In the USA, there are 250 million second-hand cars on the roads and 40 million swap owners every year. It’s no wonder the ‘Land of the Free’ is known as the ‘United States of Used Cars.’ For many motorists, these figures aren’t problems because used vehicles are bargains. A second-hand motor is cheap, reliable and durable to name just three. New cars aren’t built as well and they don’t have the same appeal or nostalgia.
But, used vehicles aren’t infallible and they do break down. If the car is from a private lender, there may be issues that you didn’t foresee. How do you take it back? Can you get a refund? What are your rights? These are questions that the United Kingdom is answering.
Here’s how Great Britain is tackling the tricky subject of used car ownership rights.
The Consumer Rights Act
Replacing the Sale of Goods Act in 2015, the CRA allows drivers to reject a second-hand model and get a refund within a month. Terms and conditions apply, but the simple facts are that a motorist can return the car if there is an irregular problem. Also, mechanical issues which were not eluded to during the sale warrant a full refund under the Consumer Rights Act. However, the CRA states the owner must stop using the car as soon as the problem occurs and no later. Although this seems obvious, the SGA gave owners a grace period of three to four weeks to stop usage. Still, being able to ask for your money back is a nice luxury regardless of the terms and conditions. All disputed claims are settled by a judge if both parties and their lawyers can’t agree.
The good folks of the UK don’t have any less protection once the 30-days are over. According to their laws, used car owners can ask for a repair, refund or exchange if there is evidence to suggest the problem already existed. Even better for consumers is the fact that the burden of proof is on the seller and not the buyer. After six months, this luxury subsides and second-hand drivers find it harder to stand up for their rights. However, 180 days is a very long warranty period when the car cost less than $1,300, or £1,000 in their money. The burden of proof changes after six months, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance of a free repair as long as the owner has evidence.
Breach Of Contract
Both of the above apply across the board so that private sellers can’t take shoppers for a ride. Dealerships have different rules to follow which help Britons fight back. Buying a used car from a certified dealer means the company has to:
– Make sure the product is satisfactory;
– Meet the description; and
– Be fit for purpose.
If any of the three criteria above are not met, the buyer has the right to sue for breach of contract. Which? Consumer Rights even has a step by step guide to help with the complaint process. Usually, faulty dealerships will have to take the car back and offer a full refund or provide compensation. In most circumstances, the amount of ‘compo’ is the cost of the repairs, but judges have added extra fees on top as punishment.
None of the legislation above is worth a penny if there aren’t competent attorneys willing to put in the work. The majority of shoppers around the world don’t have the legal skills to fight a corporation, which is why they rely on professionals. Here in the US, a firm such as Marks & Harrison cherishes ‘our location’ in the industry and love ‘serving the community,’ and Britain is no different. Sure, lawyers have and will always work for the money and the thrill of the chase. However, lots more quality solicitors are on hand to provide top-notch service and win cases. In fact, it’s possible to say the same in America and around the world.
Thanks to the Customer Credit Act, Section 75 ensures everything bought with a piece of plastic is covered by insurance. The way it works is that the buyer files a complaint against the credit company under the act and they pay out. Of course, there has to be clear evidence of wrongdoing because credit card companies aren’t charities. Debit cardholders don’t have the same rights but there is a chargeback scheme for claimants.
What do you think of the used car rights in the UK?