Can I get a refund for my faulty Used Car?

16 May 2012

Worthingtons Solicitors provide legal advice on the buyers rights to remedy when a recently purchased used car proves to be faulty

The short answer is that it depends on various factors including:-

1. The nature and seriousness of the defect

2. How long you have owned the car

3. Who you purchased the vehicle from.

The purchase of a used car from a dealer is covered by the Sale of Goods legislation.  This legislation protects purchasers of faulty goods and gives you the right to rescind the contract and obtain a refund, if the goods you have purchased are not ‘satisfactory quality’.  

There is no real definition of ‘satisfactory quality’; it will depend on the seriousness of the defect and how quickly it became apparent.  A 5 year old car which needs new brake pads a year after purchasing would probably be held to be satisfactory, however an ‘ex-demo’ type car which exhibits a fault requiring a new engine within a week of purchase would probably be held to be not satisfactory quality and you may be able to get your money back. Your right to a full refund is extinguished when the car is ‘accepted’ in law, which may be deemed by the passage of time. You may allow the garage to carry out repairs, without losing your right to a refund if the repair is not successful.  You may also have a right to claim the cost of the repairs from the vendor, even if your right to claim a full refund has been extinguished.

If you have purchased the car from a private individual your options are limited.  In this situation, I’m afraid ‘Caveat Emptor’ or ‘Let the Buyer Beware’ applies! In all cases, you should seek legal advice early, so that you may take full advantage of your rights in order to resolve this often stressful and expensive problem.

Nikki Mc Connell is a Partner with Worthingtons Solicitors and is head of litigation in our Newtownards office.

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