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Legal case involving faulty Car and rights of return


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I have had the opportunity to read up on legal issues revolving around faulty cars. Due to my job its essential I know this sort of thing.

I found this one compulsive reading. Not only because it involved a well know German quality brand but because of the huge amount of faults and total incompetance showed by the dealer.

On top of this the outcome is , whilst not suprising interesting in what damages could be claimed for.

So if you've ever wondered if you could return that faulty car you bought read on!

By the way. Its quite involved and long, but very interesting. So if you get bored easy, don't read it :sleeping:

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2010CSOH14.html

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In the US different states have their own versions of "lemon laws". Within a warranty period on a new vehicle the dealer/manufacture has a few chances to make the repair right or the owner gets their money back (or a new vehicle, their choice). The defective vehicle is declared a lemon and must be marked as such for future sales to prospective buyers)

My state's version: http://autopedia.com/html/LemonLaw/NewYork_NY_lemonlaw2.html

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Yes simon its just about the same.

We don't have a Lemon law Per-se Bob. And your lemon law is much more comprehensive than out Sale of goods act.

What amazed me in this case was the absolute incredible complacency and incompetance of th Audi dealership.

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The manufacturers fight those Lemon laws as hard as they can until you get legal counsel involved. Our 2001 X5 was a Lemon, it kept running out of gas with the guage showing anywhere from a quarter to half full. They changed the floats, wiring loom, reprogrammed the computer, cleaned the tank, just about everything. We ran out of gas on freeways, intersections, off ramps and stops. Finally after driving across the country and experiencing a transmission failure in NYC as well as 4 "out of gas" experiences, the final straw was we ran out of gas 100 yards from our front door. They tried arguing that the last 4 occurrences had been out of state and thus did not count but we had already met the California State Lemon Law requirements for in state documented same problem. It took us 3 months haranguing the local dealer and BMW USA before they finally offered full money back or a replacement. We took the replacement, moved to Europe the next year and had it stolen while in Poland (but thats a whole other story!).

Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by the Italians.

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Scottish law and English law are completely different.

We may be neighbours but we have very distinct jurisprudence

Naturally, EU legislation applies equally to both countries

Wing Commander Dibble DFC<br /><br />
North Midlands Esprit Group<br /><br />
NMEG "the formidable squadron"<br /><br />
"probably the most active Esprit group in the world" Andy Betts, Castle Combe May 2007

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And in this case the Sale of goods act is pretty similar, is what I meant.

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Kimbers, thanks for a great read - took me back to my expert witness days - but for me what was surprising was the omission from weight in the legal considerations of the astounding incompetence of the dealer in failing to discover the basic fault. Even on a diagnostic basis, knowing it's crucial importance, the central module could have been changed to see the effect at little cost.

The pleadings and the judgement - was that bounded by the pleadings? - did not bring the incompetence into play. Surely there could be some implied term in a contract to buy from a main dealer that the dealer is able subsequently to provide competent service and support? Exhibiting the trappings and fact of being a main dealer surely holds out the aspect of implying such competence?

Could not part of the claim have been based on the selling dealer not being a competent seller as "reasonably to be understood by a reasonable purchaser"?

I do look forward to your - obviously well founded! - comments

Mel

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Hi Mel

I am not a legal expert, I am an Automotive professional, but from what I can gather the incompetance was considered in the amount of recompence for the inconvenience suffered and depreciation recompensed. The incompetance had a direct effect on not being able to use the car (at one point the dealer had the car for 6 months!) and it was this lack of use that pushed the judge into awarding covering the depreciation on the car. At least thats my view.

The company used in their defence that they had dispensed with the incompetant technician...but are they saying that this guy solely worked on this car over the 3 years? I think not.

This car was definately what we in the trade call a "Friday afternoon" car. The last car down the line on a Friday afternoon when every guy working on it just wants to go home or down the pub.

However, what I am amazed at is the lack in involvement from Audi, apart from a Warranty witness who, in the judges words "Was of no value and merely stated the obvious". Surely, with the outcome being that the car was faulty from day of purchase, there should have been an offer for Audi to swap the car or do something to help the plaintiff?

