On Friday the 20th of January 2012 I received an email from Mr Kightley of Powell and Co. with a response attached that he had received from Geldards. It had arrived after the agreed deadline of the 16th which Geldards had requested to give them more time to respond.
Neither Mr Kightley or I have given a response to this letter before now.
I believe, having read the letter from Geldards that it is based upon assumption and/or guesswork on Pentagon’s part as to what events have actually taken place. For example they refer to me having a courtesy car provided by them, this is fiction. They have never provided one to me and this caused me inconvenience for 10 days.
The letter seems to be written in the style of, saying the vehicle was used by a Subaru Area Manager, when they don’t know and haven’t checked.
I will quote Geldards letter in italics and my response in bold script and mix the two together making it easier to follow. I will include an original copy of the letter in full at the bottom of this post.
Mr D ****** – Subagu Legacy 2.0D (Reg No: BF59 ODL)
Further to your letters of 14th December 2011 and 4th January 2012 we confirm that we have now taken our client’s detailed instructions and can now respond formally to you. We also advise that the fee earner with conduct of this matter has been away on annual leave until the 11th January 2012 and therefore this has led to the short further delay encountered.
We have therefore considered the various allegations made within your correspondence but cannot agree with such comments. It is further clear that your client has not necessarily made you fully aware of all of the facts, nor explained to you the various efforts which our client has undertaken in order to appease your client, despite there being no obligation for them to do so.
We consider that it is important for the parties to be fully aware as to what exactly is being alleged and for there to be any suggestion that the vehicle was not of satisfactory quality at the time of purchase the parties should take into account all relevant factors, namely the age of vehicle, mileage, price, condition etc. At the point of sale in May 2011 the vehicle was some 19 months old and had a mileage of 17,300 miles. Accordingly the standard of a used vehicle would never be considered to be the same standard as expected from a new vehicle.
I realised the car was a used car and at the same time was assured by Mr Hudson that Subaru’s approved used cars were prepared to the highest standard. I didn’t expect there to be a rusty pin sized stone chip on the roof which was pointed out to me when the car was valeted. Along with the two chips on the rear quarter and not to mention the paint flaking off the front bumper after I had used the headlamp wash. Mr Armstrong told me that the stone chips could have been caused by my driving. I explained to him that I’m a Gold standard RoSPA advanced driver and that I treat my vehicle with the utmost care, to the extent of contacting the council to establish which roads they would be treating with stone chippings, so that I can avoid them.
Prior to purchase your client fully inspected the vehicle and was completely satisfied with its condition. Had cosmetic issues been apparent at the time of sale your client would have clearly noticed such issues, especially when he had the choice of two vehicles which he had test driven but had preferred to purchase this vehicle. Further the vehicle had also undergone a Subaru approved used car check and was also sourced from Subaru UK themselves so as to ensure that the vehicle was fully compliant with the standard expected under the Subaru Approved Used Vehicle Scheme.
Following my enquiry by telephone, Mr Hudson sent me the details of two vehicles that I may be interested in, by email one being BF59ODL. I Made the decision to purchase BF59ODL over BV10YCX based on the fact that BV10YCX was stated as an “EX-SUBARU (UK) LTD RENTAL FLEET VEHICLE” on your vehicle details sheet, mileage, optional equipment and more importantly, on Mr Hudson’s statement that BF59ODL had been previously been an “Area Manager’s vehicle”.
Mr Hudson told me that for him to bring the vehicle to the dealership I would need to pay a £500 deposit, which I did by electronic bank transfer that same day (Friday 6th May).
The next day I rang the dealership and asked if they had a demonstrator that my partner Helen could have a drive in as she wasn’t familiar with the type of vehicle and was apprehensive that I had put a deposit on something that in her opinion may not meet our needs. I was told they didn’t have one at Chilwell but their Ashbourne branch had one that she could try. We went to Ashbourne that day (Saturday 7th May) and Helen had a short drive and a look around the vehicle’s features to confirm this type of vehicle would meet our needs.
In hindsight we commented that Pentagon Ashourne’s Mr Neil Vernon was much more knowledgeable of this type of vehicle than Mr Hudson and we were very glad of his input. We weren’t test driving this demonstrator with a view to purchasing it, the staff at Pentagon were aware of the reason for our visit.
When the car arrived at the dealership I went to look at it with my father. We looked around the car which had been highly polished and didn’t notice any imperfections. We were not expecting to find any imperfections as the vehicle had spent many days in preparation according to Mr Hudson. Also we were purchasing it from an authorised Subaru dealer and expected their standards to be higher than I now believe they are through my experience. We paid for the vehicle using a debit card and were told that we could collect the car on Friday the 13th of May at 15:00, this became Saturday Lunchtime. On Saturday lunchtime my partner Helen took me to collect the vehicle from the dealership and Mr Hudson gave me the keys and paperwork. I have had more detailed hand-overs with rental cars.
