A consumer complains that a used van supplied on finance is unsafe and faulty

Consumer Credit

Patrick got a used van through a conditional sale agreement. After a few months into his agreement, he experienced problems with the van and wanted a refund.

What happened

Patrick got a used van through a conditional sale agreement for £5,000. The van was nine years old and had already covered 85,000 miles. He said there were some initial problems and that the dealer did some repairs to the panels which didn’t fix them properly. A few months later, he started to experience other problems with the overall performance of the van. So he wanted to give the van back and get a refund.

The finance provider obtained an independent inspection of the van. Based on the inspector’s findings they said that the van was of satisfactory quality when supplied. Patrick didn't think this was right and made a complaint to the finance provider. Unhappy with its final response, he referred his complaint to us.

What we said

We said that Patrick’s van should have been of satisfactory quality when it was supplied to him by the finance provider. Whether the van was of satisfactory quality or not would depend on things like what Patrick paid for it, and its age and mileage. In this case, he’d paid £5,000, the van was nine years old and had already covered 85,000 miles. It was reasonable to expect the van was more likely to require some repairs for fair wear and tear sooner than a newer one.

We noted the earlier repair work undertaken on the panels, but we thought that the repair had reasonably fixed that issue. We also noted that Patrick had travelled over 10,000 miles in the van since he first got it. And it seems it took him a few months before he first raised any issue. This made it harder to say that all the problems with the van were there when he got it. Although Patrick disputed that he’d driven that far before the problems first occurred, based on the information we had we couldn’t be sure that was the case. 

We also considered the independent report supplied, which we found to be detailed and persuasive. While the report pointed out that there were several things wrong with the van – it concluded that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that the issues were present at the time of supply. It concluded that any faults were likely to be down to reasonable wear and tear in accordance with the age and mileage of the van.

So we didn’t think the van was of unsatisfactory quality when supplied and we didn’t ask the finance provider to do anything further.