When Buying A Car Turns Into A 4-Wheeled Disaster


If you are searching for your next car you might have a certain make and model in mind, you might be unsure of whether to buy used or brand new, you might even consider a less-conventional electric car.

When Buying A Car Turns Into A 4-Wheeled Disaster

Whatever your choice, if your purchase turns out to be different from what you were led to expect – you could be entitled to annul the contract and receive most of the purchase money back.

Mr Salt v Stratstone Specialist Limited

Examples include the 2015 case of Mr Salt v Stratstone Specialist Limited which involved a car that was described as ‘brand new’.

In September 2007 Mr Salt, a luxury car enthusiast, was approached by a representative of Stratstone with an offer to buy a ‘brand new’ Cadillac for just under £22,000.

Mr Salt purchased the car which turned out to have numerous defects:

  1. There were problems with the ignition, the battery, the windscreen wipers
  2. The satellite navigation system was faulty
  3. On one occasion Mr Salt was even stranded in the broken down Cadillac
Stratstone repaired some of these defects, yet others were left unrepaired, and this led to Mr Salt attempting to reject the car and asking for his money back.

Legal Proceedings: Getting The Wheels in Motion

Mr Salt then sought legal advice and issued proceedings at an early stage, claiming damages. In the course of those proceedings both parties appointed a joint expert, who found that the car was not ‘brand new’.

The Cadillac was in fact two years old when it was sold in 2007, had been involved in a severe car crash, and had undergone serious repairs before it was sold to Mr Salt.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that Mr Salt was entitled to cancel the contract and obtain his money back.

Complex Commercial Claims

In such situations the ‘Stratstones’ of each case could potentially claim back a part of the purchase price if they can show (and it is their responsibility to show this) that the ‘Salts’ have benefitted from the cars they purchased until they returned the car for a refund.

In this particular case, however, Stratstone did not bring any such arguments. As a result:

  1. Mr Salt recovered the total £22,000 he paid for the Cadillac
  2. The Court also ordered Stratstone to pay Mr Salt’s legal costs for bringing the claim, after hearing that Stratstone refused to accept Mr Salt’s early offer to pay him £4,000 to end his claim

Protecting Your Interests

When purchasing a car, or indeed any high value item, knowing for sure whether the statements made before you purchase are true is of paramount importance. If you think you may have been mis-sold an item, you should seek legal advice immediately as you may be entitled to some form of compensation. Time limits apply to claims of this nature, so you must seek timely legal advice and inform your legal advisers of the key dates relating to your claim. They should be able to tell you whether you’re within the time limits for bringing your claim.

Simpson Millar Can Help You

If you're worried that a recent purchase was mis-sold to you, or if you think the item was faulty, you may be able to make a claim against the seller, and return the item for a full refund.

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