At no point did I get to test drive BF59ODL, I had driven a similar vehicle some months ago and I was purchasing the vehicle based on Mr Hudson’s testimony which I believed to be true at the time, the credibility of being an authorised Subaru dealer and Pentagon being a prominent large local business.
It is my belief that the Subaru approved used scheme is just a marketing tool for dealers to use and not an assurance of quality that it purports to be, judging by the quality of BF59ODL and BG10LFJ.
It was not until 14 July 2011 that your client first notified our client of any alleged issues with the vehicle, this being some 2 months after delivery of the vehicle. Mr ******** alleged that he had found a small area of ‘rust’ on the roof which may be from a stone chip and slight offcolouring to the front bumper. Although upon inspection of the vehicle our client did not agree with the allegations made and considered the vehicle to be in a satisfactory condition and further in the same condition as it was supplied, they did agree purely as a gesture of goodwill to rectify the issues. Works were completed to the vehicle and the vehicle was returned to your client on the 12th August 2011. Mr ******* was given a complimentary courtesy car whilst repairs were undertaken. There was some residual dust inside the car which is again normal from paintwork as the car has to be polished and buffed before it is handed back to a Customer, which our client also had valeted out and paid the full cost of as well as all paintwork. Our client also paid the cost of transportation and the courtesy car as well as insurance for Mr *********.
It wasn’t until the valet noticed when washing the vehicle the stone chips and poor paintwork on the front bumper and brought them to my attention. A stone chip cannot rust to the extent it had ‘spidering’ under the roofs paintwork within two months.
Geldards refer to “slight off-colouring of the front bumper”, this is not what I alleged. It was the paint flaking off the bumper after having used the pop up headlamp washers that appeared to have been painted over.
The paint flaking off then brought my attention to the over spray on the bumper furniture and foreign objects beneath the paint’s surface. All of this in my opinion indicated to very poor workmanship and at best an amateurish repair job. The idiom ‘papering over the cracks’ comes to mind.
I took the vehicle to my local independent garage for their expert opinion at the time and they was surprised by the state of the repair.
I took the vehicle at their request to their body shop at Burton when I arrived I showed them all of the areas on the vehicle which needed attention and their employee took photographs. I then asked for the courtesy car which I believed to be waiting for me only to be told that one hadn’t been booked. They offered me a lift home which I had little choice in accepting. I was told BF59ODL would be in the body shop for 3 days so I rearranged my normal schedule to accommodate this. They hadn’t completed the work by the end of the 3 days and I had to wait a further 7 days for the work to be completed making 10 days in total without the car not including the 11th day when I collected the car.
Despite being in Pentagon’s body shop for so long, when we collected the Subaru the stone chips on the near side rear quarter were untreated and you could see a mark under the paint where the rust had been. Or perhaps still is? There was also residual dust inside the vehicle when I collected it and I took it straight to their Nottingham site where they offered to vacuum up the dust and give it a quick wash outside. Pentagon’s Mr Neil Vernon took pictures of the chips on his camera.
At no point have they covered the cost of my transportation with the exception of driving me home when I delivered the car to their Burton site. I had to make my own way there to collect it and at no point have Pentagon paid for any insurance on my behalf except for the complimentary 7 days insurance when I purchased the vehicle.
Mr ******* also complained of some alloy wheel corrosion. This is not uncommon on used vehicles and would certainly not be something which would amount to a used vehicle being considered as unsatisfactory quality. ln any event the manufacturer has agreed to replace the four alloy wheels under the manufacturer’s warranty.
Accordingly it is denied that the vehicle concerned breached the threshold in respect of quality and accordingly your client had no entitlement to reject the vehicle on this basis. Further, if which is denied, your client was able to convince the court that the quality threshold was breached your client’s proportionate remedy was that of repair and the repairs, save for the alloy wheel, were all completed prior to any mention by your client about his intention to reject the vehicle.
It therefore appears to us that your client’s decision to reject the vehicle had little to do with the quality of the vehicle, but was purely motivated by the fact that he had later discovered that the vehicle had been reviewed by the press and appeared in an article. After investigation it transpired that the vehicle had in fact been used by Subaru UK for media purposes. In any event the description given to your client prior to sale was not inaccurate and we fail to see on what basis your client believes that a vehicle being reviewed by press makes the vehicle inconsistent with the description given.
The vehicle quality issues arising due to substandard repairs which revealed themselves over time started to form a picture of, in my opinion, careless previous ownership.
