25th September 2015
New legislation comes into force on the 1st October 2015 which means that your customer's rights in relation to rejecting and replacement goods have significantly changed.
Because of this, customer concerns or complaints about a vehicle will therefore have to be dealt with accordingly. If you don't maintain proper records that prove the vehicle was in proper working condition at the point of sale, it will give your customer more opportunity to reject the vehicle after purchase meaning that you will have to put the customer back in the position that they where in before handing you over their cash.
Within the first 30 days If the customer exercises their right to reject the vehicle because the vehicle has a defect, they do not have to give you the opportunity to repair it (the customer must obviously demonstrate that there is a fault with the vehicle though). They can simply ask for their money back. They can of course still expect and request you to perform a repair, but either way - any complaint will have to be dealt with seriously. If they do choose to have a refund, you may make a 'reasonable' deduction for their use of the vehicle to date, but this has to be an accountable, reasonable amount.
After the first 30 days If the customer incurs a problem with their vehicle after the first 30 days, you will have one opportunity to repair or replace the vehicle. If a repair is impossible or the repair fails to correct the fault - the customer then has the right to reject the vehicle and is then entitled to a refund. It will also be expected of you to deal with your customers concerns and subsequently perform the repair within a 'reasonable' time. This is not defined and will vary on individual circumstances.
Within six months If the defect is discovered within six months of purchase, the onus to prove that the vehicle was not defective will be the supplying dealers responsibility. If suitable proof or evidence cannot be presented or is not available (e.g. obvious signs that the customer has misused the vehicle etc), you will still have to refund or repair the vehicle (remember you will only get one chance to do this). However, after six months, it will be the customer who has to prove that any fault was inherent at the time of sale, if they cannot prove this - you do not have any obligation to assist them financially.
Important to remember If a customer does back their car on you, you have a legal obligation to ensure they are put back in the position they where in before they purchased the vehicle - this includes the financials of any part exchange vehicle the customer may have used in the purchase of the new vehicle. If the part exchanged vehicle has since been traded or sold, you will have to compensate them for it's original cash value.
It is possible to ensure that only genuine cases/examples above happen - if you have maintained good records of the preparation that went into the vehicle prior to handover, this would be an exceptionally good idea and will help your cause. Ensuring that a pre-delivery checklist has been completed, the vehicle having a fresh MOT and asking the customer to sign that there were no faults with the vehicle when they took delivery, could all help your case should a complaint arise. Centurion Have a Pre-Delivery checklist which is available for you to download and use here: Pre-Delivery Inspection Checklist (PDi)
Although we are happy to offer as much advice on this subject as possible; if you have any further specific questions concerning these new rules - we would highly recommend that you obtain your own independent legal advice prior to these new rules taking effect on the 1st October 2015.