Brake chancing

We saw and test-drove a VW Touran just under 3 weeks ago. There was a light on the dashboard, which I thought was the traction control light, and the ESP light near the gearstick was also on. The dealer said this was due to the battery being removed and replaced, which blew a switch, and it wasn't a problem but meant that the ESP light was always on. He said it could be fixed but most people didn't bother as it would cost £500-£600. The dealer gave us what we thought was a good deal, and I paid a deposit of £195 by credit card. He then offered to deliver the car once some cosmetic work was done and it was MoT'd, so we agreed to pay the balance (£6,600) by debit card there and then as he said he would not be able to deliver without that being paid in person. The following day I researched the ESP problem and discovered that not only was it common, but it could cost up to £1,500 to replace. I called the dealer to ask him to fix it. He offered our money back, but we still wanted the car and he agreed to take it for diagnosis. I now have a quote for the repair which is £995 + VAT. I don't want to pay an extra £995+ VAT. I have asked the dealer to get the problem fixed but he has declined saying I knew about it when I bought the car. What can I do?

Asked on 27 February 2010 by C.H., Cherry Burton

Answered by Honest John
He told you a lot of rubbish. This is a serious and well-known fault with the car that immediately makes it worth £1,500 less because that is what it costs to fix. If he won't simply give you all your money back, get onto Trading Standards. TEVES Mk 60 ABS/ESP module failure is a nightmare affecting the whole of the independent used car trade. Typically the wide boys in the business buy the faulty cars at £1,500 under trade book then disconnect the light and sell the car as if it is fine. Unfortunately the only advice I can give it not to buy a Golf Mk V, Golf Mk V Plus, Touran, Altea, Leon, Toledo, Octavia, A3, BMW 1 Series, BMW 3 Series, Volvo S40/V50 or Mazda 3 without either reducing the price by £1,500 or previously checking with a franchised dealer that it either does not have this £1,500 fault or the module has been replaced.

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