What happens if my car is on finance and it has a fault?
24 September 2023
By Joy Pearson
Buying a used car can be a cost-effective way to own a vehicle, but it comes with certain risks. Even after a thorough inspection and test drive, you might discover faults or issues with your newly purchased used car. Our commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers extends beyond the sale of vehicles and we want to ensure that any issues or complaints are addressed objectively, fairly and promptly. In today's post, we'll explain our customer complaints procedure and guide you through the steps to take if your used car has a fault, ensuring that you protect your investment and get back on the road smoothly.
Understanding your rights as a consumer is crucial when dealing with a fault in your financed used car. You should make sure to research your local consumer protection laws to gain a clear understanding of what you're entitled to as a buyer of a used car. Review your purchase contract carefully, as it may outline certain warranties or guarantees that the seller is obligated to provide.
Before proceeding with any actions, it's essential to review any warranty that came with your used car. Many used cars come with limited warranties, and these warranties can vary widely in terms of coverage. They may be provided by the manufacturer or the dealership. Be sure to review the terms and conditions of the warranty to see if the fault you've encountered is covered. Pay attention to the duration of the coverage and any limitations. If the fault falls within the warranties' scope, contact the warranty provider of the dealership to initiate a warranty claim.
Comprehensive documentation is key when dealing with a fault in your financed used car. Begin by taking clear photographs of the issue, if possible, and any related damage. These photos can serve as visual evidence of the fault's existence and its extent. Keep detailed records of when the problem occured, how it affects the vehicle's performance, and any safety concerns it raises. This documentation will be invaluable when communicating with the seller, dealership or lender, and it can help support your claims throughout the resolution process. Once you've documented the fault and reviewed your warranty, contact the lender or the dealership where you purchased the vehicle from. It's crucial to do this as soon as you discover the fault. Provide them with the documentation you've gathered, including photographs and records of the issue. Clearly explain your concerns and inquire about their policies for addressing such problems. Some dealerships may offer to repair the fault or provide an alternative solution, especially if it falls within the warranty period.
If you're dissatisfied with the response from the lender or dealership, of if the fault is complex and requires a detailed assessment, consider asking for a professional inspection from an independant and trusted mechanic. An independent inspection can provide an unbiased evaluation of the fault and its potential causes. The inspection report can serve as additional evidence when you need to escalate the issue or negotiate a resolution with the lender or dealership. It's advisable to choose a mechanic with expertise in the specific make and model of your vehicle to ensure a thorough assessment.
If your efforts to resolve the fault are unsuccessful, you may need to explore legal remedies. Legal remedies can include pursuing a breach of warranty claim, seeking a refund, or filing a complaint with relevant consumer protection agencies or authorities. In some situation, mediation or arbitration can be effective methods to resolve disputes with the seller or dealership without going to court. These alternative dispute resolution methods can save time and money while achieving a fair resolution. Mediation involves a neutral third party who facilitates negotiations between you and the dealership to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Arbitration is a more formal process in which an arbitrator, typically an experience industry expert, reviews the evidence and renders a binding decision. Both options can provide a less adversarial and more efficient path to resolving your dispute.
Discovering a fault in your financed used car can be frustrating and inconvenient, but it's essential to take swift and methodical steps to address the issue. Understanding your rights, reviewing warranties, documenting the fault, and communicating with the seller or dealership are crucial initial actions. If necessary, seek professional inspections, explore legal remedies, and consider mediation or arbitration to reach a satisfactory resolution. Ultimately, your goal is to protect your investment and ensure that your used car serves you reliably on the road.