To say Laura Colvine is a Land Rover fan is something of an understatement; having bought four of them via Land Rover’s online used car service, she had no qualms about doing it for a fifth time.
Little was she to know that her faith in buying a car remotely was about to be shattered. Laura had set her heart on a Discovery for sale through Stratstone Land Rover Hull, but before she could complete the purchase, the branch was sold.
Stratstone Doncaster stepped in, got the sale back on track and confirmed that the Hull branch had serviced the car and replaced worn brake pads, discs and tyres. The Doncaster dealership also agreed to repeat the multi-point Land Rover inspection.
When the car was delivered, however, the work hadn’t been carried out. So Laura declined to sign the acceptance form, and Stratstone Doncaster arranged for Stratstone Burnham in Slough, which was much closer to Laura near Salisbury – to examine the car. The inspection revealed more problems, so Stratstone Burnham agreed to swap the car under Land Rover’s Used Car Promise. It couldn’t source a replacement, however, so eventually Laura asked for a refund and closed the finance direct debit. She’d made no payments save a £2500 deposit, and was warned that if the finance agreement wasn’t settled within 36 days, her credit rating would feel the effects.
Laura bit her lip and waited, but with silence from Stratstone and D-Day on her credit agreement fast approaching, her concern turned to panic. By the time she contacted Helpdesk, there were just seven days before her finance company would blacklist her. We reminded Stratstone that time was running out.
With five days to spare, Stratstone returned Laura’s £2500 deposit and settled the finance agreement, footing the £1200 penalty fee. A spokesman said: ‘The vehicle was bought from a dealership no longer
under our ownership and 250 miles away from her home, exasperating the issues and the difficulty in bringing them to swift conclusion.’
With her deposit back in her pocket and good credit rating intact, Laura was able to source another Discovery from elsewhere.
What if this happens to you?
- Check that promised work has been carried out before you accept the car, and ask for copies of the pre-delivery inspection and service reports.
- If a refund isn’t forthcoming, give the dealer a deadline of seven days to respond.
- Tell your finance company that you have rejected the car, but withhold repayments only as a last resort.
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