These your rights when you buy a new or used car and discover a fault – and when you can get your money back

EVER wondered what you can do if you find a fault with a car you have just purchased?

The law protects any car buyer if something goes wrong with the motor, as long you weren’t made aware of the issue beforehand, and the problem is considered unexpected and not simple wear and tear.

You have the right to claim a refund within the first 30 days of a purchase from a car dealer

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, motorists can reject the car within the first 30-days of purchase and claim a full refund if it isn’t “as described”.

For example, if it develops an issue you wouldn’t expect of a car in that situation, or the dealer has claimed something about the vehicle which wasn’t true, you could be eligible for a refund.

But sellers don’t have to accept your rejection, meaning you would have to take them to court to enact your rights.

The law applies to both new and used cars, and even gives some protection for those buying a car privately.

After the first 30 days, you have up to six months to request a free repair if something goes wrong with your car that is not reasonable

When purchasing a motor from a dealership, the car must be of satisfactory quality considering its age and mileage, meet any description given to you and be fit for purpose.

If it doesn’t meet these guidelines, you have the right to get your money back within the 30-day period.

But if a problem arises outside of that period, you can still ask the dealer for a repair or replacement free of charge.

If the repair or replacement doesn’t resolve the issue, you could then be entitled to a refund.

During the first six months after purchase, it’s the responsibility of the seller to prove the fault wasn’t there on the day of purchase, but after the first six months, it’s up to you to prove there was a fault when you bought the car.

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When buying a car privately, you have fewer rights than if you purchased one from a dealership.

You are only really protected if the seller doesn’t accurately describe the car, or they misrepresent it in some way and claim something which isn’t true.

And when buying a car at auction, the law provides very little cover if a problem arises.

Clive Robertson, head of legal practice Healys’ Car Group, said: “After 30 days you lose the short-term right to reject the goods.

“If the 30-day period has lapsed or during that time, you choose not to exercise your right to reject the goods, you will be entitled in the first instance to claim a repair or replacement.

“This remedy will be deemed a failure if, after one attempt at repair or replacement, the goods still do not meet the necessary requirements.

“If you are arguing with a trader over a rejection and end up taking your case to court, the court will take things like age and mileage into account when considering whether a fault is considered significant enough to reject the vehicle.

“If you bought the car with a warranty or guarantee, you may be able to claim on that to get any problems fixed.

“However, having a warranty or guarantee does not affect your legal rights. You could still either reject the car or claim against the dealer under the Consumer Rights Act.”


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