The air con doesn't work on my newly-bought, approved used car. Is the dealer liable to repair it?

I recently bought an Audi Q7 approved used from an Audi dealer. It was delivered to me in Kent at the end of March. I had no need to really use the air conditioning at the time, but in the recent weather I tried to use it and it doesn't work. I took it to my local dealer and they quoted £1,700 to replace a stone damaged condenser with a slow leak and recalibrate the ADAS systems. I had driven less than 1,000 miles when I discovered the problem and have heard no impact noises to suggest any stone damage. The supplying dealer is refusing to accept any responsibility, claiming the damage must have happened under my ownership, even though their delivery driver had to drive over 300 miles to get it to me and it could have happened then, presuming it wasn't already damaged when it left the dealership. Do I have any reasonable grounds to push them to pay at least some of the cost?

Asked on 10 June 2021 by Steve Hollis

Answered by Dan Powell
Sadly, I think too much time has passed for you to hold the dealer liable for the damage. If you noticed this within a couple of weeks of taking delivery then you would have had strong grounds to say the damage was pre-existing. But after three months the dealer will reasonably argue that the car was fine when it was delivered to your home.

A kicked up stone will easily damage an AC condenser (it is usually located behind the front grille) and it is unlikely you would notice until the system stopped working. I would recommend visiting an independent AC specialist - they may be able to repair the condenser at a much lower cost. But check the terms and conditions of your warranty, as the independent will need to use approved Audi parts and fluids.
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