GRACE ON THE MATTER: Do I have to pay more for my Renault van after signing a contract?

I bought a van from a Renault garage and was advised to pay £16,000 plus VAT which brings the total to £19,200.

Renault offered to pay £13,800 for my existing van, forcing me to pay £5,400 which I did at the dealer.

However, within an hour of departure I received a call from the seller who told me that he had underpaid me for the van and that I still owed £2,300.

A Renault customer signed a contract and paid for a van, but was then asked to pay more

I told him I should get advice before paying but he called me back an hour later on his mobile saying the offer had been reduced to £1,700 and I would have to pay or return the vehicle and get a refund would receive.

Do I have to pay even though I had already signed the contract and paid the original asking price? JR, via email

Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, answers: This situation almost drove you to despair after Renault tried to reverse the deal, even though you had already paid.

While looking for a replacement for your existing Renault Kangoo Formula Edition van, you contacted a number of dealers before making a deal with Renault for a Kangoo Business+ Edition as it was one of the better offerings.

In total you would have to pay £5,400 after deducting the £13,800 that Renault would pay you for your van.

After you agreed to the deal, you also got an offer of £13,500 from someone else who wanted to buy your van.

However, as the dealer had offered you £300 more than the private sale, you decided to trade it in.

GRACE ON THE MATTER

Our weekly column says This is Money consumer expert Grace Gausden tackles readership issues and sheds light on companies doing both good and bad.

Do you want her to investigate a problem, or do you want to praise a company for going the extra mile? Contact us:

grace.gausden@thisimoney.co.uk

After paying the dealership difference and paying for a road fund license and private number plate, you agreed to pick up the van the next day.

But an hour after payment, a Renault salesperson called you to say you had underpaid and owed a further £2,300, which understandably came as a shock.

You told the seller you wanted to get advice on this, but within the hour you had another call, this time via the seller’s personal cell phone.

He said he made a mistake in adding up the price of your new van and added VAT to the trade-in offer when the price shouldn’t have included the extra 20 percent.

As such, while Renault was originally going to give you £13,800 including VAT on your van, they now offered £11,500 – the price without VAT.

As a result, you owed a total of £7,700 – £5,400 of which you had already paid, meaning you had to cough up another £2,300.

The seller added that he was having problems with his boss and that his job was on the line, putting additional pressure on you to make the payment immediately.

You allege that he said Renault was willing to close the deal and said they would settle for £1,700 or you could return the new vehicle and get a refund for the amount you had already paid.

What the reader paid

What the original Renault contract said:

Costs van: £19,200 including VAT

Trade-in price on your van: £13,800 including VAT

Difference you paid: £5,400

What Renault then asked you to pay:

Costs van: £19,200 including VAT

Trade-in price on your van: £11,500 excluding VAT

Difference to pay: £7,700

After the £5,400 you paid: £2,300 outstanding

Amount reduced to £1,700: £5,400 plus £1,700 = £7,100.

The Renault customer was shocked when asked to pay even more for his new van

The Renault customer was shocked when asked to pay even more for his new van

Again, you said you would need time to think about this and that you would get in touch.

Although Renault has reduced the amount, you feel that you have been misled by the French carmaker.

I could easily understand your frustration at having to cough up thousands of pounds after you’ve already paid and signed the contract.

So I contacted Renault to see how this error came about and how much you actually owe.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are very disappointed to hear of Mr R’s experience and apologize for the error.

“The error was due to the seller making a human error in calculating the VAT, so the dealer has corrected the error and accepted the loss.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

Fortunately, Renault said the dealer will take the loss, meaning you now have your van and don’t have to pay any more money.

Shortly after you got a call from the seller who initially called you to say you didn’t have to pay anything else, adding that he had received a warning.

Fortunately, Renault realized his mistake, and although mistakes do happen, you had already signed the contract and paid what you were asked.

However, I can imagine that the next time you are looking for a new vehicle, you are in no rush to do business with the company.

An AA customer was shocked at the high price when she received her renewal quote

An AA customer was shocked at the high price when she received her renewal quote

Hit and miss: this week’s naughty and fun list

Each week I look at some of the companies that have not met the expected standards, as well as companies that have gone the extra mile for customers.

To miss: This week, AA is under fire from reader, Sally, after she received a particularly high renewal quote.

She said: ‘We have been members of the AA for over 35 years but when our renewal offer came in it was £370.

‘My husband looked online to enter and the price for a new customer is £139. When he contacted the AA the premium would be just £260.

“We have now had to cancel our membership and start all over again. Where is the customer loyalty service?’

I contacted AA about this to see why loyal customers were charging almost double what new customers were charged.

AA, however, refused to withdraw.

A spokesperson said: ‘We believe that all our customers get a good deal at a fair price.

“We offer an industry-leading breakdown service, rated by customers as the highest possible, and our prices reflect the high quality of service we provide.

“Like many providers and other subscription-based services, we offer introductory discounts to encourage new customers to try our services and we communicate these discounts at the time of purchase.

“We are grateful to Sally for her continued loyalty and we are sorry she was unhappy with her recent renewal offer. However, we are happy to hear that they are happy with the service.”

It added that loyal customers receive perks such as, after the first year of breakdown coverage, when members get free Silver benefits that are not available to new members, and after five years it offers additional Gold benefits.

However, you say that while you have these benefits, you would rather have a lower premium.

Unfortunately, you’re not the first to be hit by the loyalty penalty – and you won’t be the last. It’s just a shame that the AA didn’t see the need to change your premiums, forcing you to re-register as new members.

Touch: In happier news, a reader, who wished to remain anonymous, reached out to praise Marks & Spencer.

She said: ‘I emailed M&S to say I was disappointed that they only had granny bottom style bikini bottoms available with a bikini set I liked.

“They made me a custom bikini bottom to match the set. Great customer service.’

M&S was certainly no slacker in this situation and proved itself by going the extra mile.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we can earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and use it for free. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

.