Post-delivery issues

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a used ’17-plate hatchback from a dealership via the internet on 24th May 2021 in good faith. The advert said the car was fully serviced and had an MOT test carried out in March 2021. However, when I examined the vehicle more closely upon delivery on 3rd June, there was no parcel shelf and the fog light was broken.

I contacted the dealership, but I was told the car was sold as seen (despite the advert not saying this), and that I could buy a replacement parcel shelf online. In addition, the business carried out a vehicle health check at the end of June. This showed a low pressure warning light on the dashboard, a large cut reaching the tyre cords, out-of-date tyre sealant, a cracked nearside front fog lamp, an offside front door check strap that was not secure, worn brakes, and missing rubber trim on the front bumper.

I have done the urgent jobs like replacing the two tyres, and I have bought a parcel shelf. I still need the fog light, rubber trim, the door check strap and the out-of-date tyre sealant to be dealt with.

I have spent a lot of money on this car and I still have more expense outstanding. I have calculated that I will be £890 out of pocket once all the work is done. As a resolution to my complaint, I am looking for the dealership to provide a full refund for the cost of the repairs.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We refute the consumer’s claims that the car had damaged tyres and a defective fog light at the time of delivery, as there was no mention of this by the consumer or the our delivery driver. The car was delivered and accepted by the customer in the condition described.
  • We believe we have acted professionally and with courtesy, in all circumstances, and therefore cannot offer any further recompense. All warrantable items have been sorted at our expense, and the tyres were of adequate tread depth at the point of sale. It appears that the consumer has picked up a puncture and a tyre cut on the near side of their car, which is most unfortunate, but can of course happen.

The adjudication outcome:

  •  The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator explained that the business had the evidential burden of showing that there had not been a breach of the Vehicle Sales Code. This is because the faults with the car were found within the first six months from the point of sale. Therefore, the presumption was that the faults were there when the consumer had purchased the vehicle, and it was for the dealership to show that these issues were not present when the consumer had purchased the vehicle in May 2021.
  • The adjudicator acknowledged based on the evidence submitted i.e. the vehicle health check and the MOT, that the car was suffering from the highlighted faults.
  • The adjudicator reminded the consumer that It would be unreasonable to expect a car of four years of age, and with over 35,000 miles on the clock, to be presented in the same condition as a brand new car straight from the factory. A used car is bound to experience wear and tear related issues.
  • The adjudicator went on to state that, whilst they expected the car to present wear and tear-related issues, the business needed to demonstrate that they had completed adequate checks to ensure the vehicle was presented for sale to a reasonable standard.
  • In addition, the MOT test carried out just prior to the sale showed there were no issues identified with the wheels or fog lights. However, the vehicle health check was conducted less than 30 days following the sale, and this revealed several issues.
  • The adjudicator went on to state that, whilst tyres are wear and tear related components, had any issues been raised about their condition during the MOT test just prior to the customer’s purchase, they would have recommended to the business that they were put right.
  • However, the adjudicator could see that during the MOT test on 27th March 2020 that the nearside tyre had a nail, whilst the vehicle health check also revealed less than 30 days into ownership that the same tyre had a cut down to the cords. This indicated that it was more likely than not that the previous issue with the tyre caused the current problem. For that reason, the adjudicator thought the business should refund the cost of that tyre.
  • With respect to the parcel shelf and the missing rubber trim from the bumper, there was no evidence submitted by the business which showed the car had been sold as seen, so the adjudicator concluded the dealership should refund the cost of these two components.
  • The business had explained they would supply the tyre sealant and absorb the cost to repair the front door strap. The adjudicator felt this seemed fair and reasonable given the circumstances.
  • In summary, based on the evidence available, the adjudicator determined that the vehicle experienced issues that were more likely than not to have been present at the point of sale.
  • As a result, the adjudicator partially upheld the complaint in favour of the consumer and asked the business to refund the cost of the parcel shelf, one tyre and the rubber trim for the bumper.


  • Both parties agreed with the adjudication outcome, and the business agreed to pay the consumer £370.15 as recommended by the adjudicator, thereby closing the case. As a resolution had been agreed amongst the parties, the case was closed.