A great big thanks to BoroDave74 - who has kindly in his own time put together the following advice for members.
please take the time to read it as it's very informative and if you feel that anyone could benefit from the information provided in this Sticky then pop a link on the appropriate
thread for them to see ...
once again a great big thanks to Dave from the Moderators and Admin Team
There have been numerous threads since Iíve been a member, where a member is asking for help with regards to their legal position either when buying a car, or after unsatisfactory servicing or repairs. There is protection in law for consumers in these instances, and I can own up to only knowing all this as I work in Trading Standards. Car-related consumer problems top the list for us every year, so much so, Trading Standards and the government have had to improve and evolve they way we deliver advice, assistance and enforcement of the relevant laws.
To this and several other ends, Consumer Direct was set up. They are for more days and open longer hours and can answer hundreds of times more calls. In many cases, Consumer Direct will be able to help you immediately, but when direct intervention, or face-to-face advice is required, your case may will be referred to your local Trading Standards Authority or another organisation that can help.
This is not to suggest that any given problem may not be able to be assisted as a member has personal experience of that exact problem. This is to help all members in a variety of circumstances. These are your rights and I would personally hate to think someone here missed out, or was treated unfairly, because I didnít put this publicly available information up.
This information is not my legal opinion, but has been taken from the various organisations who enforce, or advise on, the relevant legislation.
Rights when buying a used car
Used cars may have some faults, but they should not be "excessive" in relation the carís condition, age and mileage. Fair wear and tear is not considered to be a fault.
Your rights when buying from a dealer, or motor trader:
You are protected by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. The car must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. A standard a "reasonable" person would regard as acceptable, bearing in mind description, age, mileage and cost.
The car must be free from defects, except those pointed out to you by the trader.
These rights are not affected by any guarantee, warranty or mechanical breakdown insurance. This is an agreement on its own and is in addition to your consumer rights.
If you inspect the car, or someone else does for you, the dealer may not be liable for any faults which should have been uncovered by the inspection.
Traders cannot remove your rights by using phrases such as "sold as seen".
Reputable dealers should be members of a relevant trade association and bound by their code of conduct, e.g. Retail Motor Industry Federation or Scottish Motor Trade Association.
Before signing any agreement make sure you understand any credit charges, part exchange prices, deposit terms and conditions of sale.
Your rights when buying privately:
The car must be as described but the other rules, which apply to traders, donít apply here. If a private seller lies about the condition of a vehicle, you can sue for your losses, if you can find the seller.
A private seller is not obligated to undergo the same checks on a vehicle that a trader is.
It is well known that some traderís pretend to be private sellers to avoid their obligations under law. Typical warning signs are where the same phone number appears in a number of adverts, adverts where only a mobile phone number is giving, the seller wants to bring the car to you, or to a neutral location, the car is for sale on the side of the street. If the seller is not a private seller then your full legal rights apply.
A common technique when ringing about a car is to start with "Iím ringing about the car for sale", as most sellers will only have one car for sale at a given time, if they ask you "which one" you should beware.
Your rights when buying at auction:
Read the auctioneerís conditions of business carefully before bidding.
Your usual legal rights may not apply if the seller issues a disclaimer such as sold as seen, which will exclude some, or all, of your rights.
Additionally check with you insurer as often you will not be covered for driving a car home when buying a car from auction.
Your rights when buying online:
If you are buying a car from a business over the internet, your rights are the same as if you were buying a car in person from the business. Additionally you may have rights under the Distance Selling Regulations, such as a seven day cooling off period if there is no face-to-face contact.
However, if you are buying a car from an individual over the internet, your rights are the same as if you were buying a car in person from an individual.
What to do if something goes wrong:
You have a short time after buying a used car to reject it. If the fault was present when you bought the car you do have alternative options such as repair or replacement. Go back to the seller straight away, explain the problem and say what you want done. If the seller is a Trader which is a member of a Trade Association, go to the Associations website for advice on the code of conduct and what you can expect.
The Consumer Direct template letter is here, number 6, please read the guidance notes at the bottom of the page:
Rights following servicing or repair
The same laws which protect you when buying a car also protect you when you take your car to a garage for servicing or repair. You are entitled to expect the work to be carried out with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time at a reasonable charge.
If a part is replaced, the new part should also be of satisfactory quality, fit for the purpose and as described.
If a fault has not been repaired properly, you should allow the garage a chance to rectify it. If they fail to do so, you may be entitled to get the work done elsewhere and recover your costs from the garage.
If the garage fits a part that turns out to be faulty, and the part has not been fitted very long, you may be entitled to a refund, or you could ask for the part to be replaced.
It is a criminal offence to charge for work that has not been carried out. Complaints about such practices should be made to Consumer Direct.
Up to date and accurate Legal advice is available from:
08454 04 05 06
Although there are other providers of legal advice, this is the only organisation set up specifically for consumers. The Citizenís Advice service is set up to help people resolve their legal, money and other problems.
Frequently your local Trading Standards will be able to provide consumer advice in person or via email. To get the contact details for your local Trading Standards enter your postcode at the bottom of the page here:
If you pay more than £100 for your car, repairs or servicing, on a credit card, you are protected by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 which makes the credit card company equally liable.
The template letter for such a complaint is here:
MoneySavingExpertís guide to the Sale of Goods Act and SADFART rules:
Guidance for where to buy cars, or where to get work done can best be gained from family and friendís experience, although notable schemes include the governmentís Trusted Trader scheme and The Good Garage Scheme which rely on good feedback.
If you are unsure, walk away. There are lots of cars for sale. The phrase I hear time and time again at work is:
"If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."