The Consumer Rights Act came into force for all Sales after 1 October 2015 and covers the purchase of goods, digital content and services including new and used cars from official dealers (it doesn't apply to private sales) as well as servicing, repairs and maintenance work.
Like the Sale of Goods Act that preceded it, the Consumer Rights Act states that products must be:
- of satisfactory quality
- fit for purpose, and
- as described
*** For cars purchased before 1 October 2015 the Sale of Goods Act still applies***
The dealer must have the right to sell the vehicle and is liable for faults with the vehicle - that mean it was not of satisfactory quality - that were present at the time it was sold even though they may only become apparent later on.
Satisfactory quality means that the vehicle should be of a standard a reasonable person would expect, taking into account factors such as:
- safety, and
An old car with high mileage would not be expected to be as good as a younger car with low mileage but each should still be roadworthy, reliable, and in a condition consistent with its age/price.
Wear and tear
The dealer is not liable for fair wear and tear, where the vehicle broke down or the fault emerged through normal use, nor are they liable if they drew your attention to the full extent of any fault or defect before you bought the car.
Fit for purpose
Fit for purpose means that you must be able to use the vehicle for the purposes that you would normally expect from a vehicle including any particular purpose that you tell the dealer about before you buy, or which the dealer has advertised or gleaned from your conversation. This would include towing or short journey use.
Faults, repairs and refunds
Under the new act, if a fault renders the product not of satisfactory quality, not fit for purpose or not as described, then the buyer is entitled to reject it within the first 30 days.
Between 30 days and 6 months
If a fault comes to light after 30 days but before 6 months have passed then you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. It is assumed in law that the fault was present at the time of purchase unless the seller can prove otherwise. During this period, unless you have agreed otherwise, the seller (dealer) has only one opportunity to repair (or replace) the faulty vehicle after which, if they fail to repair it, you are entitled to a refund.
In the event of a refund following a failed attempt at repair during the first six months the seller is permitted to make a 'reasonable' adjustment to the amount refunded to take account of the use that you have had of the vehicle since you bought it.
After 6 months
For faults that arise after six months the burden is on you to prove that the product was faulty at the time of delivery if you want to pursue a claim for repair or replacement.