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Motor sadness.

Byline: By Wales on Sunday

It was a dream come true for Sally Jones when she became the proud owner of a fantastic BMW coupe. At fourteen-and-a-half thousand pounds it didn't come cheap, but with a few hundred pounds deposit and Black Horse Finance to help with the rest, it wasn't long before the car was hers.

But just a month after buying the vehicle from The Car Shop Megastore at Penarth Road in Cardiff there was a problem.

Despite being only three years old it failed its MoT with several faults.

Sally, who works as an assistant at a special needs school in Ebbw Vale, was heartbroken and went back to the dealer.

She told them the car needed welding and new back panels before it would pass and she said she wouldn't have spent so much on a car that needed that much work.

As far as she and the finance company was concerned the car had come with a clean bill of health.

Ian O Hare from Black Horse told The Ferret he believed the vehicle had been given a thorough RAC inspection before sale.

When we asked Wayne Elliott from The Car Shop why the finance company thought this he said he had no idea. He also said they didn't arrange RAC inspections of their cars prior to sale in any case. But he said he was not aware of any damage at the time of selling the car.

So with no MoT and the prospect of big bills to put the car right, Sally was advised to formally reject the vehicle as 'unfit for purpose'.

The Car Shop did offer her a red BMW in its place but Sally said that would have cost her an extra two thousand pounds.

Not sure what to do next, she was advised by her solicitor to stop making the pounds 290 a month payments to Black Horse.

Although she hadn't driven the car since October she was still paying it off. So in March, six months after buying the car, she stopped her payments.

But once she stopped paying the finance company was on her back. She was very upset.

Last month, Sally commissioned an RAC report out of her own pocket. It said that her car had suffered rear accident damage and had received repairs which were described as 'poor'.

The engineer strongly recommended a chassis alignment check in case the structural integrity of the vehicle was compromised. The engineer also believed the poor standard of repairs may damage the resale value of the car.

The Ferret immediately got in touch with Black Horse with details of this report. The finance company have now agreed to cancel Sally's contract. They have also agreed to pay the full cost of the RAC report.

But that's not all, The Car Shop have agreed to take the BMW back making it clear though that they still maintain the car was safe and that they don't believe there would be any impact on its resale value.

When we told Sally she was delighted.

She said: 'Thank you so much Ferret.

'It's such a relief to see an end to the problem.'
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 23, 2004
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