A recent and not insignificant event had pretty much passed me by. In the days before the interweb, there might have been a public service information film about it, in which George Cole would tell you what was going on.
I’m talking about the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which gives you greater powers to reject something you bought if it turns out to be faulty.
Oddly enough, under the new law, which came into force on 1 October, I took something - a V8-engined BMW X5 - back to where I bought it on the quite reasonable grounds that it had been rather misdescribed. I had warned the seller, who was trade, that if there was an issue, it was coming straight back.
After a bit of a faff over the phone for a week, I successfully returned it, and even got a refund on the tax. I think it was boneheaded persistence rather than anything else, but as I always tell everyone, it is important not to get fobbed off. So at least this new law should stop some fobbing. What, though, is the legal position?
Essentially, for the first time, a specific period of 30 days has been set during which you can reject a car and get a full refund - but you will have to prove that it is not of sufficient quality, not fit for purpose or not as described.
That could be challenging for some buyers, so take notes and photos to support your claim. There are legal definitions, of course, but I won’t bore you with those when you can look that up for yourself. The thing is, you do have to prove that the fault was present at the time of sale, and that could be tricky.
If you find a fault within six months of buying of a car, it is presumed to have been there from the moment you bought it and the dealer is allowed one opportunity to repair it. If he fails, you can demand full or partial repayment. After six months, you must prove the fault existed when you bought the car.
This brings us to Volkswagen’s oilburnermaggedon, which is gaining traction as a made-up word. However, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, your claim is against the retailer, not the manufacturer. There’s a bit of fun for a diesel ambulance chaser to work on - especially as the new law doesn’t relate to sales before 1 October, when the legislation kicked in.
Thanks to the new law, used car buyers would seem to have more rights then ever. If that’s genuinely the case, please use this new-found power wisely. I would also recommend that boneheaded persistence and diligent record keeping also help. Sadly, it’s now too late for George Cole to don a trilby and tell it like it really is.