Post-sale vehicle faults

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a used ’67-plate saloon in May 2021, and there were faults with the car at the time of purchase, which the dealership dismissed and failed to rectify. These included a chipped windscreen (and glue on the velour mats when they replaced it), a filthy interior, caps welded on to the tyre valves, and a damaged near side wheel. I was told by the Sales Manager they would paint the wheels black, but they didn’t.

Due to all the issues, I wanted to hand the car back for a full refund, and tried to arrange this with the manufacturer, but they were not interested. As a resolution to my complaint, I am looking for some compensation, as I had the vehicle for approximately 12 weeks, and in that time, it was at the dealership for six of these. I also had to pay six weeks’ road tax, insurance and finance, but had no vehicle or courtesy car during this period.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • The vehicle had minor stone chips in the windscreen, which wasn’t a MOT failure, but the customer wasn’t happy with how it looked. We therefore agreed to replace the windscreen.
  • The vehicle was re-valeted to a standard the customer was happy with.
  • The tyre valve caps had become seized, which we replaced.
  • The near side rear alloy had scuff marks, and was refurbished. However, the customer wasn’t happy with the work, at which point we advised the only other solution would be to paint the alloys, as we couldn’t diamond cut the wheel again.
  • We replaced the carpet mats due to sealant from the windscreen repair getting on them.
  • On every occasion, we collected the car from the customer’s home address and returned it with replacement fuel. We also offered a courtesy vehicle which was declined.
  • As the customer was not happy with the solution suggested, we offered a full refund which the customer accepted and was processed straight away. Regarding the road tax, the customer would have received a refund from DVLA.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence provided by both parties, and explained that, as both parties had already agreed there were faults with the vehicle, the burden of proof was on the business to show the issues reported were not inherent from the point of sale. This was because the faults had been discovered within six months.
  • It was equally noted that there was a lack of any documented technical evidence demonstrating that the faults were not present at the time of purchase.
  • The adjudicator also said that, considering how soon after the purchase date, the faults were established, and the repairs were carried out, this lent to the conclusion that the vehicle was not of satisfactory quality from the point of sale.
  • As a result, the adjudicator found there to be a breach by the business of the Vehicle Sales Code and made the decision to uphold the case in favour of the consumer.
  • The adjudicator detailed that, under such circumstances, the appropriate remedies would be for the business to either provide the consumer with a repair to a satisfactory standard, or to facilitate the rejection of the vehicle.
  • As, the vehicle had already been returned for a full refund, and the business had settled the finance and processed a road tax refund with the DVLA, the decision was made to award the consumer a written apology from the business for the experience they had encountered.
  • The consumer was also reminded by the adjudicator that The Motor Ombudsman Service does not compensate for losses that cannot be quantified or are not demonstrable.


  • Both the business and the consumer accepted the adjudication, and the case was closed.