Dodgy Car Deal - John Smith
Long Post - Apologies

I have a problem regarding a dodgy car dealer , even though it is a main
dealership which should have a bit more integrity in dealing with customers.


I bought a Toyota Avensis from a Toyota dealership (which for the present
time shall remain nameless) near Manchester. Granted, it is a nice looking

However, since taking delivery of the vehicle on July 6th, it has been in
for repairs, at my (kindly and patient) local (unrelated) Toyota dealership
in Merseyside, under the warranty FIVE times. The car was only registered in
September last year!

The five problems, briefly have been:

- a new satellite navigation CD-rom to replace a faulty one,
- a repositioning of the satellite navigation system, since the gyroscope
was not detecting the vehicle's position accurately,
- a new clutch cover,
- a completely new clutch when the replacement cover did not rectify an
earlier problem,
- a new "fan auxilliary pulley".

Furthermore, the vehicle document, which was sent to me from Swansea states
that the vehicle was previously owned by "ERAC UK Ltd" of Hounslow. A web
search reveals this to be Enterprise Rent A Car. A quick phonecall to ERAC
yielded the information that they sell many such ex-rental vehicles through
this dealership.

When I asked about the car at the time I viewed and test-drove it, the
salesman (PM) when I enquired about the vehicle's history told me that the
car was "our own car, a demonstrator" (witnessed by a friend who was with me
at the time).

So, basically, there are two problems:

- the misrepresentation of the source of this vehicle
- the poor quality / lack of reliability of the vehicle

I think I should be entitled to some compensation for the inconvenience that
I have had due to the 5 garage visits and also for the fact that the car was
not as described - ie not a "demonstrator" vehicle.

I think that an ex-rental vehicle (which could have been treated, er, badly)
is of less value than a demonstrator (which would have been treated
respectfully, arguably).

I have offered the garage various alternatives - a monetary compensation
payment or to replace the vehicle with an identical spec car which is not an
ex-rental car.

All they have offered me is a free service next year. Alternatively I can
have my old car back and the deal cancelled. Neither of these options appeal
to me.

Frankly, the offer of a free service next year is unsatisfactory and
derisory and the offer of the return of my old car and cancel the deal is
just a joke. They have had my car for a month now. Who knows who has driven
it, and how they have driven it, in that time. If I had wanted to keep my
old Yaris, I wouldn't have "upgraded" would I?

The nice lady at Tameside Trading standards (NLTTS), who again I will not
name, says that the dealership told her that they have offered me an
extended warranty. That is yet another lie. I have been offered nothing of
the sort. The toyota has over 2 years remaining of the 3 year manufacturer's
warranty as it is.

Furthermore, one minute they apologise to NLTTS for what PM had said, and
the next minute they deny to her that he ever claimed the car was their own
car / a demonstrator vehicle. That is very inconsistent, and she agrees.
They apologised to me a fortnight ago (after 3 repair visits), when the free
service was offered, saying that PM had said that the vehicle was a
demonstrator, but that he did not mean to mislead me. Well, they cannot get
much more misleading than claim that an ex-rental car is a demonstrator.

They also claim that the faults with the Toyota were "known Toyota Avensis
faults". Should I not have been warned at time of sale? I also find it hard
to believe that all 5 problems were known faults.

Other comments. Salesman PM said that "the car will be given a service
before you take delivery". Incorrect. The service history document he
produced when I took delivery of the car was stamped "May 2001" so a service
was not required.

I have said that if the dealership do not come to some sort of satisfactory
agreement regarding some degree of monetary compensation for the
misrepresentation of the sale and the subsequent unreliability of the car.

Am I being reasonable, given the great inconvenience this car has given me?

Would I stand a reasonable chance of getting monetary compensation in the
small claims court? The car cost £11,000 and they gave me £6500 for my car.
I would only ask for £500 in compensation for the aggro I have had. The free
service is worth £100 - hardly representative of the grief I have had, is

Advice please, thanks. Arguably, selling an ex-rental vehicle as a
"demonstrator" is tantamount to fraud, isn't it?

