Your new car rights

So, the unthinkable has happened and your new car has gone wrong…

The good news is that the UK has strict laws designed to protect consumers. Our simple guide explains how you can expect to be treated.

What if my new car has a serious problem?

As a new car buyer you are are protected by The Sale of Goods Act, 1979, which means when you buy a car you have a right to expect it to be “of satisfactory quality”. The model you buy should get you from A to B without breaking down, and should be free of faults that limit its described performance. Remember, normal wear and tear and driver-error accidents aren’t covered.

Can I return a new car that keeps breaking down?

1 If you plan to reject your new car and get a refund, you have to do it within six months of taking delivery.
2 Hand over the keys to the dealer from which you bought the car, and give your reasons for doing so in writing. Keep a copy of the letter.
3 If the dealer refuses to accept your rejection, go direct to the car manufacturer, they may be able to help negotiate a compromised settlement on your behalf.

What if I bought the car on finance?

1 The problem with rejecting a car bought on a finance agreement is that you don’t legally own the car until you have paid the final installment.
2 Instead, the car belongs to the finance company so you have to ask them to speak to the dealer.
3 If that’s not successful you can talk to Trading Standards or, if you’re a member of the RAC or AA, you can get general legal advice from them.

The dealer has offered to put faults right, should I accept?

1 Rejecting a car is time consuming and difficult, and should really be an option of last resort.
2 It’s much better to reach an agreement to fix the problem affecting your car.
3 If a dealer offers to put right the fault, make sure that his or her plans are put down in writing. It will make it much easier to see what was agreed should there be any dispute over the effectiveness or quality of the work.
4 It’s important to be as specific as possible. Make sure that you understand the nature of the fault, and the likely fix. Make sure that you discuss the potential cost of repair – and check whether or not the dealer expects you to contribute to the cost of replacing any of the parts.

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