Happy Birthday Consumer Rights Act

In our experience, the CRA has worked quite well for car dealers despite anomalies such as the ‘one repair rule’.  This one repair rule is fine for less complex items but for modern day used cars, it is really not fit for purpose as sometimes we need to complete repairs by process of elimination and sometimes, two things will go wrong in relatively quick succession for no particular reason.

However, dealers must remember that not all faults are equal when deciding how to work with a customer who has reported a fault.

Firstly, if the report is reported in the first 30 days, this does not automatically mean that the customer can get a refund. For the customer to be eligible for a refund, the customer has to:

1.    Prove there is a fault;
2.    Prove the fault was there at the point of sale, and
3.    Prove the fault is ‘worthy’ of a refund.

In terms of worthiness, a new coil pack is unlikely to make a £5000 used car worthy of a refund as it’s a relatively quick and relatively easy fix. However, if the gearbox failed as they drove off the forecourt, then yes the customer is probably entitled to their money back although there is nothing wrong with offering a repair.

After 30 days, similar common sense should apply and so if the coil pack has been changed but a warning light comes up to suggest a tyre new sensor is required, this will not entitle the customer to a refund under the ‘one repair rule’ as a sensor does not make that £5000 used car not of satisfactory quality or not fit for purpose – it is just a minor fault.  

Customers, spurred on by headline advice which bypasses the crucial nuances of the law, can get carried away and start demanding all sorts. If you have any doubts about your rights when dealing with a tricky customer, Lawgistics Members do have the benefit of the Legal Helpline and can call and talk to our Consumer Rights experts to check their position.  

For advice and support with consumer related issues Lawgistics' members can speak to the legal team.
 

Authors: Nona Bowkis

Published: 01 Oct 2018

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