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'


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.

PM

London

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?

RE

Plymouth

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

Suggested Topics
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

    £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

    Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

    £50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker