A consumer complains that problems she had with her new car after two years were because the car wasn’t of satisfactory quality when she got it

Consumer Credit

Zoey got a new car through a hire purchase agreement. After a year, she’d driven it a problem developed with the clutch pedal. Zoey contacted us to complain after her finance provider refused to take the car back.

What happened

Zoey got a new car through a hire purchase agreement. After a year, she’d driven it about 8,000 miles and a problem developed with the clutch pedal which was sticking.

Work was done to try to fix it, but the problem came back. A second repair was undertaken about six months later.

A few months after that, a problem developed with the clutch assembly and more repair work was done. Later that year a problem developed with the steering column. By this point Zoey decided she didn’t want the car anymore. She’d driven the car 15,000 miles. She contacted the finance provider and asked them to take it back.

The finance provider said they weren’t liable as the first faults happened after a year and 8,000 miles. They said they were only liable for the quality of the car at the point of supply. Zoey felt this was unfair and decided to complain. Unhappy with its final response, she contacted us. 

What we said

Zoey had bought her new car for £30,000. We thought that several serious things had gone wrong with the car in a relatively short period of time when it was still quite new and had a relatively low mileage.

We noted that although parts of cars do wear, the problems started at around a year and 8,000 miles. We thought it reasonable to expect that problems such as these wouldn’t happen at this stage and that the car would be more durable. We didn’t think it likely that Zoey had caused the issues she experienced or that they were down to normally expected wear and tear. We also noticed the significant repair work that had been completed under warranty.

On balance, we didn’t think that a reasonable person would expect these problems with a new car that wasn’t very old and hadn’t travelled very far. Overall we didn’t think the car was sufficiently durable and that it wasn’t of satisfactory quality.

We asked the finance provider to take back the car at no cost to Zoey and end the finance agreement with nothing further to pay. We also asked them to refund the deposit with 8% simple interest.

We said a refund of two monthly payments would be fair to reflect the fact that Zoey was without the car while it was being repaired. We also asked them to pay £150 to compensate Zoey for the inconvenience she’d suffered, and remove any adverse information from her credit file.