Can I reject my faulty car?

Secondhand BMW 3 Series has had an engine fault since two months after it was bought. Does the owner have the right to reject it?...

BMW 3 Series

I purchased a secondhand BMW 3 Series in April 2018 from Wembley Prestige Cars via the AA website. Two months later the car broke down – the engine was misfiring and making a noise that sounded like a chain problem and there was no oil in it. 

I woke to the dealer to complain, but didn’t get a response so I had to get the AA to mediate. The car was eventually repaired.

However, in January this year the car broke down again with the same symptoms. I’ve been told that the car needs a new engine, which will be very expensive. I have obtained an independent report confirming that the previous repair was not successful. I believe the dealer is liable and the car should be returned to them because it’s likely the faults were present at time of purchase.

The dealer has not been helpful again and the AA has not helped either. They say l cannot have a refund and that l should tow the car to the dealer at my cost. I no longer have breakdown services to tow the car and the dealer will not do this.

I believe I am entitled to a full refund, less mileage used. The seller is refusing to provide a refund and the AA said that l am too late to get a refund. 

Because l have given the dealer one opportunity to repair which was not successful, shouldn’t I be entitled to a refund?

I paid £7500 for the car; can you tell me what is a reasonable amount for them to deduct for fair use of the car for the past nine months? 

Paulette Mason

What Car? says…

You are entitled to reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and correct in your assumption that after 30 days of ownership the dealer is allowed one attempt at fixing the problem, but if they don’t fix it you can reject the car. 

The AA is correct when it states that the car needs to be returned to the garage and rejected in writing by you. So it may be worth investigating the cheapest way of getting to back to the dealer. 

Unfortunately, the right to reject can be contested by the garage and, if it is denied, you're likely to have to take them to the small claims court to get a refund. However, the report you have sounds like it will be good evidence that the car was faulty when purchased and subsequently not properly repaired by the garage. 

With regard to how much you'd have to pay for use of the car for nine months, the easiest way to get a good estimate of this is to use the What Car? Valuation Tool to find out what the car is worth now and compare this with the purchase price. This will also be good evidence if the dealer tries to claim an excessive amount for your use of the car. 

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Best executive cars for less than £25,000

Is there a tougher place in which to compete than the market for used executive cars? With standards incredibly high thanks to years of continuous development by manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and increasingly stringent demands from buyers, any executive car has to be at the top of its game if it’s to be a worthwhile purchase.

Fortunately, buyers of used executive cars also benefit from this ceaseless drive for improvement. At just a few years old, all that fantastic new technology, not to mention the smart looks, comfort, sharp drive and everyday usability, start to become available for very reasonable prices.

So if you have £25,000 burning a hole in your pocket, which is the best used executive car to buy? Here’s a round up of our top 10.

10. Jaguar XE

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 AWD R Sport review

Style and real driving ability are the hallmarks of the Jaguar XE. Very few executive cars can cut such a dash, and when it comes to steering and handling few in this class can match it. It also feels well built inside and comes with a particularly smart interior. The diesels offer a perfect combination of punch and economy, but they can be gruff. Rear leg room is a little limited, too, but you'll have to accept that as the price you pay for beauty. Not the most reliable either, but there's a very good used warranty scheme available.  

We found: 2018 Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 R-Sport, 3913 miles, £23,810

Read the used review here

9. Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia used 2016 - present

If you’re looking for a little Latin flair among the more sober-sided executive cars here the Giulia could be the one for you. Indeed it’s fair to say that a number of people have bought a used Alfa Romeo in the past simply because it looked really good and its value had dropped faster than a lift with the cable cut. Now, though, with the Giulia, you have a really compelling used alternative to the executive car norm that competes on performance, running costs and offers a great driving experience to boot.

We found: 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 TD Super, 3500 miles, £22,990

Read the used review here

8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

When it comes to a rock-solid premium image, there’s little to beat a Mercedes-Benz. After all, who doesn’t want to ride behind that famous three-pointed star? The only problem for the C-Class has always been the stiff competition it faces in the compact executive car class, namely the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. However, recent versions of the evergreen C-Class have offered both comfort and a relaxed driving experience, not to mention an air of dependability. That’s been enough to win it plenty of admirers on both the new and used car markets.

We found: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 D AMG Line, 9900 miles, £23,468

Read the used review here