Apologies if this sounds a bit like a rant!

Toyota Owner, regretting it already!
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Perky Penguin
You are clearly having a lot of grief, I am sorry to hear that. One inconsistency in your reasoning is that you were prepared to accept their old demonstrator with out knowing who had driven it or how, but you would not have your own car back in the same circumstances because not knowing who had driven it was unacceptable to you. I don't quite follow that!

To try to be helpful and constructive, have you considered the Small Claims Court? Trading Standsards might advise you on this. I think it costs £80 to obtain and lodge the paperwork. If the dealership is on shaky ground they might give way if they got a short sharp letter from a solicitor although that might cost more than £80. Godd luck whatever action you take
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - John Smith
I have told them that I am considering suing and this is their response:

Dear Mr **************
with referance to our telephone conversation last week and yesterday the 07/08/01 I have looked into your complaint, and my findings are as follows. the problems you have experienced with your avensis are not due to misuse or poor preparation but to component failure, (which are covered by the warranty)with this in mind and the obvious inconvenience this has caused I am prepared to stand by my original offer of a free service or a full refund of monies and the return of your part exchange
this offer will be in full and final settlement and is valid until 15/08/01.

No mention of the misrepresentation as a demonstrator, only the faults.
With 5 repair visits and misrepresentation, the free service worth £100 (not needed til next May so they may "forget" it) or my old car back which could have been left out in all conditions or driven as a dealership runaround, their compensation offer is inadequate.

(It will not be them doing the service but my local toyota dealer who has had to put up with repairing this car on 5 occasions). They are 50 miles away, and the car was advertised on the web. I shall never buy a car via the web again!

As I am writing this, they have replied again:

as per my previous email all these points were taken into consideration and fully discussed with my brand director Peter Hampson before our final decision was made.

Looks like they are not worried by the threat of court action.

Oh, and I have a witness to the salesman 's claim that the car was "our own car/ a demonstrator". It was a lie, but they do not seem bothered.

Maybe I should name and shame these b*****s here! They cannot sue me for libel, because it is true!
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Dave N
Go and name them. If you believe you have had shoddy service, say so.

I don't know how Toyota always seem to do well in the JD Power surveys, as during any of my dealings with them, they have always been rubbish. You can always complain to Toyota, and if nothing else, the Dealership has to fill in a lengthy form, detailing everything that has gone on. You've also learnt that you ALWAYS need to look at the log book before buying, to see what has really gone on.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - John Smith
Tempted ...............

I'll think about it.

Don't want to prejudice any claim made in a small claims court.
Re: John Smith Pseudonym - Jon Todd
Very original name.

At least do us a favour by not putting in a false e-mail address. Just leave it blank.
Re: JD Power - Alex. L. Dick
I, and my wife especially, had a series of Toyotas from the first Carina until 1994 with every satisfaction. I still have a 1985 one as a hobby, which a local agent services and finds all parts for (not that it needs many). But, these were all Japanese made........
Re: JD Power - crazed idiot
yea they are going to start making 3 door corolla's in the uk instead of bringing them in from japan... wonder how this will affect the quality
Re: JD Power - Alvin Booth
Dave N makes a very interesting point in his dodgy deal reply in which he doubts the credibility of these JD Power surveys where Toyota regularly get such high ratings.
This is something I can never get my head round and have eventually came to the conclusion that it is the lemmings syndrome.
A friend of mine recently bought a new Avensis and as well giving me a test drive I was also forced to examine every detail of his new love.
I waxed lyrical over it as one must do with a friend but in honesty I was very dissapointed with it.
The boot lid felt so flimsy and clanged like an old style Ford. there was nothing which left me feeling impressed.
What is it that endears these cars to people who constantly put in good reports to JD power or am I just being cynical????

Re: JD Power - John Smith
They must be as gullible as I was.

Never Again.



Best acronym I can come up with.

John Smith is a pseudonym, with BLANK e-mail address
Re: JD Power - Mark (Brazil)
You could use the Dealer who supplied my 4-Runner.

Never a problem with the car, excellent service with collect & deliver and courtesy car.

