What Are Your Legal Rights When Buying a Car on Finance?
Aside from the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires a car to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described the following laws are also applicable:
- The car must be roadworthy
- The dealer must not misdescribe or misrepresent the car to you
- The dealer must not withhold information which may be relevant or influential to your buying decision.
- The dealer must not engage in any unfair trading practices
How to Reject a Car on Finance
To return a car on finance you must first contact the finance company and set out your complaint and request in writing. The letter or email should include the information about the car and the finance agreement, as well as the issues which have led up to your rejection.
The finance company have a legal duty to investigate your complaint and provide you with a written response. This may involve having the vehicle inspected by an engineer.
Do I Have to Stop Driving The Car?
While many including Citizens Advice and Trading Standards will suggest that continuing to drive the car is incongruous with rejection, each case must be considered on its merits.
There may be circumstances which do not impact the usability of car, the service history or cosmetic issues which do not impinge upon it being driven. This may prove a way of mitigating your losses.
Can I Hire a Car and Claim The Cost Back?
It is highly likely, that if the vehicle bought on finance cannot be driven and you are left without the use of a vehicle that you would be able to claim the cost of having to hire an alternative vehicle from the finance company.
Can I Stop Paying The Finance?
It would be highly inadvisable to stop paying the finance instalments and/or cancel the direct debit. If you do, the finance company may terminate the agreement, repossess the car, sell it through auction and issue a claim against you for the losses suffered.
On balance, the wasted finance payments would in all likelihood be refunded if the ombudsman upholds your complaint.
What Happens if The Finance Company Refuses The Return of The Car?
Once the finance company has investigated your complaint, they will provide you with a final written response. If the finance company does not uphold your claim you have the right to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
What Does The Financial Ombudsman Do?
The Financial Ombudsman Service is tasked by law to adjudicate complaints involving consumer finance agreements.
The Ombudsman’s decision is binding on the finance company but not on the consumer who has the right to accept it or not. If the consumer declines to accept the decision you have the right to take the matter to court.
How Do I Make a Complaint to The Financial Ombudsman Service?
At face value making a complaint to the Ombudsman looks easy: you fill in the form and submit the letters and documents which supports your claim. However, there is a general misconception that the service is one which defends consumers: this is not the case.
The process and remit of the Ombudsman is to act in similarity with a judge in court, in that they are independent, impartial and charged with deciding the outcome of the case.
It is, therefore, important that the consumer treats the process as if it were a court case and makes their case out properly.
Do I Need a Solicitor to Make a Complaint to The Financial Ombudsman?
No, the Ombudsman service is intended to be accessed and handled by the individual. However, the finance company will be a large company with expertise in financial products and likely have a legal department or in-house solicitors.
On the other hand, the ombudsman service does not employ solicitors and there may be a risk of the finance company unfairly influencing the results.
It would, therefore, be sensible to at least get legal advice before submitting your complaint to the Ombudsman service.
What Are Your Fees?
We offer a fixed price service which is designed to take the stress out of making claims about a faulty car bought on finance. We collate the evidence, send the letters before action, draft the statement of case, deal with any appeal and shepherd the case through to conclusion.
The fixed fee service cost is based upon the price of the vehicle as follows: