AA Retort

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Sir,

You may have noticed that some garages have cars for sale on the forecourt marked “AA Inspected” and sell them complete with an AA Report? Well, may I warn my fellow car buyers (I understand that we are referred to as “punters” by the Trade) that the AA Report does not necessarily contain all, or even any, of the car’s faults and can work against the purchaser as our example will show.

On October 6th last my Wife bought a Honda Civic “S” car from a North Wales garage. It was emblazoned with plastic stars (the car, not the garage!) bearing the message “AA Inspected”. She was shown the AA Report for the car but it was then quickly taken away before she had a chance to read the small print. Oddly, the AA Report then went “missing” until many weeks after she had taken delivery. However, bearing in mind the existence of the Trades Descriptions Acts, the three month written warranty that came with the car, plus of course the fact that it was AA Inspected, she bought the car without further ado.

We then found that not only was the car’s engine in a bad state (it refused to toile much further than 75-80 miles on a set of plugs) but that it had been involved in a major accident and repaired minus (among other things) the front offside inner wheel arch so that the front wheel could be seen through the door pillar. On the move road dirt was thrown into the car. An independent engineer’s check (a proper one this time!) revealed a total of eleven faults, some serious, all obvious. None of these faults were mentioned in the AA Report. Requests to the garage to put the car into roadworthy condition under the terms of their warranty brought forth the comment, “The AA Inspection showed there was nothing wrong with the car”.

A strong letter of protest to the AA brought forth a reply containing the following, “Clearly . . . had you examined the Report you would have read in the Notes for Guidance that the report followed an inspection solely for the purpose of indicating the general condition of the vehicle”. Which, translated, means that the report is not worth the paper it is written on. The car has since been off the road due to its condition on purchase and the matter is in the hands of a Solicitor.

Therefore be warned. The AA Report is not only virtually useless but it can be used by the vendors to repudiate their own Warranty. It can do more harm than good.

Llandudno, N. Wales W. H. FLETCHER