Bought your Car on Finance? You may be entitled to a refund!

If you bought your car on credit, you might be entitled to a refund based on previous Financial Ombudsman rulings and consumer protection built into the Consumer Protection Act, Section 75. Lets dig a little deeper.

At the start of #VWGATE we explained to angry customers on this website we were looking into the possibility that people may be entitled to refunds due to the cheating software if they had taken out a consumer finance Agreement. This may indeed be the case but there is a still a grey area surrounding the exact complaint that can and should be made when seeking to claim your refund and compensation. Also, there will be a process of who to complain to and in which order.

Letter's received by UK customers (left) versus US customers (right). Notice the lack of apology to UK customers.
Letter’s received by UK customers (left) versus US customers (right). Notice the lack of apology to UK customers.

This is because of the striking lack of customer care VW Group is showing towards its customers in the UK and around the EU. We are still none the wiser as to exactly what “fix” is going to be implemented by VW Group and what that will mean to how the car will perform afterwards. Recalls are expected to commence in January 2016 and some customers won’t get a fix until the end of 2016.

It is understood that VW engineers are operating to the brief that MPG must remain unchanged. But what that will mean for BHP, Torque and overall driving dynamics is unclear.

The basis of any claim to refund consumer finance payments and deposits will hinge upon the basic fact that the goods purchased were mis represented (eg emissions data) and any change in how the car performs (post fix). Therefore it is going to be a period of time until clear facts can be pulled together to make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

In plain English that means; what you got for your money is not what you thought you were getting or should have got…

We’ve borrowed some examples of previous ombudsman rulings to showcase what the result of properly upheld complaints may look like:

“Miss G bought a van through hire purchase, but discovered several problems with it. She arranged two separate independent reports – one blamed the problems on wear and tear, but the second found longstanding issues with the vehicle. But the finance provider refused to cancel the agreement.

The ombudsman found the second report more credible. It told the finance provider to cancel the hire purchase agreement, refund Miss G’s initial deposit and all the payments she’d made since the van failed its MOT – plus 8% interest.

In another case, Mr A bought a new car on finance from a local dealership. He tried out the test model in the showroom, but when HIS car arrived he found he had almost no headroom.

This was because he’d opted for a car with a sunroof, which had a dramatic effect on the space inside.

The ombudsman decided if Mr A had been warned about this, he wouldn’t have bought the car. So it told the finance provider to cancel the agreement, refund the deposit and 30% of the payments, and write off any remaining debt.”

Let’s be clear here. Any providers of Finance for affected vehicles are going to try their hardest to not refund and try wiggle out of any compensation as hard as they can. We think this will boil down to the Financial Ombudsman having to step in and issue a judgement on this whole saga to protect consumers.

Stay tuned for more news regarding affected vehicles and compensation updates.