Please help, bought a car 1.2 months ago and it is broken (severely)

03-31-2014, 03:45 PM
Please help, on the 25th February I bought a car (Citroen Berlingo 1.6) Which I bought for 3000

The Starter Motor has gone completely, possibly destroying the rest of the engine if the smell and what the RAC man says and I need to know my rights to return this vehicle as unfit for purpose.

I signed a piece of paper that said the warranty was only for up to 200 so I need to know what my right are as far as returning the vehicle.

I am so upset, I know nothing about cars, I have 2 young children and live rurally so we are all housebound while this is sorted out. My biggest worry is that they will take months to repair it and I wont have transportation

I don't know what to do!

Dave B.
04-02-2014, 08:19 AM
Hello Dragonfi

Since I'm in the U.S., I was hoping that one of our U.K. members with knowledge of your consumer laws would chime in, but it doesn't look like that's happening. So, I'll hand out a bit of very general advice...

What you're experiencing is one of the worst pitfalls of buying a used vehicle. Unless you either get a written commitment from the seller guaranteeing that the vehicle has no major defects - or - you buy a warranty policy from a reputable insurer, you're pretty much on your own.

My knowledge of your particular car is very limited, since Citroens are not sold in the U.S. In most cars, however, replacing the starter motor is not that big of a problem. They're usually attached to the engine/transmission with 2 or 3 bolts and a couple of connections for the wiring. If the starter's failure ruined anything, I'd guess that it would be the flywheel (manual transmission) or 'flex-plate' (automatic transmission). It's difficult for me to imagine a starter motor failure ruining any part of the vehicle's engine. While a starter motor/flex-plate wouldn't be CHEAP to replace, it should not be unduly expensive. (I'd guess the worst case would be in the GBP 600-700 range.) My first move, if I were you, would be to try to find a reputable independent garage in your area that would give you a second opinion on the cost of the repair (and don't quote my guess, as the actual repair cost could be well below my worst-case estimate!!!).

If you haven't already done so, contact the seller as soon as possible and let him/her know that you expect the GBP 200 to be applied to the cost of the repair.

I certainly wish you the best of luck resolving this unfortunate situation!

Dave B.

04-02-2014, 09:32 AM
Hi there Dave and thank you for contacting me.

Fortunately here in the UK (don't know how it works in US) we are covered by a legally binding warranty that means the car is 'fit for purpose' for six months. Even better I didn't have to go into any of that, I phoned the dealer, they collected the vehicle that day and they have fixed it and I picked it up this afternoon. It was the starter motor and they also needed to replace the battery, apparently there was a short in the engine which had kept the starter motor running beyond its limit which is why it heated up and destroyed the starter motor. They said nothing about the fly wheel or anything else, just said they needed to replace the motor and the battery. No question of money was raised, they just fixed it and returned it, so I am very, very pleased.

Thank you to responding to my query, fortunately the CAB were on hand to talk to me and I got a lot of good advice from them.

All sorted now, cheers


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