Pre-sale accident claim

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a small used ’60-plate city car in October 2016 for £2,915, and it had 28,000 miles on the clock. When I was buying the vehicle, I made sure that the selling dealership confirmed to me that the vehicle had never been in an accident. But a month later, I had to return the car because of a steering issue. However, when the business checked it, they said everything was fine.

I continued driving the car for a few more months, but over time, the steering got worse and it began to pull to the left. I therefore took the vehicle to my local garage, and they asked me whether the car had been in an accident, but I said no, following the response from the dealer. They checked the wheel tracking and alignment, but the problem still came back. After visits to multiple garages and the replacing of parts over many months, the situation improved, but then got worse again and the pulling became more noticeable.

In January 2019, my sister suggested looking at the service history after discussing what the cause of the issue could be, and I found a receipt for the replacement of the two right-hand side doors and hinges in 2013 (costing £1,000). I was therefore horrified to discover that the car had been in an accident when I had been assured of the opposite.

I returned to one of the garages, and they said that even a slight bend in the chassis has the ability to cause the steering problem, particularly as it got worse. I feel that the dealership mis-sold the car to me, and I would not have bought it had I been informed about the history. After taking advice from some peers, I was advised to reject the car and informed the dealership and the manufacturer’s customer services department that I wished to do this. However, they were not willing to inspect my vehicle after retracting the offer, or provide any goodwill, but I need the car repaired, replaced or to have my money refunded as it was mis-sold to me.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We consider that the used car was supplied to the consumer in a satisfactory condition when taking into account its age, mileage and value.
  • We have noted that, on the last MOT, the car had done more than 32,000 miles since it was sold and had passed the MOTs in 2017, 2018 and 2019 without any significant advisories.
  • In February 2019, we offered an independent inspection of the vehicle to take a look at the issue, but this was never accepted by the customer, and was therefore withdrawn.
  • Furthermore, the consumer has not provided any independent evidence to suggest that there was a bend in the chassis, and therefore we are unable to provide any kind of remedy in response to the customer’s complaint.

The adjudication outcome:

  • Based on the report provided by the independent garage in February 2019, the adjudicator was satisfied that the consumer’s car suffered from a steering fault.
  • However, the business did not have the specialist equipment to test whether or not the chassis was bent, so the adjudicator was unable to agree that it was damaged as a result of an accident before the car was sold to the customer.
  • As such, the adjudicator could not uphold the claim in the consumer’s favour and recommended that an independent expert inspect the vehicle and submit their findings for further review.


  • Neither party has requested an appeal of the decision made.