All in all, recommended as highly as I can..

Automotriz Portezuelo Ltda.
America Vespucio, 1654

Mind you, I'm not sure that they would consider collecting and delivering yours on the same day.

On which point, I have wondered why it isn't in the car by car breakdown. Is that because it doesn't ??
Re: JD Power - Alvin Booth
I fear for your health with the intense emotional anger you are feeling.
I think counselling is called for and if I was the man doing it I would suggest that you make up a sandwich board with "Cheating bastards" or something similar on it.. Wear it naked outside their showrooms when they open up in the morning and get yourself arrested.
This will give you your day in court at nil cost (avoids the small claims court costs) and gives you the opportunity to air your grievance.
Toyota will be represented in court and may even offer you a new replacement car to keep you quiet.
No need to thank me John but remember you must give them your real name when your'e in the dock.
We are all here to help.

Re: JD Power - John Smith


Fred Bloggs
Re: e-mail address - Jon Todd
JSmith - your first post has a address.
Re: JD Power - John Slaughter
I too have my doubts about the JD Power survey. Regularly the Vectra came out near the bottom of the pile. At the same time, it won 'Fleet car of the Year' more than once. Now, that is judged by the guys paying the bills and doesn't equate to the claimed unreliability. In my previous job, many of us had Vectras as our company car. Not only did they easily beat Mondeos for economy, but, I simply don't remember anyone being stuck due to breakdown.

I therefore find the JD Power results a bit odd. I suspect the responses are skewed by the fact it's not a true random selection of respondents, but simply invites responses, resulting in people that have either a particular interest, a particular grievance, or perhaps unrealistically high or low expectations to respond.


Re: JD Power - Dave N
I think the same as you. We all remember those people that bought Skoda a few years back, and thought they were trully wonderful, regardless of what anyone else said. I also noticed a trend by 'age of driver'. As most of those at the top tend to be driven by older people (I'm asking for it now!), and maybe these are the sort of people to accept what the garage tells them and cough up with no complaining.
Re: JD Power - crazed idiot
i think for a car like the vectra it would be nice to know what the stats were for german built examples as opposed to the uk built ones...

i agree the science behind this survey is maybe suspect...

on the whole i think quality of car, and quality of the dealer network are two different topics, and one can ruin the other...
Re: JD Power - John Slaughter
Yes, the JD Power survey gives equal weighting to all elements of the 'car owning experience'. So, if the car is lots of trouble, but the dealer is helpful, then it tends to offset the problems. However, if the only time you see them is at annual service time, you don't necessarily get a good impression....

Having also owned a Ford Fiesta, an Escort and a Saab 900 (all of which came out better than the Vectra) at various times, I'd go for the Vectra any day


Re: German Vectras - Dai Watchalowski

Crazed, (If I can call you that)

I agree, I read somewhere that Vectras in Germany suffered severe rust problems in their rear chassis. This was about two years ago. What the article (in Car Magazine) didn't elaborate on was whether these were Vectras as we know them or whether they were old style Cavaliers. I owned a Belgian made S reg Cavalier for a time. What a cracking build quality that had even in comparison to more modern cars. A chap in the same mob as me had an R plater with a 1300cc engine made in the UK and that was a box of frogs in comparison. Horrid paint quality, horrid engine and poorly screwed together.
Re: German Vectras - crazed idiot
yea, mind you have to be careful (brother in law works at luton), cos some german vectras come into the uk pretty much finished - and just a few bits and bobs are done to them and these are logged as UK cars
which is different to a UK car built from scratch in luton (it'll only be vans soon) or a pure german car
But I'm sure other makers ship half finished cars around the world for economic reasons, and I suppose it would be a toss up where any bystander would define it as having been made

i recently had a german vectra for 3 years, which was ok apart from cam belt failure and crap steering, however prior to that I had several cavaliers (both company and my own), and I would say cavs were much better than vectras anydays...

Anyway I've gone full circle and bought japanese again... funny old world
Re: German Vectras - crazed idiot
and i'd like to know how the vitara's of different origin stack up, and corolla's etc etc
Re: German Vectras - Mark
I have a hazy recollection of an article in the Telegraph motoring section a couple of years ago which took the view that German built Orions were better screwed together and lasted longer than their scouser built equivalents.

