Major fault on new motorhome

Jan 20, 2015
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We traded to a new '55' version Burstner T740 which then had catastrophic water ingress due to a non-sealed brake light/logo. The van took in 15-20 litres of water and also has 4 other faults seen in the first 2 weeks of use. We immediately rejected the van and requested a refund but the dealer has dragged things out for over 3 months saying they won't do anything until Burstner make a decision. They have supposedly fixed the leak and dried the van out and fixed other faults but we are adamant not to take it back not knowing what other damage has been caused by the huge amount of water and knowing how critically important a damp issue would be in the future. They have offered a different van but cannot supply the same one as it's a limited edition and we don't like changes in the new Sovereigns. They have refused to acquire a like van from another dealer and also keep trying to profit giving silly exchange prices on other vans and we are missing holidays so have insisted on a refund. We are interested in anyone else's opinion before we consider legal action on 'satisfactory quality' grounds..
 
Nov 19, 2010
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Hi Rosemarie, and welcome.
Stick to your guns, and don't take any nonsense about Burstner making a decision. It's not their decision to make, this is between the dealer and you.
IMO rejection was exactly the right thing to do, and as long as you've formally done that, in writing to the dealer, it's no longer anything to do with Burstner (at least as far as you're concerned - dealer will no doubt want to have a conversation with them on his own account!).
I fear, though (from what you've said about their attitude so far), that you won't get any satisfaction from the dealer until you at least threaten legal action.
Keep us informed!
 
Dec 23, 2014
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Nightmare.
Was it fit for the purpose under the sale of goods act. Clearly not. If this had been a faulty item you had returned to a high street store you would have had a replacement or a refund, probably without question. I don't know why but with vehicles dealers seem to have the opportunity to fix things over a lengthy period of time although I dont see how they are exempt from trading law.
Personally I would ask your local trading standards to assist you. There are other tactics of course. For example you might want to have a large printed notice made of all the defects on your new vehicle, fix it to the side and park outside the dealers site every day until they capitulate.
Shocking really because Burstner have a reputation for build quality. Maybe the editorial team at PM might wish to feature your case.
 
Jan 20, 2015
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Many thanks Willo and Tony for your comments and opinions, greatly appreciated. And I love the idea of sitting outside their dealership with a notice on the van but two problems prevent that. They have the van as we rejected it physically and even if we did have it, they're over 200 miles from us sadly so we wouldn't be able to do that in practicality but I love the idea. I had considered walking around their stall at coming motorhome shows with a sandwich board asking people to talk to me about their dealership!! But talking to our local Trading Standards is certainly a great idea before we start anything..
We're just unsure whether we should take the vehicle back from them and sue them for the whole amount and then return the vehicle to them after we win? OR sue them for the whole amount without taking the vehicle which could take a long time......is there another option here???
 
Nov 19, 2010
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I'm no legal expert (and you really DO need one of those), but now that you've formally rejected the van, I'd have thought taking it back would weaken your position. After all, in rejecting it you're saying that the van belongs to them and the money belongs to you
Don't do anything that might contradict that clear position.
 
Jan 20, 2015
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Willo
One thing I should have commented on was we have had three Burstners and whilst they used to have a good reputation deservedly, I think their quality is being sadly sacrificed for quantity by aiming at the mass market with many extras as standard. This makes their vans seem good value for money but sadly imho, they have lowered their standards to do it and there will be many repercussions in the future when people start complaining about things like this and we were told this specific factory fault has occured a few times through this dealership. Some idiot at the factory forgot to seal the unit and 'soaked the van' at first rain. Obviously their quality control prior to factory clearance isn't up to much! Rosemarie
 
Dec 11, 2010
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Burstner is not the only manufacturer struggling cutting costs to remain competitive and maintain standards. I've been disappointed with the build quality on my Hymer but at least the dealer, and Hymer, have been responsive.

Trading Standards or Which Magazine, if you are a subscriber, are the way to go. Trading Standards should be able to provide standard letters and outline the process to go through. Once the dealer sees you taking a structured approach to resolve the issue, it would be foolhardy for it to believe it can just fob you off.

Surf the net and you will find enough guidance from the various Trading Standards around the county. Ring your local one for advice. Tony is quite right in saying that you need a legal expert.
 
Jan 20, 2015
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Update on situation... having sought legal advice through Which Legal, they confirmed that you are entitled to a full cash refund (as long as the vehicle is not financed obviously) if you reject the vehicle for a serious issue within " a reasonable timeframe" which is generally considered to be 30 days but can be longer. Apparently a judge found a rejection of a yacht reasonable after 6 months! The valuable advice was also that you are not prejudiced if they repair the vehicle nor if you attempt to negotiate an alternate settlement like another motorhome as we did. Ultimately, we rejected the van very quickly and it strengthens our case that it was a van that left the factory with the fault. The solicitor also advised us to check our house insurance to see if legal protection is included but I checked our motorhome insurance which should cover it. Good news all around for us.... not so for the dealership.
 

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