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My new used 2010 Volkswagen Polo already has problems, what should I do?

Asked by Alessandro

I recently bought a used 2010 Polo from a Volkswagen dealership and they assured me that it had not been in any incident and it didn’t have big issues. Today, about two weeks after buying, I had my mechanic check the car just in case there were minor things to fix (as you would expect with a used car). The report from the mechanic is that the car has indeed had large repairs, that the positive cabling to fuse box on battery is getting hot and the insulation had melted, there are oil leaks on the underside of the vehicle, the mechatronics unit is leaking and that the engine bay had been steam-cleaned to hide the oil leaks. The dealership even serviced the car before handing it over. I went straight to them and talked with a manager. He said they will check the car and they will call me. I’d like them to buy the car back as this is not what I thought I was buying. What should I do?

Answered by CarsGuide

16 Sep 2020 David Morley

Oil leaks are a pretty common complaint in a second-hand car, but if the car as sold to you with a roadworthy certificate (which it almost certainly should have been) then there’s no excuse for those to reappear within two weeks of you taking ownership. I’m always suspicious of a second-hand car with a sparkling clean engine bay, as it usually means it’s been cleaned up to hide leaks, just as you’re now discovering.

Given that you bought the car from a VW dealership, I’d be having a chat with VW Australia’s customer service and complaints people as there might be something they can do to help in getting the situation sorted out to our satisfaction. On top of that, the dealer who sold you the car has an obligation under the terms of the second-hand car warranty. In WA, that means any second-hand car less than 12 years old (which a 2010 model is) and with fewer than 150,000km travelled, has to carry a one-month warranty on faults like the ones you’ve described. Since these problems were spotted at the two-week mark and pointed out to the dealership at that point, you should be covered.

The bigger issue from your point of view, of course, is that you were told the car had never been crashed when, in fact, it appears that’s not the case. That would seem like a fairly straightforward case of misrepresentation to me, and I’d be having the car professionally inspected (try your local State motoring club) and getting in writing the fact that it’s been crashed and repaired. From there, I reckon you’d have a decent chance of getting your money back and returning the car.

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