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; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs
Ticking time bomb: Interest rate rises are coming, so start preparing now
More than 300,000 adults are too deeply in debt to apply for bankruptcy
What is pension death tax, what is going to change and how will it affect you?
Almost two million people are facing winter weather without heating
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
Day In a Page
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors