14 plate seat Ibiza Seat are not willing to help They have said that either my friend pays £2100 to finish the lease or they will be charged £7500 for a new engine and the courtesy car taken backSurely paying £2100 is dead money I'm sure Seat could or should be doing more. It is after all only a 4 year old car

Our Response:
We can't really comment on this without more knowledge of the mileage, and the driving style of the driver etc. You could try getting an independent mechanic to take a look at the vehicle and give an opinion on whether it was substandard etc. It's worth seeking professional advice on the terms of the lease too as this is not standard procedure for a vehicle that suffers a fault unless the owner has not taken sufficient care of the vehicle (under the terms of the lease).
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Oct-17 @ 2:26 PM
Hi I'm trying to help a friend who has a lease car. Two weeks ago the turbo went on it and blew a hole in the engine. The car is 4 years old 14 plate seat Ibiza Seat are not willing to help They have said that either my friend pays £2100 to finish the lease or they will be charged £7500 for a new engine and the courtesy car taken back Surely paying £2100 is dead money I'm sure Seat could or should be doing more.It is after all only a 4 year old car
Charlie - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:39 PM
hi .just bought a car from private ebay seler.on advert said no fault perfect conditions so i have a little test and decide to buy it.one hour later on way back homecar overheat..next day i phone some garages and by descripton they estimate repair cost from 2k up to 3k.not sure if i have any rights to give a car back or what to do..please help
luke - 28-Sep-17 @ 12:13 PM
MrsB - Your Question:
Not exactly the same as the problems above, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.2nd hand car purchased last year, everything fine. Until a few months ago a banging sound started when driving. Took it to a garage. The problem was apparently sorted, but lo and behold the banging noise was still there. The garage also refused to do any work before they put 2 new tyres on!! They also did a full MOT check and service. This was 6 weeks ago. They charged over £400. (A friend was dealing with this as I was out of th country and full bill was paid)Now 6 weeks on, car was being driven then nothing. Kaput. We've been told that we need a new gear box and clutch. And there was no engine oil when the car was dipped.It has to be fixed, that's fine. But if the garage did a full check and service, surely they should have spotted issue with gear box (especially as now we know that's whst the banging sound was that they apparently fixed but it never went away) and an issue with the clutch?Should we go back to garage and complain?Any advice would be great.

Our Response:
Yes go back to the garage and complain. It's worth getting a different mechanic to take a look so you have a second opinion.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Sep-17 @ 9:50 AM
Not exactly the same as the problems above, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. 2nd hand car purchased last year, everything fine. Until a few months ago a banging sound started when driving. Took it to a garage. The problem was apparently sorted, but lo and behold the banging noise was still there. The garage also refused to do any work before they put 2 new tyres on!! They also did a full MOT check and service. This was 6 weeks ago. They charged over £400. (A friend was dealing with this as I was out of th country and full bill was paid) Now 6 weeks on, car was being driven then nothing. Kaput. We've been told that we need a new gear box and clutch. And there was no engine oil when the car was dipped. It has to be fixed, that's fine.But if the garage did a full check and service, surely they should have spotted issue with gear box (especially as now we know that's whst the banging sound was that they apparently fixed but it never went away) and an issue with the clutch? Should we go back to garage and complain? Any advice would be great.
MrsB - 28-Aug-17 @ 10:00 AM
My daughter bought a car in February 2017 from a garage. The car as been back to garage on 3 occasions for repair as juddering when idle at traffic lights or junctions. A few things have been repaired on the Seat Ibiza diesel car but after the 3rd repair it as started juddering again, this car hasn't been right since she purchased it from the garage. The Finance company have now have been very helpful and now the car as been booked into a main Seat garage for a Full Inspection Report ?? Our main concern is that this car Should have been perfect from purchase and we don't want it breaking down whilst our daughter is driving about during her busy work schedule. WHERE does her Consumer Rights Stand ?? Thankyou
Chatty - 5-Jun-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hello I bought Vw golf mk6 2012 from a Honda Dealer on 6th of March 2017 and after 1 month and 6 days car got EGR fault. Which will cost £1350 for repair. I also bought 12 months warranty for the car which I was told that it was straight from Volkswagen but it was in fact from RAC. RAC offered only some of repairs cost which leaves me with over £700 out of pocket. Upon calling Honda dealer about warranty they said they won't never say that it's from Volkswagen and refuse accept car back just because it's 6 days over 1 months. Please help me with this. I would really appreciate it.
Vakil - 13-Apr-17 @ 10:25 PM
I brought a brand new yaris in July 2016 with in six months it develop strating problums as it would not see the key code IN garage for a week. Its now back in due due to electic problums needs a new part thats got to come from Japan do will be again of the run for a month.Spoken to CR toyota no joy What can do next
Trigger - 18-Jan-17 @ 5:16 PM
I bought a vauxhall vectra on Sunday night everything seemed fine with the car and it drove ok on the test drive however 15 miles later the car lost all power and wouldn't turn back on. I've taken it to two separate garages for diagnostics and they've both came back with the same results. There's no compression from cylinder four and the timing chains slipped. They've both also said it would be a lot cheaper to just replace the engine than it would be to strip the engine down. I've contacted the dealership explaining the problem and his said that im not entitled to any refund or repairs and the car was in working order when i purchased it. Do I have any rights to a refund or not as I've only drove the car 15 miles and the engine has gone?
Liam - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:04 PM
Brooke - Your Question:
Hi, I brought an Audi A3 15 days ago. The gearbox has packed in.aparently it exploded? What can I do?

Our Response:
Assuming your bought it from a dealer/trader, you can return it within 30 days for a refund if it is faulty. Please see our guide for more information.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Jan-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hi, I brought an Audi A3 15 days ago.The gearbox has packed in.aparently it exploded? What can I do?
Brooke - 5-Jan-17 @ 5:58 PM
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