Home Money My new car is the wrong color. Can I get compensation? DEAN DUNHAM responds

My new car is the wrong color. Can I get compensation? DEAN DUNHAM responds

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If all else fails, you could take the matter to small claims court, if you think it's financially worthwhile, says Dean Dunham.

My new car was delivered and it is the wrong color. The car dealer agreed to give it back to me, but says I won’t get a new one for months, yet he won’t offer me a courtesy car.

Can I claim compensation from the dealer?

LD, Stourbridge

Consumer rights attorney Dean Dunham responds: When you buy goods, including cars, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that they must be “as described”, so in your case the dealer had a legal obligation to take back the car.

However, as you say, this still leaves you in a position of losing a car to drive for several months. My opinion is that you can claim compensation or demand a courtesy car from the dealer, according to one of two principles.

Firstly, the Consumer Rights Act states that when goods are replaced, the trader must provide the replacement “within a reasonable time” and “without significant inconvenience to the consumer”.

Your dealer is probably not violating the first element, since it takes time to get new cars, but they are clearly bothering you and this gives you reason to ask for compensation or a courtesy car.

If all else fails, you could take the matter to small claims court, if you think it’s financially worthwhile, says Dean Dunham.

The second approach you could take is to claim that under English law the remedy for breach of contract (the breach being that the car arrived in the wrong colour) is to return the innocent party (you) to the position in which they would have status if the breach did not occur.

In this case, this would mean that you have a car to drive, either the new one or the old one before you sell it or partially trade it in, if that’s what you did.

Applying this principle will mean that the dealer will have to provide you with a courtesy car or pay you compensation so that you do not have to pay out of pocket while you wait for the replacement car to arrive.

If the dealership denies your claim, you can take the matter to small claims court, if you feel it is financially worthwhile.

A tree on the sidewalk in front of my house has been leaning ominously towards my roof since the storm of 1987. The city has let the tree grow without any maintenance for years. I fear it may be a danger to my life or property. What are my rights?

JG, Raynes Park

Dean Dunham responds: Each council has a duty to ensure that trees on its property are safe for both road users and adjacent land. Ultimately, this means that councils must have maintenance policies and plans in place, establishing a system to regularly inspect trees. Therefore, I advise you to write to the city council again and ask two things. First, a copy of your relevant maintenance policy regarding the tree outside your home. Secondly, ask them to reconsider their position in relation to this tree, making sure to clearly state why you think it needs urgent attention with supporting evidence, such as photographs, if possible.

You must also inform the council that you will take the matter to the Social Care and Local Government Ombudsman if you do not obtain a satisfactory result.

If the council continues to ignore you or refuse to take action, complain to the ombudsman, you will find full details of how to do this here: https://www.lgo.org.uk/how-to-complain.

Make sure you send the ombudsman copies of all communications you have had with the council and any evidence you have to support your concerns about the safety of the tree.

Sometimes when I am asked about unsafe trees, it turns out that the tree is not owned by the city council, but rather by a neighbor.

If this turns out to be the case, write to your neighbor (and it’s important to write rather than ask verbally) and share your concerns. The general position is that landowners have a duty of care and are therefore responsible for the safety of their trees.

If your neighbor ignores you, the next step is to contact your local council and explain the situation, as they have discretionary powers under section 23 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to deal with the danger to people or property caused by a tree. on private land.

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