No surprise really.

as ever

Re: German Build Qualtiy - Dai Watchalowski

I concur. Fords bought by Forces in Germany in the 70s and 80s as personal imports (oh happy days) were UK spec German made and all the better for it (apparantly), mind you all Capris were made in Germany and they were pretty
Re: Agreement - Mark
Thanks Dai

I think your point about the Capri is spot on I have long held the view that Ford actually mixed up the order of letters for the name of this model in their original press release.

as ever

Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Rebecca
I say go for the small claims and call their bluff. When they receive the paperwork they'll have to act, and you can get the legal costs back too.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - John Smith
I am doing, Rebecca, but they really are not interested.

Arthur Daley is still alive and well by the look of things!
Re: JD Power/Opinion (fwiw) - Dai Watchalowski
Professional Opinion.

Take the cash and car whilst the offer is open.

Sue by all means, but all you might get is a judgment in your favour and a hole in your pocket and no compo. Depends on the What Price Principle question.

This firm cosstets its Demos, why ? 1. 'Cos we use them to sell cars so they need to be on song

2. So we can sell them on quick

3. So we don't get them back to fix them.

4. So we can keep our customers,

Old Fashioned Values I know - but it does improve your sales.
Re: JD Power/Opinion (fwiw) - John Smith
I have decided to keep the Avensis. It has has two 200 mile runs this week and is behaving itself so I think I will keep it and accept the free 20000 mile service. worth around £150.

Next time I will ask to see the car docs before parting with any cash.

This toyota dealer is a crook.

John Smith is a pseudonym.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - HJ in transit in KL
Hang about a bit. If John Smith has been offered a full refund plus his p/ex back, what's he screaming about. GPS systems NEED new CD Roms regularly because the old ones go out of date. All the faults have been fixed. And, as I always write, always assume an "ex-demonstrstor" is an ex rental. They're not bad buys because a modern car which has had a lot of different drivers will be much better run in than one which has had the same old driver.

Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Rob Fleming
You won't win in court. The judge won't see any difference in market value between an ex-demonstrator and an ex-hire vehicle. Take the free service.
You definitely won't get £500 for your 'aggro'.

Rob Fleming
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - afm
"Maybe I should name and shame these b*****s here! They cannot sue me for libel, because it is true!"

They could sue you, even though you believe the statement was true. Whether they'd win is another matter. Robert Maxwell and Private Eye come to mind.

Besides, you wouldn't want to embarrass HJ.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Mike Holland
I think they are being very reasonable in offering to totally unwind the deal. Go for it if you are still unhappy with the car. Otherwise cut your losses and have the free service. Life is too short to drag these these things out.

Mike Holland
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Mark (Brazil)

Not wishing to add insult to injury, but....

The faults, whilst extremely annoying, seem to have all been fixed.

It is, of course, annoying that you were told it was a demo and in fact it was an ex-rental. However, other than annoyance and assuming the mileage is accurate, does it really matter ?

They've offered to cancel the whole deal, and lets be honest, not much wqill have happened to your old car in a month. If anything, it will have been well cleaned and not done much mileage for a month. Certainly I know that when I test drive a car the salesman has always ensured I treat with respct, as they mostly seem to do, since they have to sell it.

The car has two years warranty left and they offer a free service (is it a mahor service ?)

> Am I being reasonable, given the great inconvenience this car
> has given me?

I thnk you're, understandably, annoyed and its blinding you to simply resolving the issue.

> Would I stand a reasonable chance of getting monetary
> compensation in the small claims court? The car cost £11,000 and they gave > me £6500 for my car.

Not a prayer. You can't prove what the Salesman did or didn't say, you're friend will not count as a witness, the car has had all its faults repaired, and they've offered to cancel the deal.

Most likely the Judge would go entirely against you, cancel your complaint, put costs against you and perhaps absolve the dealer of some of the things he has offered.

> I would only ask for £500 in compensation for the aggro I have had.

