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One of hardest crisis to deal with is the thought of discovering you have bought a faulty car. Everyone has more rights than they actually believe, and it is our duty as citizens to know our rights and then action them. There are many reasons why people do not complain about the mis-selling of their vehicle. Holding your complaint back is often associated with maybe a lack of knowledge, skills and possibly even feeling a bit silly about the whole ordeal. Another reason may be a lack of time and the despair of just wanting the faulty car fixed as quickly as possible with no fuss.

The scenario of buying a faulty car?

The quest goes something like this. After months of researching, you finally decide to buy that second-hand car. During your time with the private seller or dealership, no faults were ever disclosed about the car. You subsequently believe the car could not be in any better condition and so you go for it and buy without hesitation.

To your amazement, within days the car begins to display unexplained faults. It’s now dawning on you that you may have been the victim of being sold a faulty car. Most of the time ending up with a faulty car can often be unintentional, but even so, the problem still needs to get sorted.

If you have been driving the car for a few weeks after your purchase, proving the faults were not from reckless driving could also be quite a challenge.

What are your rights for buying a faulty car?

All cars before being sold should have been thoroughly inspected by the seller. The fact is sometimes cars do not go through major checks and inspections; hence a faulty car could be on the books. Discovering you bought a faulty car six months to six years later and then complaining about it is still justifiable. According to Trading Standards, it can be assumed the fault was present before buying the car. The seller then has to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the car was not defective upon the sale.

The first step to take would be to write down what is wrong with the car and what you hope to achieve by complaining. Additionally, make sure all your reference numbers are written down. Your letter can be used as a reference for yourself when visiting the dealership, or the seller. Alternatively, the letter can be mailed to the relevant persons, or the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau).

TIP: Always write a reference regarding the Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982 and a quote of how much the repair bills could be.

The second step is to take a visit to the person or company that sold you the car. Take your prepared letter as this will help keep your perspective of the situation. If you bought your car from a dealership, it is easier to dispute your concerns. However, private sellers can be a bit more challenging; you may need an independent report of the vehicle. These reports can be done by the RAC or the AA and can cost from £128 to £345 depending upon your car type.

If the car was sold to you without disclosure of the faults you have experienced, you will be entitled to a repair. If you noticed faults during inspection and decided to complain about them three months later, you will not be entitled to a refund or a repair. Should the problem be more severe such as an engine fault then you are not held responsible for your mechanical ignorance. If a problem is discovered five to six years after buying the car, it is reasonable for you as the buyer to prove its unacceptability.

If you have used the car only for a short time, it is more permissible to accept a partial refund, particularly with minor faults. Should major parts be the issue such as the suspension, clutch or the brakes etc then a free repair should be acceptable. You will need to prove that the issues are not simply down to wear and tear.

Either way, if you are still not sure about your situation you could visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or call your local Trading Standards department at the council, and they will be happy to help you.

If you have been the victim of buying a faulty car and managed to find some form of compensation, please let us know by entering your comments below.