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used car dealer - HELP PLEASE


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Greetings all.  First of all I must make a confession or three

i) I know nothing at all about cars

ii) I was not even remotely  a 'car person' until I purchased a 2003 S-type in 2007.

iii) I may have understated number i)  

iv) I am perhaps too trusting as well as stupid


After 12 years of the S-type I decided that it was time to acquire something a little newer (sadly relative to it's 16 years and not it's age when I purchased).  After a little looking around I found a dealership with 6-7 XF's in their showroom and, importantly for someone that knows nothing, offering a 3 month warranty.

Both  I and a more switched-n friend spoke with a representative of the dealership prior to myself and the better-half making the 100 mile trip.

Initial thoughts were that the dealership salesman was entirely genuine and welcoming but upon me requesting evidence that the car's timing belt and fuel belt (?) had been changed as per Jag's recommendations for 105,000 and 110,000 miles in order to confirm information given over the telephone to both myself and also to my friend in a separate call, we were perhaps fobbed off. 

Documentation from a Jag main dealer was produced and this showed undisclosed works at what the dealership salesman stated was about the right number of miles and the right sort of cost.  The salesman supposedly called the main dealer and there was no answer so assurances were made that if the belt services had not been completed then the dealership would make good under their warranty.   Like the idiot I am (see points i) - iv) above), the newer car was purchased and the old S taken in P/X.

By the following day, we had become aware of issues with the vehicle - including that it was losing coolant and that this accounted for the curry-like smell within the car interior.  The other issue was that the driver's seat belt which I had considered a little loose was now not retracting at all.

I had also managed to get some information from the main dealer stating that the invoice in question was for an entirely different job of work.

My initial report to the dealership of these issues was met with the response that I should drive the car it back to them for their local guy to take a look.  Obviously given the fact that this would have been both illegal and dangerous and perhaps cause damage to the vehicle, I declined and suggested that the more logical course of action was for me to get the car to a local independent specialist.  This was agreed by the garage as was the fact that they would reimburse the £108 for recovery/transportation to the local garage.

The dealer confirmed with the local garage that they would pay for the necessary works and confirmed to me in email.

Rather than let the company spend money inefficiently by potentially paying for more than one visit to the indy I asked that they also clarify the matter regards the belts servicing - even going so far as to suggest that if the local indy was more expensive than their local indy that I would be willing to discuss compromising on the fees.

The dealerships response to this was that under law all they have to do is offer to reverse the deal - but I have no desire to do so given numerous factors including a lack of time and genuinely wishing to resolve matters as painlessly as possible for all concerned.

For c. 2 weeks now I have not had a usable car and despite the assurances that "we want happy customers" from the dealership including it's young Director nothing has been done. 

On Friday I had a conversation with the Director and he stated that he wanted the car returned to them for their local garage to complete repairs.  Again I reiterated that I did not want the car sent back to them and he agreed to get a price for works from their local guy and to report to myself  on Saturday morning.

There was no call at all on Saturday, instead I got a text on Sunday before 6.30am stating that I had not been forgotten and that I would hear from them this morning. I waited until midday before texting a request that the matter was progressed.  It is now 2pm and I have heard nothing.


I have emailed and await response from The Motor Ombudsman but wondered whether anyone could offer some guidance if they have suffered from or heard of similar issues.  I do not wish to name the dealership at this time as I do naively believe in giving the benefit of the doubt.

Despite my own naivety I now cannot help but wonder how a dealership, supposedly specialising in Jag and other higher-end cars can miss a coolant leak and the smell that I now realise is an obvious indication of the problem, and a dodgy seat-belt and (yes I have now made enquiries) can genuinely mistake a £350 invoice from a main Jag dealer as relating to a dual belts service when it would appear that under fixed pricing special offers the single cam belt is quoted at £625!


Suffice to say that my confidence in the dealership, the word of their salesman, DIrector, and Director's Father with whom I have also had a conversation is seriously reduced.


Is it time for me to fully realise my stupidity in trusting this dealership, to go public with their name and attempt to shame them into doing the right thing?   There is more detail to the above and I have shown ridiculous patience and willingness to compromise from outset.   Should I name so that other folk with no knowledge of the trade are warned to be extra diligent?

Be as harsh as you like with your responses, beng thick brings the benefit of being thick-skinned



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Hi Phil

Sorry to hear of your unfortunate dilemma with the dealership and the tainted XF.
It tends to leave you with a bad taste that can take forever to lose, if at all.

I would definitely return the car to them for a full refund as if they have to remove the dashboard to replace the leaking heater matrix then this can sometimes change the whole feeling of the car by introducing new squeaks and rattles of which constantly remind you of the initial problems.

Sorry to add fuel to the fire but it does anger me to hear of some (not all) dealers deliberately palming off problem vehicles to the unsuspecting public.
Keep up updated on the outcome

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Many thanks for taking the time to reply Trevor.  The matter has left a somewhat unpleasant taste at the moment but I have had new correspondence from the company including an email confirming that they are willing to pay for the new seat belt and expansion bottle and also to make a contribution to the timing belt etc based on what it would have cost at their preferred garage.

This amounts to £1,100 and must hurt so if it genuinely happens then my faith in the human race may yet be restored.  My local indy has recommended that the water pump be changed at the same time whilst under the bonnet and as such I will have a bill of my own but only a few hundred £ which I feel is acceptable.

As I have only driven the car from dealer to home I have perhaps not had the chance to determine squeaks etc (although it did seem quiet after me factoring in that I have gone from a rather smooth 3.0 Petrol to 3.0 diesel) so combined with the fact that I think the coolant leak is simply the broken nipple on the expansion tank,  I am not inclined to return the vehicle at the cost of another day's work.

I do feel that, if I am not careful, the local indy might complicate the matter with the dealer but I can only watch near helplessly whilst they hopefully do the right thing.


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