Seller didn't disclose damage on used car, so can I reject it?
A reader asks if he's entitled to a refund for a car that he subsequently discovered had been involved in an accident...
I bought a nearly new Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI Bluemotion S from the Motorpoint used car supermarket in Glasgow in last year. I live in Northern Ireland, so I arranged to have the car delivered to me from the seller in Scotland by a car transport company.
When the car arrived, I discovered that substantial repairs had been carried out on it. I hadn't been told the car had been involved in an accident before I bought it. When I told Motorpoint about the damage, I was asked to get an engineer to carry out a survey on the car. I did this, and after some time Motorpoint accepted that the car had been damaged and agreed to either replace it or refund me.
I chose another car from its website four weeks later and was told it would be available in seven to 10 days. It’s now nearly a month later, and after numerous emails and calls, I still have no word about when this car will be available for inspection and collection.
Motorpoint has told me I will have to return the Golf back to Glasgow and collect the replacement car, which I’m prepared to do, because I just want to get all this sorted out.
However, Motorpoint has been far from helpful, and I’m not sure at this stage whether it will cover the full cost of my travelling. It hasn’t been in any way apologetic and doesn’t seem very interested in helping to resolve the matter.
Three months have now passed and I’m thinking that it might be best if I ask Motorpoint to collect the damaged car and give me a refund so I can buy a car elsewhere. Could you please advise what I should do?
What Car? says…
We advised Damien that he was within his legal rights to change his mind and request a full refund, because he hadn’t been told that the car had been damaged and repaired, despite dealers having a duty to tell buyers about any damage or faults prior to purchase.
Failing to do so is considered a misleading omission under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Regulations Act 2008. It could also be in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the car was described as in perfect or pristine condition, because the necessary repairs meant this would have been false.
Damien followed our advice and received confirmation that he would get a full refund of the money he had paid for the Golf. He also asked Motorpoint to refund the money he’d had to pay out to have the car transported.
Although it took a few more weeks and a number of emails back and forth, Damien did get all of his money back and was then able to start the search for another car.
Best family cars and the ones to avoid
However, that doesn’t mean the family car market is dead; it still accounts for a huge number of sales and is very competitive, so there are some great buys out there.
But what makes a good family car? Well, it has to be practical, cheap to run, good to drive, well equipped and good value for money; in other words, it needs to be good at everything. Here we count down the top 10 and reveal the models that are best to steer clear of.
10. BMW i3
The BMW i3 is an electric family car that uses super-light carbonfibre and aluminium to offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, while a smart interior and great handling add further to its appeal.
In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a range-extender version with a two-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a generator to prevent the car's batteries from running flat.
9. BMW 1 Series
A more conventional option from BMW is the 1 Series, which offers a strong combination of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
It’s still a little unusual in that it sends its power to the rear wheels rather than the fronts, but this makes it entertaining to drive, and ride comfort is also good.
Pick of the range: 118i SE
8. Honda Civic
The latest Honda Civic is good to drive and has plenty of space inside for your family and their luggage. Add to that an impressive array of standard safety equipment and it's easy to recommend as an all-rounder.
We'd recommend teaming the frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine with mid-range SR trim for the best combination of economy and equipment.
Pick of the range: 1.0 VTEC SR
Read our full Honda Civic review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers
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