We had a similar situation at Honda when a CRV that was 3 years old developed an alarm, immobiliser fault. No matter what we did or changed the car still immobilised itself and set the alarm off in the middle of the night. After a month of stripping the car (both our technicians and one from the factory), Honda took one of our used CRV's that was the same age and spec and gave it to the client for free. Taking the faulty car back and crushing it.

I think this case is a lesson bith in not accepting what you are told with a faulty car and that even buying a car from one of the top manufacturers in the world doesn't guarantee you customer service.

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Kimber,

Thanks for your explanation, and yes, fair enough, the particular damages to the owner of the car caused by the incompetent dealer were assessed.

But I still believe that an aspect was missed in that the judge assessed the behaviours of the two parties in relation to how closely they conformed to ideal behaviour reasonably to be expected. Notably regarding the diagnosis. (And of course including that the buyers were slow and lackadaisical.) If the car had been sold by an individual or an independent garage that would have been fair enough, but an Appointed Main Dealer for the Manufacturer should be expected to meet a far higher standard of support/repair capability. This draws in your point about Audi not being involved - they should have been and called in by the Dealer - as part of a responsibility that would have been my "implied term of the contract" to buy from them. And your Honda example illustrates exactly!

So under me as judge, the Dealer would have been penalised far more - lucky them!

Partly, my interest here has been because I too bought a new car from a main dealer and found a serious fault almost immediately. (I will never pay money over until I've taken a test drive in the future!) I complained immediately and the dealer rectified the fault, but because of it's nature I feared longer term reliability might have suffered. After a few letters and suggestions that it might be of interest to Honest John etc., I was given a free extension of the guarantee from 3 to 4 years by the manufacturer. I won't name them, as we settled - but I will repeat that I was drawn to your account of this case!

Mel

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Over the years I have seen some real horror stories and strangely enough they seem to be prevelant in "Quality" brands. I'm sure they happen in Mass market brands (Never worked for one) but I have seen a unreasonable number from the brands people pay more for.

Theres the case of the German car which, from new, unscrewed its own wheel nuts as it drove down the road.

The Japanese Car that refused to open its fuel cap....not just one car, every one of that model! Thousands got stranded.

The Japanese car that would let off its own handbrake while parked...again every car of that model (yes really...had it happen to me once at my fathers, who lives on a hill!)

The German model that developed a "Minor fault that requires a recall to rectify".....basically you put your foot on the clutch and nothing happened....yes, that minor isn't it!

You all know about the toyotas that decided to accelerate when you lift your foot off the accelerator.

How about the favourite small French car that at speeds above 60mph released its bonnet catch....Papa? Nicole? CRASH!

I could go on for ages. The thing is, unless you work in the industry car manufacturers keep quiet about the major issues they have! You may own a recalled car, but you only ever know about that particular recall. Not the 200 others going on! And even then they tell you its ok, its nothing Major...hmmmmm.

You can get a booklet that gives you the total number of recalls for each manufacturer. Its published annually and makes astounding reading!

Heres 3 I bet you had heard nothing about and a car considered a favourite amongst UK buyers (shhh it didn't happen...obviously)...Words like "Sunroof may detatch", "possibility vehicle may catch fire" and " May cause Fire" would worry the hell outta me! and this is just 1 particular model!!

http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/recalls/recalls.jsp?modelID=AC&modelName=Freelander+2&makeName=Land+Rover&makeId=C3

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Over the years I have seen some real horror stories and strangely enough they seem to be prevelant in "Quality" brands. I'm sure they happen in Mass market brands (Never worked for one) but I have seen a unreasonable number from the brands people pay more for.

Some years ago a friend of mine did some contract-engineering stuff for Ford, specifically involved with the Explorer SUV. What he saw inside that company shocked him. The main thing he remembers is the reason why Ford seem to have abandoned their "Quality is Job 1" ad campaign of many years ago...he said that Ford are always acquiring (secretly through shills buying them) other maker's cars and dissecting them to analyse how they're made (most all big car companies do this), and Ford had worked out that to them, it was more profitable to NOT maximise quality...their idea was 'build to a price-point,' and increasing the quality level beyond what consumers expected at that price-point was deemed to be less profitable.

"If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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