When purchasing a vehicle in the United Kingdom, it’s crucial for consumers to be equipped with knowledge about their rights, particularly when the vehicle in question turns out to be faulty. The implications of a faulty car can be significant, affecting not just personal mobility but also financial stability, especially if the car was acquired through a finance agreement.

Understanding consumer rights is not merely about legal protection; it’s about empowering individuals to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions when the product they’ve purchased does not meet the expected standards. This is particularly important in the automotive industry where investments are substantial and the consequences of a malfunction can be severe.

This blog aims to shed light on the key aspects of consumer rights within the context of faulty car purchases and to provide guidance on how to navigate the complexities of financial agreements when faced with vehicle defects. By the end of this piece, readers should have a clearer understanding of their entitlements and the steps they can take to address any issues with a faulty vehicle.

Consumer Rights Act 2015 Explained

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 stands as a cornerstone in UK legislation, providing a framework for the rights and remedies available to consumers when purchasing goods and services, including cars. For car buyers, understanding the provisions of this Act is essential, as it outlines what you should expect from the vehicles you purchase and the legal recourse available if those expectations are not met.

Clarifying the Consumer Rights Act and its Relevance to Car Buyers

The Act introduces clear requirements for all goods sold, including cars, which must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. When buying a car, whether new or second-hand, these standards give you a benchmark against which you can measure the car’s condition.

The ‘Satisfactory Quality’ Expectation for Cars Purchased on Finance

‘Satisfactory quality’ means that the car must be in a condition that a reasonable person would consider acceptable, taking into account the car’s description, the price paid, and any other relevant circumstances. This covers aspects like the appearance and finish of the car, its safety, and its durability. When a car is bought on finance, these expectations remain the same – the financial nature of the transaction does not diminish the quality standards that apply.

Implications for Buyers When Faults Are Discovered

Discovering a fault with a car after purchase can be unsettling, particularly if the car was bought on finance. Under the Consumer Rights Act, you have a set period within which you can reject the car and receive a full refund – typically within 30 days of purchase. If a fault arises after this period, you may still be entitled to a repair or replacement, and if that is not satisfactory, you may be able to claim some or all of your money back.

It’s also worth noting that if the fault is discovered within six months of purchase, it is presumed to have been present at the time of sale unless the seller can prove otherwise. After six months, the burden of proof switches to you, the consumer, to show that the fault was present at the time of sale.

Understanding these rights can significantly affect how you approach the issue with the seller or finance company and determine the outcome of any disputes.

Action Steps for Fault Discovery

Upon discovering a fault with a financed vehicle, there are practical and legal considerations that you should promptly address. The actions you take following the discovery of a fault are critical in asserting your rights and ensuring that you can find a satisfactory resolution.

Reviewing Finance Agreement Terms Upon Finding a Fault

First and foremost, it’s important to review the terms of your finance agreement. These agreements often include specific clauses relating to the condition of the vehicle and may detail the procedures to follow if a fault is detected. Understanding these terms will help you navigate the process with the finance company and determine your available options.

Advising Immediate Action and Communication with the Seller or Lender

Immediate action is crucial when you identify a fault with your car. Contact the car dealer or finance provider without delay to inform them of the issue. Timeliness can be a significant factor in resolving the situation to your satisfaction. It’s essential to remain clear and concise in your communications, stating the problem and how you wish it to be addressed.

Recording the Fault and Maintaining a Paper Trail

Documentation is key. Make a comprehensive record of the fault, including photographs, written descriptions, and any communications you’ve had with the seller or finance provider. Service records, MOT certificates, and other relevant documents should be compiled and kept safe. This paper trail will be invaluable if there is any dispute about the nature of the fault or the timeline of events.

Maintaining an organised and thorough record can also be beneficial if you need to escalate the matter to a third party, such as a trade association or regulatory body. It ensures that you have all the necessary information to hand, which can facilitate a quicker and more effective resolution.

Understanding Financial Protections

Navigating the financial aspects of car ownership can be complex, particularly when it involves a purchase on credit. However, consumers are not without protections, and understanding these can provide vital support in the event of a dispute.

The Significance of Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act for Car Buyers

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 is especially pertinent for car buyers who have used a credit card or point of sale loan to purchase their vehicle. If your car cost between £100 and £30,000 and you paid part of it on your credit card, even as little as a penny, you receive powerful protection. Under Section 75, the credit card provider is jointly liable with the car dealer for any breach of contract or misrepresentation. This means that should anything go wrong with your car, you have an additional avenue for recourse against the credit card company, along with the car dealer, which can be a lot easier to resolve issues.

Discussing Claims Related to Car Finance and Quality Issues

When it comes to quality issues with a financed car, claims can be complicated. The finance provider, as the supplier of the car, may be liable for ensuring the car was of satisfactory quality when supplied, in line with the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If a fault arises, it’s essential to first ascertain whether the finance provider or dealership has made any efforts to correct the issue. Gathering evidence, such as paperwork and correspondence, can support any claim you may need to make if the issue isn’t resolved satisfactorily.

