The consumer’s issue:
“I bought a used ’65-plate van in October 2019 from a dealership, and before I did so, I specifically asked if it had a speed limiter fitted. I was told it did not. Just under a month after taking possession of the vehicle, I discovered that it did have a speed limiter, so I asked the business to let me hand the van back for a full refund.
The dealership agreed that I could return the vehicle, but charged me a usage deduction of £750 for the 3,000 miles I travelled whilst I owned it. I don’t think this is fair, and to resolve this dispute, I am looking for the business to refund this amount to me.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer purchased the vehicle, and took delivery on 11th October 2019 with a recorded mileage of 33,319. It soon became apparent to the customer that the vehicle had a speed limiter, and they claimed that they had been told by our sales executive that it never had one, but our staff member at the time said that the speed limiter was never discussed.
- Unfortunately, we couldn’t prove this either way, so to avoid creating an altercation, we agreed to refund the customer, putting it down to miscommunication or a misunderstanding.
- The customer returned the vehicle on 8th November 2019, and we noted that the vehicle had a recorded mileage of 36,692 miles, which was 3,373 more than it had at the time of delivery. This is excessive mileage, and clearly indicates that the vehicle had been used for its purpose during the customer’s short period of ownership. Therefore, we applied a charge of 22.22p per mile for this usage, which the customer agreed to, and the refund was actioned. The total charge amounted to £750.
- We believe the charge was fair, as the value of the vehicle would have been adversely affected by the mileage.
- Subsequently, the customer complained and requested for this amount to be this be refunded, as they felt the vehicle had been mis-sold, but we had already refunded the consumer in full, albeit with a charge for the excess mileage. We also applied a usage deduction that was lower than the rate that was set down in the sales agreement for returned vehicles.
- We think that this resolved the matter fairly in the given circumstances, and we are not willing to offer anything further to the consumer.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator reviewed the submissions of both parties, and noted there was no evidence that showed what advice, if any, was given to the customer regarding the presence of a speed limiter on the van before the sale was agreed.
- The adjudicator therefore felt he was unable to conclude it was more likely than not that the vehicle was not as described by the dealership.
- As there was no evidence that showed the business had a legal obligation to accept the consumer’s attempt to exercise the short-term right to reject, the adjudicator felt it was entirely reasonable for the dealership to apply a usage deduction.
- As the usage deduction applied was consistent with previous Motor Ombudsman recommendations, and was more favourable than the terms set down in the sales contract, the adjudicator was satisfied the usage deduction applied was reasonable in the circumstances.
- As a result, the adjudicator did not uphold the complaint in the customer’s favour.
- The consumer did not respond to the adjudication, and the case was closed.