Grief, in a Small Claims Court has no value. You could claim expenses (taxi fares and the like) which I suspect that garage would probably offer to pay anyway.

> Advice please, thanks. Arguably, selling an ex-rental vehicle as a
> "demonstrator" is tantamount to fraud, isn't it?

No. Unless he did it with the intention to deceive and gain an advantage.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Vin

I've been through the small claims procedure twice and won twice, but my advice would be to take the restitution deal and write the hassle off to experience.

While I won in both cases, the reasons given by the beak were different from the ones on which I had brought my case. This makes me think I might well have lost just as easily. Remember a judge is human and having to make judgment on the balance of probabilities (which I believe to be the county court definition) can lead to anomalies. My judges happened to come down on my side, but I think there's a great deal more luck involved than you'd at first think. Also, you very definitely cannot claim for stress, grief, PTSD, etc in a county court. You'd have to go to the high court for that - forget it.

The delay, worry and stress of any court action is just not worth it. I know it's easy to say this from the outside but you really should get back to where you started and use the whole thing as a good yarn down the pub until you've purged your anger/lost all your mates.

Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Perky Penguin
John, I tried to send you a e mail but the system sent the message back! I don't think Mark (Brazil) is right when he says your witness wouldn't count; a witness is a witness so far as I am aware. If they said the car was their demonstrator and the V5 named a rental company then there has been misrepresentation, pure and simple. However, all the earlier posts suggest that you might lose, if you win you won't win much, and is it worth it in the end. I have only heard about a small claims court; some replies come from people who have been there so listen to them! Still good luck though!
Re: Dodgy Car Deal (FINAL POST) - John Smith
I have decided to take the free service offer, though I think my hassles are worth more than that.

Once I get the deal confirmed in writing, I will name and shame this garage.

John Smith is a pseudonym.
Re: Dodgy Car Deal - Mark (Brazil)

> I don't think Mark (Brazil) is right when he
> says your witness wouldn't count; a witness is a witness so
> far as I am aware

Well, to an extent. The issue is the way the Judge/Recorder/whatever decides. Frequently in such cases a subjective decision based on behaviour and expectation rather than consideration of a point of law prevails. As such, intrinsic to the final decision, and indeed the decision making process, is the credibility attributed to the relevant and main players by the decision maker.

Accordingly, the Judge will decide whether or not he believes you version of the facts and that you have reasonably taken what action you could to resolve the issue. This would include how you have behaved towards well intentioned solutions which have been presented. If he does fall toward your persepctive there is no value in speaking to the witness, if he does not and the witness is a friend or relation it is unlikely that this will sway his thinking, and indeed could have a negative effect. To significantly alter his perception over and above the credibility he attributes to you would take an independant witness, and a very credible one at that.

Within the small claims courts corroborating witnesses who are not independent are largely ignored and certainly ineffective.

Usually in these cases the Judge is much more judging the behaviour after the incident than he is the facts. Given that there is little more that the garage can do, short of paying you out on a subject not relevant to a SCC, then he is likely to see that and push the decision against your favour to discourage such a case in the future.
Re: JD Power - Stuart B
Problem with JD Power survey is that it contributions are purely by self selection and voluntary. As opposed to USA say where I believe all owners of new cars are written to and asked to fill out the survey.

The problem with the UK one is the self selection bit, in that those with main stream or popular cars will mostly choose to contribute to have a moan. Yet the owners of what might be called odd ball cars will choose to contribute when they have had a good experience in order to justify their choice, yet if they have had a bad one they'll keep quiet because no one likes to hear told you so.
Re: JD Power - John Slaughter

Missed your reply down here!



Re: JD Power - Ian Cook
I may be cynical, but I wonder how much money JD Power made out of flogging his customer satisfaction tool. I've seen some brilliant examples of clever marketing that emanated from the US, and I've seen plenty of others that were downright bullsh*t.

I reckon the JD Power survey falls somewhere between these two extremes.
Re: John Smith - Stuart B
I went to uni with a John Smith, its not as common a name as you first think.... allegedly ;-)

Value my car