Consumer Rights: Help me get my money from a dodgy dealer
A motor trader refuses to return a reader's deposit after failing to produce the correct document / Redundancy fears stalk the land despite 'green shoots'
Sunday 14 June 2009
I liked the look of a Toyota Yaris advertised on a car trade website and called the dealer to enquire. I was told the car was there and to come to the showroom to see it.
When I got there, he told me he didn't have that particular car or any of the others advertised. However, there was a Nissan Micra for £3,000 which I was told had done 40,000 miles and had one owner. I test drove it and it seemed fine but I made it clear I would only buy it if I had all the paperwork.
I was told it would all be available when I came to pick the car up. I had to put down a £250 deposit which I was told would be refunded if all was not in order. When I went to pick up the car, the paperwork was incomplete. I was told I'd get the documents "in a few weeks". I wasn't happy and decided not to go ahead.
The dealer refused to refund the £250 even though I hadn't signed anything. I would never buy this car or any other from this dealer now. I just want my deposit back. I've been advised to make a claim in the small claims court. Is this my only course of action? I paid the deposit by credit card.
Having checked this firm's website there seems to be more than one dissatisfied customer leaving comments on there who'd like their deposits back and drastic punishment handed out to the dealer. The Office of Fair Trading has just launched a study into the sale of second-hand cars because of the large number of consumer complaints.
Rule one: check out the dealer before handing over any money. Always buy from a reputable dealer, and the best way to find one is usually to talk to trusted friends and relations about where they buy their goods or services. Check websites and message boards; check that dealers are members of a trade association; talk to local trading-standards departments and consumer-advice centres before you buy. They are usually aware of who's reputable and who isn't. However, you've probably worked all this out yourself with hindsight, which is an exact science. What to do now?
Go to your trading standards department (details through Consumer Direct at consumerdirect.gov.uk or on 08454 040506) and talk with someone there. Ask them to put pressure on the dealer to pay up. Consumer affairs expert Elizabeth Manford says: "He could be committing an offence by advertising something which was not available for sale. Trading-standards officers could investigate this as they can access his records. If you have the number plate for the original Toyota Yaris you saw advertised that will be useful information."
You paid your deposit by credit card. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the card issuer is equally liable with the trader if something goes wrong. It has clearly gone wrong here so get in touch with your card company as soon as possible. If it refuses to get involved, and says that Section 75 doesn't apply, insist, and ask the trading standards officer to pursue it for you.
Ultimately, you may have no choice but to claim through the small claims court. You'll find all the information you need at http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/claims/ index.htm
But think carefully before you go down this route. If your dealer is "dodgy" there may be no money to repay you even if the court finds in your favour. You would then have to decide whether to pay out more to have the court judgment enforced. It could be a case of throwing good money after bad.
Ms Manford also says: "There is one other thing you must do. Contact the site that carried the advert from this dealer. They will want to know that he isn't giving you your rights when things go wrong."
I hoped the "green shoots" everyone's talking about meant I'd keep my job, but it now looks like some of us will be axed. I've been here for 18 years and am one of the longest employed. Everyone says I should find out how much redundancy money I'd get but I don't want to talk to the boss in case that prompts him to put me on his hit list. Can you tell me how much I should get?
I need to know what your contract says about redundancy; how much you're paid per week and how old you are.
Your employer can pay you more redundancy money than he or she has to by law. If that's the case, the terms will be in your contract and your employer must stick to them. If there's nothing in the contract, you're entitled to the statutory amount. That depends on how long you've worked for the firm and how old you are. You've worked there for 18 years so, if, for example, you are 38, you'll be entitled to 17 weeks' pay; if you are 48, you'll be entitled to 21.5 weeks' pay; if you are 58, you'll be entitled to 26.5 weeks' pay. But a week's pay is limited to a maximum of £350. If you go to berr.gov.uk you'll find a ready reckoner and more information.
If your employer has no money, the Government will pay your redundancy. Again there's more information on the website. If you are made redundant straight away, you will be entitled to be paid instead of working your notice period. If you think you are unfairly selected for redundancy, you may be able to claim against your employer. I'd advise a trip to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to check your entitlement and your rights. You'll find details in your phone book or at citizensadvice.org.uk. Take a copy of your contract with you.
Liz Barclay's new radio series, The Job Clinic, is on BBC Radio 4 at 11am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week; moneyagonyaunt.com
Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...
Day In a Page
With four bedrooms, this spacious maisonette in a mid-terrace period-style house in Holland Road is well-maintained and offers high ceilings and period features.
The terraces of this two-bedroom penthouse apartment offer panoramic views that stretch over fifty miles from the cliffs of Beachy Head.
In the heart of the coastal village of Mumbles and moments from the pier, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is set over three floors and retains many original features.
In a sandbanks location, moments from the beach, this three-bedroom apartment has a large open-plan living area and a south-west facing balcony.
This four-bedroom home has an annexe accessed from the side of the house, with potential for improvement and conversion subject to the necessary permissions.
In the heart of the hamlet of Wardley, this five-bedroom period home offers countryside views and a stylish interior, with original features and open fireplaces.
Offering countryside views and landscaped gardens, this three-bedroom Grade II-listed lodge has a spacious conservatory and a large cellar that could serve as a workshop.
Set in approximately 1.5 acres, this four-bedroom home comes with a second, detached property that's currently used as an annexe.
In the hamlet of Newchurch, this former parish church is now a four-bedroom home complete with clock tower and eyrie.
Offering scenic views from a large balcony and sun terrace, this four-bedroom home has a wraparound garden and a heated swimming pool.
Offering views across the Humber and East Yorkshire Wolds from a glass panelled balcony, this four-bedroom barn-style home befits a life of leisure.
This four-bedroom home offers versatile accommodation with annexe potential; features include a hot tub, sauna and Norwegian BBQ hut.
Well-located for schools, colleges and the town centre, this contemporary thatched cottage offers flexible living space with six bedrooms.
Built in 1907, this four-bedroom Edwardian period home has been refurbished by the current owners, retaining many original period features.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this five-bedroom home offers living space across three floors.
This lovely country home in Burnham Market is currently run as a popular holiday cottage, with five en suite bedrooms and colourful gardens.
This three-bedroom 17th-century former village bakery is just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
Set on a landscaped plot, this light and airy four-bedroom home comes with a log burner in the lounge, a fitted kitchen and an open-plan ground-floor layout.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Built on a former chapel site, this impressive four-bedroom home boasts balconies, stunning views and contemporary modern living.
This three-bedroom house is situated in a quiet mews and set over three floors. Features include glazed staircases and high ceilings.
A period townhouse set over four floors, this five-bedroom home was built in the 18th Century and retains many original features.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.