The experience of being denied the right to return a faulty vehicle is a scary one (Image: Getty)
Ian and Eth Thompson were so scared they say they tried to return their year-old Ford Focus St-Line under 30-day right to reject consumer rules and cancel the payment deal they had signed up to.
That attempt begun in November still continues eight months later, although crunch time is nigh.
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Convinced their vehicle, which had just 6,249 miles on the clock, was faulty from the start and faced with a potential loss of thousands of pounds, the Thompsons, supported by Crusader, have battled on.
In the course of astonishing twists and turns they have navigated a complicated system based on often debatable technicalities that can run rings round consumers and pose terrible quandaries for them.
“This is definitely not the car we thought we had bought,” they said when they first sought guidance a few months ago.
Purchasing from dealer Sandicliffe in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, they paid with a mix of part-exchange, deposit and a £178 a month four-year finance plan with Halifax.
Shortly after the first incident, there were two more similar ones followed by stalling on a busy road and a lights failure when Eth, the car’s official owner, was driving alone at night. “After all that we totally lost confidence,” they added.
The couple received an email saying the dealer could find no fault with the vehicle (Image: Getty)
“This is definitely not the car we thought we had bought”
The car was returned to Sandicliffe and they refused the offer of a courtesy after being advised that might indicate they agreed to a repair which could affect their bid to reject the car.
The couple then say they received an email saying the dealer could find no fault. An inspection ordered by Halifax reached the same conclusion.
Ian says he then spoke to mechanic he knew and “he reckoned it sounded like a problem with the engine mounts”. He also found similar online reports to their experience filed by drivers in the US.
“We contacted Ford but it referred us back to the dealer,” he said.
In April the stalemate was broken when the Thompsons collected the vehicle.
They were however in a dilemma: should they sell it privately and to try settle up what they owed, or complain to the Financial Ombudsman, a possible option because the car was subject to a finance agreement.
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Halifax had offered to reinvestigate if the Thompsons could supply fresh evidence of a fault.
They agreed to pay for this and were further convinced this was the right decision when driving the car after its return the same banging problem occurred.
Their own subsequent independent inspection found an abnormal noise from the underbody “reproduced by normal or fast clutch release”.
Shortly after in May the Thompsons were staggered when they received out of the blue an official, recall of the vehicle model from Ford for a software update.
Before replying they took stock and asked Halifax for its view given the turnaround in circumstances
Throughout the saga Crusader has asked Sandicliffe, a member of disputes arbitration service The Motor Ombudsman, for a response but without success.
Read Crusader’s advice on what to do next if your vehicle turns out to be faulty here