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Posted in [Blog] on Thursday, October 26th, 2023

We have noticed an increase in the number of enquiries over the past 12 months in respect of difficulties people are having with cars after purchase.   Many of the complaints have arisen in the months after the purchase, and where the Purchaser has not been able to resolve things directly with the Seller, usually a Car Dealership. The complaints we have come across relate to both new and used cars.   Oftentimes, the Purchaser will have noticed some type of defect in the car and brought it back to the Dealership or Garage and having explained the complaint or the problem, are surprised to be told that there is nothing that can be done, or that notwithstanding a warranty, any necessary repairs will come at a cost.

The issue which arises here is whether or not the warranty should shield the Purchaser from these costs, or whether the Seller can reasonably set aside the warranty.   In some cases, the Seller will argue that the complaint is outside the terms of the warranty, and in other cases, a bald attempt to simply set aside the warranty is made. It is often a question of; when the defect came into play; how it came into play; whether the defect was reasonably known or could have been reasonably anticipated; and if so, should it have been brought to the attention of the Purchaser before the purchase. In many cases, specialist inspection is necessary.

In the first instance, the best course of action is to take photographs or videos of the defect as soon as it is noticed, particularly if the defect isn’t always easily identifiable – for example, in the case of a leaking roof, if you are discussing the problem with the Seller on a dry day, a video of the dripping water taken when it has been raining would be helpful. It will also be helpful to keep a detailed note of how and how often the defect negatively impacts the use of the car. It is worth noting that time is of the essence with these complaints, and delay in reporting the issue can be detrimental – particularly if your delay or continued use of the car while defective causes the defect to become worse.

Next, it is advisable that you contact the Seller and arrange a suitable time to attend and discuss the issue.  It will be helpful to point out to the Seller that under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 you have entitlements, and the seller has obligations. This piece of legislation protects the Purchaser and imposes obligations such as that the goods sold must be fit for purpose and as described. As the Consumer, you are afforded further protection under the Consumer Protection Act 2007, and the Consumer Rights Act 2022.

It is worth noting that protection under these laws may be forfeited if you are deemed to have caused the problem or the defect.

Depending on the issue, this may be something that can be resolved directly between yourself and the Seller. You have a right to ask the Seller to fix the problem by repairing the fault or defect.  If they carry out repairs, and the problem persists, or if the defect cannot be repaired, they may be required to provide a replacement or refund.

Unfortunately, it seems Sellers are becoming more reluctant to deal with these issues from the outset, or alternatively the matter might be more technical whereby from initial visual inspection the cause of the issue is genuinely in question.

In such instances, the next advisable step is to contact a Motor Assessor. A Motor Assessor would be the appropriate Expert who would be in a position to provide an educated and experienced view in terms of the fault, and more importantly identify which party is reasonably responsible for the cost of any such repairs.  An examination of the vehicle would be necessary, and a report would be of assistance to you.

If at this stage, you cannot resolve the issue with the Seller, or if the Seller will not engage with you, it may be then worth instructing a Solicitor.  We advise exhausting the above avenues in advance of instructing a Solicitor, so as to avoid incurring unnecessary legal costs. Your local Solicitor will be able to guide you thereafter.

Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 4275673 or  if you would like more information.

* In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.  Many Personal Injury Solicitors portray themselves as “no win no fee Solicitors Cork”. This term can be misleading and it is essential that you discuss fees with the Personal Injury Solicitor you ultimately choose. At Cantillons Solicitors, we are entirely transparent.

Related Solicitors

Ernest J. Cantillon

Managing Partner

Sarah McNulty


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