Used car engine management light

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a used car from the dealership. When I collected the vehicle, I noticed that the engine management light (EML) was on. I was concerned about this, but the dealership said if the light remained on the following day, to take the car back to them for investigation. The light was still on the following day, so I returned the car and asked for a refund. However, the dealership told me I needed to provide evidence the car was faulty when it was sold to me, even though the sale took place a day prior. They also said I had to provide a Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 35-compliant engineer’s report confirming that there was a fault with the car. I’ve provided independent reports confirming that vehicle is faulty, but they won’t take the car back and refund me my money.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Some of the faults are commensurate with the age and mileage of the car.
  • The document provided by the consumer isn’t a CPR Part 35-compliant report, so this cannot be relied upon.
  • Although the report provided does confirm a fault with the car, we do not agree that the EML was on at the point of sale.
  • We think a fair way to resolve the complaint is for the consumer to pay for a proper diagnostic report and to send us an estimate of the repairs required.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator upheld the customer’s complaint. This is because she said it was for the business to prove that the car wasn’t faulty when it was sold.
  • Rejection of the car had been requested within the first 30 days of purchase, and therefore, the consumer had a right to do this.
  • The independent reports obtained by the consumer confirmed that the car was faulty – it was therefore unreasonable to request that the consumer provides a CPR Part 35 report.
  • The adjudicator recommended a full refund of the purchase price and the cost of the independent inspections the consumer had completed.
  • The dealership agreed to refund the purchase price, but not the cost of the independent inspections, and the case was referred to the ombudsman for a final decision.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • The dealership didn’t provide any additional information or arguments for the ombudsman to consider. In addition, the ombudsman agreed with the adjudicator that the customer’s complaint should be upheld in full.
  • The ombudsman noted that, while this was a used car and some faults may be commensurate with the age and mileage, the car must still be of satisfactory quality.
  • She said rejection by the customer had been requested within the first few days of purchase and they therefore had an automatic right to do this.
  • The request for the consumer to provide a CPR Part 35 report was both unfair and unreasonable, as it was for the dealership to prove that the car wasn’t faulty when it was sold.
  • The ombudsman noted the faults with the car were such that they were present and/or developing when purchased, especially in light of the fact that the EML fault came to light on/the following day after purchase.
  • The ombudsman said the consumer had only incurred additional costs to have independent garages diagnose the faults and provide reports due to the dealership’s refusal to take the car back.
  • Therefore, the ombudsman upheld the consumer’s complaint in full, as the dealership was also responsible for covering these fees as well as being responsible for a full refund of the purchase price.


  • Both parties agreed with the ombudsman’s final decision, and the case was closed.