Consumers who have purchased a second hand car with a tampered odometer may claim a free remedy from the dealer from whom they bought the vehicle. As per the Sale of Goods provisions under the Consumer Affairs Act, sellers are responsible to deliver to consumers goods that conform with the sales contract, including the description, type, quantity and quality. In case of lack of conformity, consumers may claim a free remedy from the trader. In this particular scenario, the applicable legal remedies include:
replacement of the car with a similar model with mileage as per original sales contract,
price reduction, which should be proportionate to the difference in value of the car received by the consumer compared to the value the car would have if it was in conformity with the sales contract,
termination of the sales contract and full reimbursement of the price paid by the consumer.
Affected consumers first need to make the request for one of the above remedies with the seller. If no agreement is reached, then consumers may lodge a formal complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs either online or by calling on 8007 4400. Once an official complaint with this Office is registered, a conciliation process will commence with the aim of reaching an amicable agreement between the consumer and the trader. If after the conciliation process the dispute remains unresolved, consumers can then choose to bring their claim before the Consumer Claims Tribunal, where claims up to a maximum of €5,000 may be heard. The €5,000 threshold refers to the amount being claimed and not necessarily the full price of the good under dispute. With regards to claims exceeding €5,000, consumers may proceed with their claim through the Civil Courts.