What to do if you have bought a defective vehicle?

In our last blog we dealt with the case study of Mr A.

As we have pointed out a number of times; one of the most important decisions any consumer makes from time to time in his or her life is what motor vehicle to buy, when to buy it and  from who.

We get many queries in this regard and whether you decide to buy a brand new motor car or a good quality “used” vehicle; planning and due diligence are key components of your decision.

So let us imagine then that you have done your homework and that despite your due diligence, within a short period of time of the purchase, you realise that the vehicle you bought is defective, damaged or not fit for the purpose for which you bought it for; or worse still you discover that it was previously involved in a collision and this fact was not disclosed to you at the time of the sale.

At The Legal Advice Office we deal with this type of situation on a daily basis.

So what exactly DO you do in these circumstances or perhaps in similar circumstances?

Here are some guidelines: We set them out in 11 clear steps.

  1. Go back to the dealer from whom you bought the car and advise them immediately of the problem and allow them to inspect the vehicle and report back to you on their findings.
  2. At the same time request them to do a thorough inspection of the entire vehicle from bumper to bumper to check for any other possible problems or defects.
  3. If you feel it is necessary get another full diagnostic check done of the vehicle from an independent service provider; and get that report in writing.
  4. Discuss the findings of the above inspections with the dealership from whom you bought the vehicle; and ask them what they intend doing about the various issues you have now discovered.
  5. Do NOT simply agree to or allow them to repair the vehicle.
  6. Remember that it is your choice as a consumer to choose the remedy namely; either a repair; or a replacement vehicle in the event that the defect/s are material; or a refund also only in the event again of the defect/ being material.
  7. Get proper professional legal advice as to what you should do in the circumstances before giving any instruction to the dealership.
  8. Always remember that you as the consumer have the protection of Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008.
  9. If for whatever reason you do not have the protection of the CPA; you may well have the protection of the common law depending on the facts of your particular matter and the remedy may well be similar.
  10. The above should be followed as soon as you are aware of the problem and not weeks or months later or you may have lost your legal remedy.
  11. Be practical and astute in making your decision as to either a repair, replacement or refund in terms of the CPA or a refund or quanti minoris in terms of the common law.

The above 11 guidelines should apply in most circumstances although the facts of each particular matter will be different; and these steps, as outlined above, may well have to be adjusted accordingly.

The same intervention processes and procedures apply to the purchase of all major consumer items in addition to and not only to motor vehicles.

You would be strongly advised in any of the above circumstances to contact us at The Legal Advice Office to attend to this or any intervention process for you; and not to attempt to do so on your own as you do not normally have the necessary legal or practical experience; or expert knowledge to do so.

If you have experienced difficulties with buying a new or used car in the last six months; contact The Legal Advice Office at www.legaladviceoffice.co.za or at one of our email addresses; either info@legaladviceoffice.co.za or info@thelegaladviceoffice.co.za

Should you wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; just send us an e-mail and we will respond as soon as we can.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.