Should I return this used Volkswagen Golf to the garage I bought it from, following lots of problems?

I bought a 2002 MkIV Volkswagen Golf 1.6 16v from a garage in Clacton for £1990 in June. When I bought the car, there were a few things I requested the dealer to sort out before I collected the car. The engine undertray was missing. I understand this is common on MkIVs. He replaced it as requested. However the nearside under section is missing and as a result the tray doesn't hang on the car properly and grounds out on hills. Also the Lambda sensor light was on. I'm guessing he just cleared the fault code, as on the way home the light came on again. It has times of being on and off, for about a week each, but is usually on. The information display on the dashboard instrument pod didn't, and still doesn't work. Before I collected the car I was informed of this, but we agreed that the dealer would fix this the following week as I didn't see another opportunity to pick the car up.

Since I have had the car, it has started idling unevenly at traffic lights when warm, and even cutting out when coasting to a halt. I bought the car mid-June and the dealer insists the V5 has been sent to the DVLA, and that he has phoned them and they have said they are processing it. However when I phoned them up, the DVLA said nothing has been received, and that although a text check on the car says it has passed a VIC check, they say it needs one. The dealer says this is not the case when he speaks with them. The car is listed as a cat C, hence the VIC check. The advert posted on Auto Trader lists it as a cat D.

Since I have bought the car, I have made 52 phone calls to the garage just to get the information screen fixed. They have phoned me three times, only to say "don't come in this weekend, our fitter is not around". Originally I was going to bring them the car to sort out, but since I work on a farm I'm now a bit strapped for opportunities to take the car there, so a couple of weeks ago we agreed they would come and pick the car up and leave me a courtesy car. They never did and I had to phone to find out why. "We just found out the part was wrong". A call to the local Volkswagen dealer told me the whole instrument display needed replacing at a cost of £460. The garage isn't interested.

Today I phoned up and said I wanted my money back and they could have the car. This is my preferred course of action if possible as I don't have the time or patience required to work with people like this. I need this sorted by the end of September as I'm going to university and need a car. They are supposed to be coming on Wednesday to pick the car up and leave me a courtesy car while they fix mine. However I'm a bit reluctant to let them take it, seeing as I don't have a V5C. I'm not sure what the next best step is to take. I don't want to deal with them anymore.

Asked on 9 August 2011 by TP, Orford, Suffolk

Answered by Honest John
The undertrays of Mk IV Golfs often aren't there because they sit very low and get ripped off by speed cushions. It could be that a long run with some decent petrol (Shell V-Power) will clean the crud off the lambda sensor, otherwise the problem might really be a failing cat converter. Uneven idling is usually caused by a dirty or failing mass airflow sensor. If it was a Cat C write off it needs a VIC check before it can be registered. This is the problem.

Cheap car, but nevertheless I advise you to take the car back to the dealer and formally reject it for a full cash refund because it is "not as described" and therefore "not of satisfactory quality". Dealers cannot get away with this any more. See: . Because of consumer protection laws, cheap cars from dealers could soon be a thing of the past. Old cars will either change hands privately or be sold at auction so no liability attaches to them.
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