Buyer Rights

Do you feel powerless when you walk onto a dealership floor? Are you the type who believes that the dealer is the one who is primarily “calling the shots”? While there is no doubt that you are entering into his or her territory, it is just as true that you have some rights which are always present. Let's take a closer look at some legal statues to keep in mind as well as some general tips and tricks.

Problems Immediately After Purchasing the Vehicle

Let's assume that the sales process went smoothly and you are enjoying your car. What happens if it breaks down soon after the purchase? In this case, you are protected to an extent. You likewise have one of two options:

  • Assuming that the car has been bought within the past month, contact the dealer. Explain the situation and if you desire, ask for a full refund. They re likely to avoid any trouble and simply issue the cash back.
  • If the dealer refuses to accommodate this request, you have protection under the Sale of Goods Act. Read through this document carefully, for it could very well be the case that they are in breach of contract and thus, the dealer will be obligated to pay for any repairs.

Within 30 Days

Another useful tip to keep in mind is known as the “30 Days Rule”. If you find that your vehicle is not as it was described or otherwise unfit for its intended purpose, you can ask for repairs or a full refund. This is your right prerogative according to the Consumer Rights Act. It should be noted here that even if the dealer offers to repair or replace the vehicle, you are not necessarily obliged to accept either of these services. You may simply request a full refund and under the stipulations of law, they will be obliged to transfer the money.

After 30 Days

There can be many times when the vehicle exhibits issues after the initial 30-day window. In this case, you still have a few rights to keep in mind. While you may not be able to receive a full refund, the dealer will nonetheless have to offer a repair or a replacement. You will have to accept either, as a cash-back offer is no longer valid.

Contacting Finance or Credit Companies

This is a step that should be taken when the dealer is unwilling or unable to help. Try to speak with a representative from one of these firms. However, such a method is ONLY valid if you purchased a used car. The main reason behind this thinking arises from the fact that your credit agency is legally connected to any breach of contract that may have been performed by the seller. This is a viable option under the assumption that the second-hand vehicle did not cost more than 30,000 dollars.

The Financial Ombudsman Service

This is a final route to take if none of the other options have proven fruitful. However, note that you will be starting formal legal processes and as a result, you may be required to hire an attorney. The benefit here is that most dealers (both private and professional) are not likely to get the authorities involved. As a result, they could still come back to the negotiating table and settle with you.

The Final Chance

On a rather pragmatic note, it is always a good idea to give the seller one last chance to rectify the issue. Notify them that if your case is not resolved that you will be seeking professional help. It is only fair to them to make it absolutely clear that you are unhappy with your purchase. Once again, the chances are high that this final warning could serve to get the process moving forward.

It is quite rare that you will encounter any problems that are severe enough to warrant these actions. However, it always pays to plan ahead and to be prepared. If you still have additional questions or concerns, it is best to speak with a professional such as an attorney. He or she will be able to advise you of your rights as a buyer and as a consumer.