The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased my Approved Used car in January 2018, and when I was buying the vehicle, I was told that it had never been in an accident. I later discovered however, that the car was previously involved in a crash and was repaired poorly with non-genuine parts. Furthermore, the car has a misaligned bonnet and a misty offside headlight. Additionally, the vehicle doesn’t have a full service history, so it should not have been sold as an Approved Used car. Also, the dealership did not conduct the MOT correctly because they failed to spot that my wiper was faulty. I am therefore looking for a £4,000 discount on the amount I paid for the car.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We sold the car to the customer in January 2018, and the signed documents show that the customer inspected and test drove the vehicle before collection and was happy with the condition of the car at the point of sale.
- Two months after the purchase, the customer contacted us to complain that the front wing was out of line, although at the point of inspection and collection, the vehicle was in good order.
- As a gesture of goodwill, we agreed to look at the wing. Upon further inspection, we discovered that it was a non-genuine part. It should be noted that, if the car was provided with a non-genuine wing, this would not breach our Approved Used Car guidelines, plus the customer had been in ownership of the vehicle for two months, so they could have had the part fitted due to an accident.
- Nonetheless, as a reputable dealer, we agreed to fit a new genuine wing, and during this time, we offered the customer a replacement car, or a refund for their purchase.
- However, the customer declined the offer and requested to keep the car in exchange for a payment of £4,000.
- We will not be providing a discount based on the issues experienced, as we have already provided a goodwill gesture, and we believe this to be sufficient.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator did not find sufficient evidence showing that the car had been in an accident prior to the point of sale.
- In addition, the consumer failed to submit both the service history and schedule for the vehicle. Therefore, the adjudicator was unable to make a decision on whether the car had been serviced within the agreed timescales.
- The adjudicator equally found that the misaligned bonnet and misty headlight were cosmetic issues, which the reasonable person would have identified during an inspection of the car. Therefore, the adjudicator did not consider the issue to be a breach of contract.
- This is because, when a customer accepts a used car with defects that have been brought to their attention, or a reasonable person would have identified the issue at the point of sale, the defects cannot be used as the grounds for a complaint at a later date.
- Finally, the adjudicator did not find that the MOT was conducted incorrectly. This is because the evidence did not demonstrate that the wiper was faulty at the time of the MOT.
- As a result, the case was not upheld in the customer’s favour.
- The customer and business have not appealed the decision, and the case was closed.