Ask the expert: ‘Was the new Hyundai we bought from a dealer actually a used one?’

Alex Robbins is contributing editor at Telegraph Cars where, as well as responding to readers’ queries, he also contributes reviews of new and used cars, together with articles on buying and selling. 

His knowledge of the used car market informs his many buying guides relating to the best buys in particular sectors, with an emphasis on value for money. Every week he will answer your questions on buying and selling, as well as solving your car problems, whether consumer or mechanical.

Do you have a motoring dilemma you’d like our expert to solve? For consumer and used car advice, or car faults, email and include your subscriber number. This week’s question… 

Dear Alex

We purchased a new Hyundai i10 in March 2021. The V5C registration document states there are no previous keepers. I checked the oil level after we got home, which showed only half full, and the engine bay was filthy. Within the past few days, the car has prompted us to book its first service, although that shouldn’t be due until March 2022. The dealer apologised but could offer no explanation. Is there any way that I have been sold a car that was technically a used vehicle?

– JT

Dear JT,

I have a sneaking suspicion the car actually arrived at the dealer about this time last year, which is why it thinks its first service is due now (and, indeed, it probably is, so you may need to get that done now in order to maintain the warranty).

It could be that the car was, in fact, used as a demonstration model for a few months before you bought it. Normally, a dealer would register the car in order to do this, but they might not have done so if all the test drives were carried out with the car wearing trade plates. There’s also a possibility it was only used for static display purposes.

The second possibility is that the car was ordered for stock or a cancelled order, and has sat on the lot for a few months until you bought it.

In any case, you would expect the pre-delivery inspection (PDI) to have picked up on the dirty engine bay and especially the low oil level. So, furthermore, it sounds as though the car didn’t receive a proper PDI check before it was handed to you.

That’s a failing on the part of the dealer, as is the lack of explanation as to the car’s history. If the i10 has been used as a demonstrator, it should have been sold as a used car. Even if it hasn’t, the fact that they failed to PDI it properly shows a lack of care.

Either way, I think you’re owed an explanation, so I would push for one – first with the dealer, making it clear that you’re seriously considering whether to find another dealership to look after the car in future. If none is forthcoming, deal with Hyundai UK.

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