Should the supplying dealer replace the European-spec headlamps in my Volkswagen Polo free of charge?

I have a 4-year-old Volkswagen Polo, which I bought new from a main dealer in Ruislip, Middlesex. It passed its first MOT, but the second time I took it to a different main dealer. He found that the headlamp units were for use in Europe, with different part numbers, and faced the wrong way on the road. The MOT was due, I was far from Ruislip, and it cost me almost £300 to have the two units replaced. I have not had an accident, and the units had not been replaced since I bought the car.

I wrote to the dealer in Ruislip, pointing out that the car was not fit for purpose in the UK, and asking for reimbursement only, no compensation. He has replied saying that the car is four years old, and he cannot help me. I think that this is unfair, but I wonder what you think and what, if anything I can or should do?

Asked on 14 October 2010 by JL, Hanwell

Answered by Honest John
Yes he can. As long as you have conclusive proof that your car is a misbuild and have the evidence in the form of the bill from the other garage, you can demand that the dealer refunds the money and if he fails to do so you can sue him for the money using the small claims track of the county court. Your counter contention is that you as an owner could not be expected to notice this, that it had not been noticed in the first MoT, and it was not until the second MoT that the misbuild was finally discovered. The car was still "of unsatisfactory quality" from day one and the supplying dealer has to pay.

(Volkswagen later paid in full for the fault to be rectified.)
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