Can I reject a car if the dealer wasn't honest about its history?

I think I've purchased a second hand car from a car dealer with a hidden history. I bought it a week ago as one owner with15,000 miles, supplied by the dealer and serviced by them from new. The dealer confirmed via text it was a clean car, no accidents or marks on the body work. The day of viewing the same was confirmed and on inspections there was nothing obvious but it was covered in the usual dealer magic shine selling products.

On returning home I washed the car to remove the magic shine products to see if there were any hidden issues and noted several that concern me. It is evident at least two panels on the drivers side have been re-painted as there is overspray on the plastic trims and the wing mirror has been poorly repaired. The front wheel on this side of the car has also been painted but this doesn't match the other 3 wheels. The tailgate has been re-painted poorly in two places with overspray on the light clusters and I'm not convinced its the original tailgate, as it has a badge from a different model.

Am I within my rights to reject this vehicle as I've not been informed that the car has suffered damage and been re-painted. I find it hard to believe as they have supplied and maintained this car from new, that they wouldn't have known about these issues. As the vehicle was under £10,000 if they do not cooperate, is the small claims court the best option?

Asked on 19 April 2023 by Anthony Holt

Answered by David Ross
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 sets out the rights of consumers when they purchase goods from a trader. The Act provides that goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. If the goods do not meet these requirements, you may have the right to reject them and receive a refund within 30 days of purchase.

In your case, if the car dealer did not inform you of any damage to the car and you have subsequently discovered that it has been re-painted and repaired poorly, you may have the right to reject the car and receive a refund. However, you may need to act quickly as the 30-day period for rejection starts from the day you take ownership of the car.

If the car dealer does not cooperate with your request for a refund, you may wish to consider taking legal action. The small claims court is an option for disputes involving sums of less than £10,000, but you may also wish to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in consumer law.

In any case, it is important to keep records of all communications with the car dealer and any evidence of the car's condition, such as photographs or reports from independent mechanics, to support your case.

Finally, it is always advisable to conduct a thorough inspection of any second-hand car before purchase, including a test drive and a check of its history as it may have been reported as accident damaged.
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