Exploring the Responsibilities of Finance Providers

Finance providers hold certain responsibilities in car purchases, particularly in providing clear and comprehensive information at the point of sale. Any undisclosed commission or lack of transparency regarding fees and costs involved in the finance agreement can be considered a form of mis-selling. It’s important for consumers to be aware that finance providers are accountable not only for the terms of the finance agreement but may also be liable for claims of misrepresentation made by credit brokers or suppliers that were involved prior to the finance agreement being taken out.

Understanding these protections and responsibilities can help you navigate the purchase and ownership of a financed car more confidently. If you find yourself facing issues, it is advisable to consult with a professional who specialises in consumer rights to assess the viability of any claims.

Rights for New and Used Cars

Consumers often wonder if the rights and protections offered differ between new and used cars. While the core consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 apply to both new and used vehicles, the expectations for the condition of the vehicle can vary.

Evaluating the Rights of Buyers of Both New and Used Cars

For new cars, buyers have the reasonable expectation that the vehicle will be in perfect or near-perfect condition, free from defects, and fit for use for a considerable period. The car must match its description, be of satisfactory quality, and be suitable for any purpose made known to the seller.

When it comes to used cars, while the same rights apply, the expected condition of the car takes into account its age, mileage, and price paid. It would be unreasonable to expect a used car to be in the same condition as a new one; however, it should still be roadworthy, safe, and match the description given by the seller. The car should not have defects – other than those specified at the point of sale – and should be capable of functioning as a car should for a reasonable amount of time given its profile.

The Impact of a Car’s Condition and History on Consumer Claims

If you purchase a car on finance, whether new or used, and it turns out to be faulty, you are entitled to rights under both the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Under Section 75 of the latter, if a part of the car’s purchase price was paid using a credit card or was financed between £100 and £30,000, the credit provider may be equally liable with the seller for any breach of contract or misrepresentation.

If faults arise, documenting a car’s condition and history can significantly impact a consumer’s ability to claim. A finance provider may be responsible if a car was sold with defects, even if the vehicle is used. Consumers are advised to maintain a detailed record of their vehicle’s condition at the time of purchase and of any communications with the seller or finance provider regarding faults.

Rights for New and Used Cars Conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a new or used car, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of your rights when entering into any finance agreement. Upon discovering a fault with your vehicle, refer to your agreement’s terms, document the issues thoroughly, and engage in early communications with the seller or lender to seek a resolution.

Remember, if you are considering making a claim relating to car finance and quality issues, it may be beneficial to consult a professional with expertise in consumer rights for personalised advice.

Precautions When Buying on Finance

When considering the purchase of a car on finance, taking certain precautions can help protect you from potential issues down the line. From understanding the specifics of the finance agreement to ensuring the suitability of the credit arrangement, being well-informed is your best defence.

The Need for a Diligent Review of Any Finance Agreement

It is critical to carefully review your car finance agreement before entering into it. Pay particular attention to:


  • The total amount payable over the term of the agreement.
  • The interest rates and any variable elements that may affect them.
  • Any fees or charges that may not be immediately apparent.
  • Clauses relating to early repayment, voluntary terminations, and what happens in the case of a default.
  • Any disclosures about commissions or additional incentives for brokers or sellers.

A diligent review helps you understand the full scope of the financial commitment you are making. Ensure all terms are clear and query anything that you do not understand.

Stressing the Importance of Proper Credit Assessments

Before agreeing to a car finance deal, it’s vital that a comprehensive and proportionate credit assessment is completed. This should involve:

  • An evaluation of your current financial circumstances.
  • Checks on your credit history and credit score.
  • An affordability assessment to ensure that the monthly repayments are sustainable based on your income and outgoings.

These checks are also in the interest of the finance provider to prevent irresponsible lending. If a finance provider fails to conduct proper credit assessments, it could be considered mis-selling.

The Benefits of Being Well-Informed Before Entering into Agreements

There are significant advantages to being well-informed about car finance. Knowing your rights and the details of potential agreements can:

  • Prevent you from being locked into an unsuitable or unaffordable finance product.
  • Enable you to negotiate better terms.
  • Allow you to recognize and avoid potential mis-selling.
  • Give you confidence in dealing with finance providers and understanding the full implications of the finance agreement.

In summary, taking the time to understand the finance agreement, ensuring proper credit assessments are conducted, and being well-informed before committing, can help to protect your financial well-being when buying a car on finance.


Understanding your consumer rights when purchasing a vehicle on finance can significantly affect your ability to navigate the process and address any issues that may arise. Being well-versed in the relevant laws and regulations, such as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Credit Act 1974, can equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions and to act promptly and effectively should any disputes or concerns present themselves.

With the complexities inherent in finance agreements and the nuances of consumer protection law, it’s beneficial to carry out due diligence when entering into financial arrangements for a car purchase. A review of the terms and conditions, a clear understanding of the financial commitment, and an awareness of the protections afforded by law are key to safeguarding your interests.

Encouraging Readers to Seek Professional Advice for Specific Concerns

Whilst this website provides a solid foundation for understanding the general landscape of consumer rights in car finance, individual concerns and situations can be complex and may require tailored advice. For specific issues, queries, or circumstances that you may encounter, seeking professional advice can be invaluable. Legal professionals or financial advisors who specialise in consumer credit are well-placed to offer guidance that is pertinent to your individual case.


Please be aware that the content provided throughout this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. The information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. For legal advice concerning your unique circumstances, it is recommended to consult a qualified professional.

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