Your rights when a new car keeps breaking down

24 June 2024, 12:04 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 15:23

Only a few thousand miles on the clock but your car keeps breaking down? Insurance bumping up with every garage visit? You're not the only one...

Money blog reader Adam, from Derbyshire, asked: "I own a 2022 Range Rover Evoque (hybrid), the car has done 11,000 miles and I have owned it from brand new. It has been back to Land Rover dealership six times for the same issue that has still not been resolved and the car is unusable as this issue is the hybrid system does not want to engage. I can't sell it because the value has halved due to the 'known issues' of the Range Rovers being so easy to steal, and my insurance has doubled. What, if anything, can I do?"

We asked Scott Dixon, from The Complaints Resolver, to help break down what Adam can do here.

The starting point, he says, is the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which states that goods ought to be:

  • Fit for purpose
  • As described
  • Satisfactory quality
  • Last a reasonable length of time

The rules change depending on when you buy an item - goods can be returned within 30 days, no questions asked, if you can show they're faulty. After that, the onus is on the retailer - in this case the dealership, with whom Adam has a contract (not Jaguar Land Rover itself) - to prove the goods were not faulty when sold, and this onus lasts up to six months.

After six months, the onus of proof is back on you to prove the vehicle had inherent faults when it was sold.

Key here is when the fault first occurred - with that information, you'll know which of the above applies but it seems pretty clear the vehicle is faulty.

Scott says: "You only need to give a trader one opportunity to fix the same fault. If that fails, you can reject the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

"It's clear that the dealership cannot find or fix the fault. You do not need to give them any more opportunities to do so."

Should there be a dispute about whether there is an inherent fault, Scott recommends seeking an independent report from a qualified and professional mechanic and garage.

Helping your case

There are numerous factors supporting your case to reject the car, Scott says.

Land Rover's own standard warranty says "Your new Land Rover comes complete with the reassurance of an unlimited mileage, three-year manufacturer's warranty, providing free repairs and roadside assistance".

This could give you recourse with JLR itself.

Scott has also done some Googling...

"A cursory search reveals that there are well-known major problems with Range Rover Evoque hybrid vehicles on forums."

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Other avenues

Scott says: "How did you pay for it? You should always pay at least a deposit by credit card if possible, as it gives you additional free protection and joint liability under S75 Consumer Credit Act 1974 for purchases over £100.

"If you paid a deposit by credit card, contact your credit card provider and say you want to raise a S75 dispute and claim for a faulty car."

You should cite breach of contract under the Consumer Rights Act - but Scott says you'll need to be persistent.

"If the car is on finance, they bought the defective vehicle from the dealer and own it," says Scott. "You can go down the same route and raise a S75 claim against them for a breach of contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015."

If you reach a stalemate with the credit card provider or finance company, ask for a deadlock letter setting out their final position so you can submit a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Final option

If all else fails, Scott says you could take your case to the County Court (for claims above £10,000) in England/Wales, or follow the Ordinary Cause Procedure in Scotland for claims over £5,000. Information on claims processes in Northern Ireland can be found here.

Jaguar Land Rover response

Adam has so far been dealing directly with the JLR dealership - which is technically independent.

We contacted JLR to see if they could get involved, after which they've been in touch with Adam and the dealership.

A spokesperson told the Money blog: "JLR is committed to ensuring our clients have the best experience of our brands. Should a client have a concern with their vehicle, it will be thoroughly reviewed and remedied where required as soon as possible, to retain the high standards of care our clients deserve.

"In this particular case, the client has on occasion presented their vehicle with issues pertaining to engaging EV mode. These were resolved at their retailer through a software update; oil and filter replacement; and adding adequate fuel to the vehicle.

"Most recently the retailer continued extended testing for two weeks, and no fault was present with EV mode functionality. The retailer ensured the client was kept mobile throughout the process, and following these assessments the vehicle has now been returned to the client."

Adam confirmed he has the car back but has yet to test it properly - we'll return to this one in the coming months.