While still at Pentagon after the DPF had been fixed and I had wasted some more hours of my work day sat waiting at the dealership, As I was about to leave I spoke to the Service Manager who walked to the car with me. He suggested that I look into the history of the vehicle starting with a phone call to International Motors, Subaru’s UK agent, as it was unusual to have so many problems with this type of vehicle. It was his advice that started me on my investigative endeavour, culminating in the discovery of the press articles and revealing the true history behind BF59ODL
The salesman, Mr Hudson misled me concerning the vehicle’s history. He categorically told me that the vehicle had been used by a “Subaru area manager” and stated that the vehicle would have been used by the area manager as their company car from new. If he had told me it had been a press hack or road test car I would not have bought it.
ln any event and once again in order to appease your client, Pentagon offered Mr ******* a replacement vehicle. Unfortunately at that time there were no similarly aged Subaru Diesel Tourers available and therefore Mr ******** was offered a newer Subaru Legacy, being an identical model, colour trim but with a lower mileage that the vehicle he had originally purchased. Mr ******** was unhappy with the condition of the proposed replacement vehicle despite it meeting the Subaru Used Car standard. As a result our client contacted Subaru UK who agreed to send out their own independent inspector. Subaru UK carried out a full inspection of the car and gave written confirmation that the replacement car we offered Mr ******** not only absolutely meets their strict approved used car standards but was in excellent condition for its age and mileage. Our client informed Mr ********* of this but he was still unhappy and said he would seek legal advice.
The replacement vehicle BG10LFJ was in my opinion what can best be described as ‘rough’ condition with paintwork repair issues similar to BF59ODL. There was over spray on the resin bumper protector indicating to me that the repair job had been done in a quick an sloppy manner similar to the front bumper on BF59ODL. The driver’s seat was excessively worn for a vehicle which had covered 20000 + miles. I notice Pentagon still have the vehicle listed as for sale on their website despite lowering the price, this leads me to believe that I can’t be the only person to think that BG10LFJ is not a good example of this model of car.
I believe that Subaru’s inspection of the vehicle is far from independent.
Accordingly our client has offered your client various remedies in order to resolve this matter. Your client’s rejection of the vehicle is not accepted. Your client has driven in excess of 12,000 miles in the vehicle since purchase with no issues arising other than the minor cosmetic issues which he highlighted 2 months after purchase. Since such time these minor issues have been repaired and he has continued to use the vehicle until 19th November 2011, being over 6 months from purchase. Our client does not wish to be engaged in litigation with any customer and it is for this reason why considerable efforts have been made by our client to resolve matters directly with Mr ******** despite there being no entitlement for them to do so. However our client cannot under any circumstances provide a refund for a vehicle in circumstances when no entitlement exists for such a remedy and further when such a remedy is disproportionate to the other remedies offered.
In addition to the cosmetic issues there was the instance of the vehicle failing on the A52 and entering ‘limp home mode’ because of the DPF filter filling up to 99% causing me to cancel all work for the rest of the day and divert to Pentagon’s Nottingham site. I was told the cause of the problem was my driving, as an advanced driver I would argue this wasn’t the case.
The “minor” issues weren’t all remedied as the two stone chips on the rear quarter were not repaired and still remain.
I visited Pentagon on the 17th of September with the vehicle, all paperwork associated with it and both keys having emptied it of all my personal belongings with the intention of returning the vehicle. I informed Mr Armstrong that I wish to reject the vehicle on the grounds that it was sold to me using misrepresentation by Mr Hudson. Mr Armstrong asked me to put everything in an email and to keep using the vehicle whilst he looked into the situation. I continued to use the vehicle as per Mr Armstrong’s instruction whilst Pentagon sought a remedy to the situation. Two months later when it became apparent that they were either unable or unwilling to remedy the situation satisfactorily, I informed Pentagon that I had ceased using the vehicle and that I required a full refund and asked them to collect the vehicle.
Pentagon may not wish to be in litigation with myself and it isn’t a decision I would take lightly, especially due to cost. So instead of entering immediately into litigation I have created this website, as I believe that Pentagon should be able to read and realise the inconvenience and cost this situation has caused my partner and I. The reasons below have also motivated me to create it.
- I believe that Pentagon sold me the vehicle under false pretences.
- I had given Pentagon 2 months to remedy the situation. Which they haven’t.
- Pentagon frequently wouldn’t return my phone calls.
- Pentagon have maintained a pretty obdurate attitude.
- Managing Director Trevor Reeve hasn’t replied to my letter asking him to resolve the situation.
- The overall impression I’ve gained from Pentagon’s behaviour is that they hope I will go away and the problem will disappear.
- I have been keen to resolve the situation in a timely manner and Pentagon have appeared to dragged their feet requiring me to make numerous telephone calls to chivvy them up.
I am very keen to resolve this matter and it has been my priority since September.
Having the Subaru parked on our drive is causing us considerable inconvenience, with us having to park one of our vehicles on the road which has been reversed into as a consequence. The vehicle would have normally been parked on the drive in the space the Subaru is occupying.
Geldards’ letter Page 1
Late Letter from Geldards Page 1
Late Letter from Geldards Page 2
Late Letter from Geldards Page 3