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Case studies - CAR FIXED FOR FREE AFTER LEGAL HELP

Which? Legal helps driver get car fixed free of charge after manufacturer offered to meet only half the cost

Which? Legal member James Cook came to us for help after enduring a catalogue of serious and repeated problems with a new Land Rover Discovery 4 from the moment he took possession of it in June 2012. The car suffered issues including a water leak in the boot and a rear brake light coming loose from its mounting, causing paintwork damage. These problems were rectified by the dealership under the warranty, which was still in place at this time.

In December 2014, James saw the exhaust pipe hanging below the rear bumper line and the silencer dangling on its rubber mounting, having broken away from the tail pipe. He couldn’t use the vehicle and called the AA. It couldn’t fix the exhaust at the roadside but, for safety reasons, removed the silencer. The issue was so serious he was advised to contact Land Rover immediately.

James contacted the dealership and Land Rover offered to pay 25% of the price of a new exhaust and fitting. He declined this, and the offer was raised to 50%. But he was still unhappy with this. He looked into the matter and found a ‘technical bulletin’ Land Rover had issued in July 2013, warning of an exhaust pipe issue with the car he had bought, which he’d been told nothing about. He came to Which? Legal for help.

Our advice

We suggested that James write to the dealership and Land Rover’s chairman, detailing the issues and the breach of contract committed by selling a defective car. The company quickly agreed to repair it for free, with the modified exhaust fittings highlighted on the technical bulletin.

What the law says

Goods sold to you in the UK must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. For goods bought before 1 October 2015, this is covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979. If what you buy isn’t satisfactory, you can reject it (but you must usually do this within 30 days) or the retailer must repair or replace it. If neither is possible, you should be offered a full or partial refund.

However, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, that came into force on 1 October, allows a trader to take into account how much you’ve used a product when assessing how much of a refund to give you, even where this is within the first six months after you bought it.