February 16, 2012, 12:46 pm
I feel for you - There's nothing worse than swapping your car in for something your don't like or have problems with. I've done it many times...
The problem you have legally is that the law is not like a warranty and it does not clearly stipulate what components are serious or indeed which faults would allow you to demand a refund. Unfortunately, it's all about perception and expectation.
I think that the first two faults are probably borderline whether you could argue "not fit for purpose". They are certainly annoying and will make using the car difficult - On the flip-side there's a good chance that both are easy to resolve (see summary below of potential causes).
The other four issues would not be enough on their own to warrant a refund. It's a five year old car and cannot be expected to be perfect. The dealer should still resolve them but they could in no way be classed as serious.
It is quite possible that you could try and argue that this many faults so soon into ownership is unacceptable. This has certainly worked with some dealers in the past. The problem is that again it comes back to fact that the dealer's legal responsbility is to repair the faults and while refunds are mentioned in law there is no definition of what constitutes a fault serious enough to get a refund.
The applicable law is the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and it states:
[i]"A secondhand vehicle must match its description, be fit for its purpose, and be of satisfactory quality. However, the standard for meeting the requirement that the vehicle is of satisfactory quality will be lower because it is secondhand. A secondhand vehicle should be in reasonable condition and work properly. When deciding whether a secondhand vehicle is in reasonable condition it is important to consider the vehicle’s age and make, the past history of the vehicle and how much you paid for it.
If a secondhand vehicle needs more extensive repairs than seemed necessary at the time it was bought, this does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality. A secondhand vehicle can be of satisfactory quality if it is in a useable condition, even if it is not perfect.
If the vehicle develops a problem soon after you bought it, you may have a right to return the vehicle to the dealer and get your money back. This would probably need to be within about three to four weeks at the most of buying the vehicle. The problem would need to be fairly major, and you would need to take into account the age, mileage and price of the vehicle when deciding whether it is reasonable to take it back."[/i]
As you can see, there are a lot of words like "fairly", "reasonable", etc which you and the dealer will have a different view of!!
Your best course of action is to contact the dealer (I would suggest verbally and follow up in writing) and tell him exactly what you want and in what timeframe - but be reasonable. Say you want repairs or a refund within 7 days as you feel the number of faults is unacceptable and that you want to reject the car. You will then have to see what he then offers.
It will be better if you can sort this out with the dealer through negotiation as the next steps should you and the dealer not be able to agree on a resolution is to bring in independent mechanics or the AA/RAC to inspect the car and then head off down the legal route either via the small claims court or through a solicitor. Once you start to go down this route you will need to stop using the car and it will cost you money that you have no guarantee of either getting this money back or resolving the issue (as a court may agree with the dealer!).
The kind of things the problems be:
1) When starting the car its not firing up correctly
[b]A. Fuel filter or flow problem, injector problem, sensor problem, glow plug problem. None are hugely expensive or difficult to fix.[/b]
2) Sometimes it refuses to go in to reverse, 1st and 2nd gear.
[b]A. Most likely gear selector but could also be clutch or gearbox. If the gear selector it is again not hugely expensive or difficult to fix.[/b]
3) Engine noise, very loud, even for a diesel.
[b]A. Was your previous car a diesel? Have you tried another Mondeo with the same engine and a similar age for comparison?[/b]
4) Lock to lift the bonnet up, is not releasing as it should, so have to really fiddle about with it.
[b]A. Could be sticking catch. May need replacing or even just a bit of WD40.[/b]
5) There is a slight vibration through the clutch pedal.
[b]A. Was your previous car a diesel? There is generally more vibration through the clutch pedal of a diesel than a petrol. Again, can you compare this against another Mondeo?[/b]
6) Central locking, having to press the key fob 2 or 3 times to unlock all the doors.
[b]A. Is the car setup to need the button pressed 2 times to unlock the doors anyway? (ie Driver's door then other doors?). The battery would be the first thing to check. Have you got a spare remote key? Does that do the same?[/b]