How can I reject my faulty car?

A reader discovers the brakes on his second-hand car have seized just days after buying it. He wants to reject the car, but the dealer says he can't...

How can I reject my faulty car

I financed a car from a franchised dealer. Within 30 days of buying it, I made the finance company aware that there was an issue with the handbrake: when I released the lever, the brake stayed on and the car wouldn’t move.

The dealer sent someone to tow the car back to the garage. I recorded a video of the car showing the issue as proof and I filmed the person as they struggled for two minutes to get the car moving. 

Once the car was back at the garage, the dealer said there was nothing wrong with it and that I couldn’t reject it. What can I do? 

Pablo Souza

What Car? says…

As long as the car developed the fault within your first 30 days of ownership and you reported it to the finance company within that time, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you the right to reject it and get a full refund. This is because it states vehicles must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.

It’s worth noting, however, that the dealer might not accept your rejection. If it doesn’t, find out whether it’s signed up to The Motor Ombudsman’s codes of practice, and if it is, you can complain to this independent body and ask it to investigate the case. It has guidelines on the way its members should deal with customers’ complaints. 

If the dealer isn’t signed up, your next step is to start Small Claims Court proceedings against it – a fairly simple process. However, the first thing to do if you want to reject the car is to inform the dealer and finance company in writing and ask for a full refund. You’ll also have to leave the car with the dealer. 

As well as doing this, it might also be worth asking the dealer whether it has a different car that you can have instead, because this could resolve the situation much more quickly and easily than going to court.

Best small cars - and the ones to avoid

More people buy small cars than any other type of car, but these vehicles still need to excel in a number of areas to make them worth buying. Here we round up the best small cars and the one you should avoid.

The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested – great news if you're after this sort of vehicle, because it means not only that there are stacks of models to choose from, but also that standards are incredibly high.

To have a chance of topping the class, a small car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that's practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.

To help you find the right small car, we've picked out our top 10 – and named the one you should avoid.

Mini 3dr

Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t quite have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's no less worthy of making the cut in your deliberations - particularly if you’d like your small car to have a premium feel but don’t regularly need all five seats.

There’s a bewildering array of options with the Mini that you can use to customise your car and make it truly your own. However, stick with the Cooper model that comes with an excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine and choose wisely from the optional packages and you’ll have a well-equipped and well-built small car for a reasonable outlay.  

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper

Read our full Mini 3dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

9. Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's a shame that its ride is rather unsettled.

The Jazz was the first car to come with ultra-practical fold-up rear seat bases that let you create a space large enough for a pushbike or bulky flat-pack furniture.

Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE

Read our full Honda Jazz review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

8. Mini 5dr

Mini 5dr

If you want a truly high-end small hatchback, the Mini 5dr should be on your shortlist. If you go for the Cooper version, you'll also get a great engine and all the technology you could ever want.

The Mini has a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Inside, a dinner plate sized central dial houses the infotainment screen.

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper 5dr

Read our full Mini 5dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

Next: more of our favourite small cars > 

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