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Know Your Rights: Understanding Your Consumer Rights in Car Purchases

When purchasing a car as a customer, you have certain rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA). This legislation ensures that consumers receive goods of a certain quality that are accurately described by the seller. In the context of a car purchase, this means that you have the right to expect a vehicle with no faults and that it corresponds to the advertisement provided by the dealer. This legal blog post aims to shed light on your consumer rights concerning any faults and false advertisements in car purchases and how you can seek redress in such situations.


False Advertising and the Requirement of Satisfactory Quality


Car dealers must provide accurate and truthful information about the vehicles they sell. False advertising and misleading statements are strictly prohibited under the CRA. If the car you purchased does not match the description provided by the dealer, you have the right to seek appropriate remedies, such as a refund or compensation.


According to the CRA, when purchasing a car, you have the right to expect it to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. To be of satisfactory quality, a car must not be faulty or broken when purchased, and it must be of a standard that a reasonable person would expect, taking into account its age and mileage if it's second-hand. This includes the condition of the tyres. The tyres should be free from defects and fit for the purpose for which they are intended. If you discover that the tyres are faulty shortly after the purchase, you may be entitled to a remedy from the dealer.


Know Your Rights


The graph below presents your consumer rights in a car purchase transaction.




The 30-Day Right to Reject


If you discover a fault with your car within 30 days of purchase, you have the right to reject the vehicle and request a full refund. This right is known as the "short-term right to reject". The dealer must refund you without undue delay, and you may be entitled to claim consequential losses resulting from the fault.


Right to Repair or Replacement


If the fault with the car becomes apparent after the initial 30-day period but within six months of purchase, you have the right to request a repair or replacement. The dealer must carry out the repair or provide a replacement within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to you. The cost of any repairs should be covered by the dealer.


Proving Fault at the Time of Purchase


After six months from the purchase date, the burden of proof shifts to the consumer. If you encounter a fault with the car you must demonstrate that the fault existed at the time of purchase, even if it has only become apparent later. However, you still have the right to request a repair or replacement if you can provide sufficient evidence of the defect's existence at the time of purchase.


Partial Refund or Price Reduction


In some situations, you may not wish to reject the car entirely, but the fault or issue may have affected its value. In such cases, you have the right to request a partial refund or a price reduction. This option allows you to keep the car while receiving compensation for the reduced value resulting from the fault.


Escalating Disputes


Going to court is likely to be expensive and time-consuming, so if you reach a deadlock with a retailer, you can contact the Motor Ombudsman. It is an independent organisation, approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), which helps consumers and its members in the motor industry resolve complaints in a way that is fair for both sides and legally correct.


If the dealer or garage is signed up to one of the Motor Ombudsman’s Codes of Practice, you and the dealer will receive free advice and dispute resolution.


In the event of an unresolved dispute, businesses are legally required to provide you with details of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service that you can contact. Seeking legal advice may be appropriate. If all else fails, you can consider taking the matter to court.


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If your dealer refuses you your consumer rights, stay in touch with our Team here.


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