Streetwise wins £5,000 refund for QA pharmacy worker sold a duff car by Eden Vauxhall in Fareham

In late May the 25-year-old Queen Alexandra Hospital pharmacy worker signed up to a £190-a-month finance deal for a used Vauxhall Astra from Eden Vauxhall, Fareham.

She needed a dependable vehicle to drive from her Gosport home to the Cosham hospital and to get around in.

But within weeks the 2017-plated car’s clutch developed a fault and started sticking.

Eden Vauxhall in Fareham Picture: Google

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The five-year-old car only had 44,083 miles on the clock and came with the dealership’s declared careful pre-sales vetting process plus a 12-month guarantee.

She took the car back to have the fault diagnosed and repaired, but just days later the very same fault recurred, and a problem with the tire sensors emerged.

He complained the faults hadn’t been fixed, she was devastated when the dealership confirmed the £5,000 car she’d only driven for a matter of weeks needed a new engine.

A determined Amy was baffled why a five-year-old car with less than 50,000 miles on the clock needed a new engine to repair the clutch.

On sending them a formal written rejection Amy was left challenging them to justify why neither they nor Vauxhall were prepared to unravel the deal for selling her an unroadworthy car.

The final straw came when Eden left her going around in circles, claiming they were unable to accept her rejection because of Vauxhall policy constraints and the independent finance deal.

Wrestling for weeks with a nightmare situation, they referred her to Vauxhall’s customer care who reacted with indifference and offered no remedy other than to insist on repairing the vehicle at her expense.

Amy contacted trading standards who confirmed that a car with a defective clutch was not fit for purpose as required by law.

They also warned her not to drive it as there would appear to be a risk to her and other road users for which she would become liable if the defect resulted in an accident.

She said: ‘I was devastated when Vauxhall customer care told me they’d reviewed my case and insisted I would have to pay for the repairs.

‘When I told them the car had been rejected they offered me a 15 per cent goodwill contribution towards the cost, then upped it to 25 per cent and finally 40 per cent as their final offer.’

In the meantime, the Eden dealership empathized and provided a courtesy car, but they were on shaky grounds when they claimed they were unable to accept Amy’s rejection and could only provide moral support for a 100 percent repair contribution from Vauxhall.

Amy said she was sick and tired of being fobbed off.

‘I was exasperated and at my wits’ end as no-one would accept responsibility. It got so bad that I was off work with stress for a fortnight.

‘Trying to get them to accept the car that had been rejected involved weeks of running backwards and forwards.

‘It seemed that all Vauxhall were prepared to do was keep offering me percentages off the cost of the repairs and I’d just roll over and pay up. I was determined I wasn’t going to do that for a car I’d had for less than two months.’

At this point Amy contacted Streetwise for assistance to fight her corner with Vauxhall. We were concerned there appeared to be a violation of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act.

We stressed her lawful right of rejection was squarely with the dealership. As the clutch defect appeared less than six months from the date of purchase, Vauxhall was obliged to accept the burden of proof was on them to establish it was not defective when they sold it to her.

As they failed to comply or offer a free satisfactory repair of the dodgy clutch, they were legally compelled to either replace the vehicle with one of comparable price and mileage or refund her £5,000.

Streetwise got on to Vauxhall UK’s top boss, Paul Wilcox, alerting him to the issue and asking him to investigate.

The good news is that Vauxhall performed a prompt U-turn and authorized the Eden dealership to refund Amy’s £5,000.

A company spokesperson said: ‘We were sorry to learn of the difficulties Ms Thornhill has experienced with her Vauxhall Astra following her recent purchase of the vehicle from Eden and we certainly understand your reasons for contacting us.

‘Please be assured that both Eden and Vauxhall take any report of a vehicle failure, particularly so soon after purchase, extremely seriously and we are fully aware of our responsibilities.

‘The contract of sale in this case would be between Ms Thornhill and Eden as the selling retailer – the vehicle having been sold as a used vehicle.

‘Eden and Vauxhall are in agreement that the retailer should offer to buy back Ms Thornhill’s vehicle and issue a full refund to provide her with a satisfactory resolution to the matter.

‘I confirm this process has been implemented by Eden and we will provide the retailer with our full support.’

A greatly relieved Amy confirmed that £5,000 had been returned to her bank account by Eden and she was greatly relieved to see the end of her debilitating refund battle.

She added ‘I was just being sent from pillar to post and getting nowhere. Thank you so much. I just can’t thank you enough for all your help.’

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