For my 60th birthday last year, I bought a used Aston Martin DB9 Volante Convertible.
However, due to Covid restrictions, we could not make our planned dream trip around Spain and the car did no more than a couple of hundred miles.
For that reason, I decided to sell it through We Buy Any Car. My valuation went up three times and on 1 October 2021, it sat at £36,660.
This was £2,000 more than I paid so I decided to proceed. While it was all going smoothly, the agent noticed a discrepancy with the VIN number and the log book.
Shaken, not stirred: A We Buy Any Car customer was frustrated after there were problems selling his Aston Martin DB9 (stock image)
The digits on the car and service manual were correct but not on the log book. I was told it was a typo and nothing to worry about so signed the paperwork,
But after that I did not receive any communication from We Buy Any Car so began to worry.
Days later, I received a phone call telling me the car would have to be handed back to me due to the VIN error.
I had already cancelled the insurance and received a letter from the DVLA to say I was no longer the owner plus had signed the paperwork so don’t feel this is fair. Is there a way for the sale to continue? S.C., via email
Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: You were certainly shaken, not stirred, after your dealings with We Buy Any Car when selling your Aston Martin DB9, a motor made famous by fictional film icon James Bond.
The lack of communication with thousands of pounds at stake made you increasingly anxious, especially as you weren’t sure when, or if, the payment would be sent over to you.
Initially, all went well and you were more than happy with the price that you were offered – it’s been well documented that used car prices are going through the roof lately.
GRACE ON THE CASE
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When going to sign the paperwork, one of the firm’s agents noticed the cars vehicle identification number (VIN) number only had 16 digits on the log book when there should have been 17.
A car’s VIN is the identifying code for a specific vehicle and no two cars in operation have the same one.
Used buyers of cars need to be aware of VIN fraud as the number can sometimes be replaced or altered with cars stolen and sold on illegally.
However, the agent told you he thought it was a typo error by the DVLA and it was nothing to worry about.
The paperwork was signed and the car was collected but four working days later, the time agreed that payment would be with you, there was nothing in your account.
You tried to contact We Buy Any Car but said you found it impossible to get through.
In the meantime, you had cancelled your car tax and had received a refund as well as received a letter from DVLA stating you were no longer the owner of the vehicle. You had also cancelled your insurance.
A few days later, you finally got an email reply from one of their agents to say the issue was with the compliance department.
Becoming concerned, you sent an email to the only address you could find stating you would give them 48 hours’ notice to put the money into your account.
The Aston Martin DB9 was a car made famous by film icon, James Bond & sells for thousands
Shortly after this, you received the phone call from an agent who said he had been told to drop off the car back due to an error with the VIN.
Shocked, you told him you were no longer the owner of the car and would not be accepting it back, leaving you in limbo.
If the car was returned to you, you were not sure who would then be the legal owner plus you would have to reinstall insurance and tax – just to try and sell it again.
You argue that if We Buy Any Car knew the VIN would be an issue, it should have advised you of this before signing the paperwork ensuring you did not give up ownership of the vehicle.
Therefore, I contacted We Buy Any Car to find out why you had been left with very little communication and why the firm agreed to purchase a car but then not send over the funds – essentially holding on to a very expensive vehicle.
It replied to say it had looked into the issue and has now rectified it – but did not explain how it managed to resolve the problem.
A spokesperson for We Buy Any Car said: ‘On rare occasions, some purchases are flagged for further compliance checks, such as the vehicle chassis number not matching the V5 documentation, which can signify a car is stolen or cloned.
‘In Mr C’s case, it was an error with the vehicle registration and we’ve worked with him to ensure the issue has been resolved.’
Fortunately, you did have a Licence to Sell and have confirmed the full amount reached your account a day after I spoke to the company.
It failed to say how this was resolved but added if it had done so, it could help criminals cheat the system if more information was given.
While We Buy Any Car are right to do all due diligence on the vehicle, the days of waiting for a response to update you on the situation left you increasingly frustrated – especially with such money and a DB9 at stake.
No Time to Die? More like: too much time to reply…
Problem: A Wren Kitchens customer was delivered an AEG cooker hood with an EU plug socket (stock image)
Hit and miss: This week’s naughty and nice list
Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.
Miss: Robert has been left disappointed by Wren Kitchens after the firm sent him a cooker hood with an EU plug.
Robert and his wife received a replacement AEG cooker hood from Wren Kitchens after the first unit had a fault identified within 30 days.
However, unlike the first AEG hood which had no plug, as it was hardwired, the replacement was supplied with an EU plug.
Obviously their home was not equipped with an EU plug socket so they were unable to use the hood.
Aside from this, it is illegal to sell a product in the UK with an EU plug, unless it is fitted with a conversion plug.
Robert was also unsure whether his warranty would be invalidated if he was to get an electrician to convert the plug into a UK socket.
He struggled to get answers from Wren and so I contacted the company to ask why it had sent over an EU hood, as opposed to a UK compliant one, and what it was planning to do to rectify the situation.
A spokesperson for Wren said: ‘The quickest and easiest way for this type of problem to be rectified for a customer is for the manufacturer to arrange for a technician to visit the customers home, as they are best equipped to deal with faults onsite without the need for removal or disturbance of other items within the kitchen.
‘This was offered to the customer however, they did not find this option acceptable to them and instead a replacement item was ordered from AEG and delivered to them.
‘As you will no doubt be aware, appliances such as this are not manufactured by Wren.
‘Wren do not hold stock of any appliances and they are all ordered on a “Just in Time” basis directly from the manufacturer, which means they are ordered and delivered to our factory ready for delivery to the customer the following day.
‘AEG have carried out an investigation into the matter and have confirmed this item was sent from their factory in error.
‘We are very sorry this oversight has affected our customers and, as mentioned above, have since instructed AEG to dispatch a replacement chimney hood.’
An AEG spokesperson added: ‘We take our legal obligations seriously and are investigating why the consumer was sent this item in error.
‘We have taken steps to ensure that the consumer receives a suitable replacement in order to resolve this matter.’
Fortunately, you are now expecting a replacement hood with a UK plug socket but it’s safe to say the two firms were certainly not cooking on gas when they delivered you a non-compliant kitchen appliance.
One customer praised firm, Freddie’s Flowers, after it delivered a new bouquet for free
Hit: In positive news, this week, reader Laura praised Freddie’s Flowers.
She said: ‘I bought my mum a three month subscription to Freddie’s Flowers and phoned to request the flowers be lily free as we have a cat.
‘However, when they arrived they had lilies. My mum phoned and they were very apologetic and explained they had trouble with their system so they sent her a new bouquet without lilies for free.
‘They were very polite and friendly on the phone.’ Most cat owners know that lilies are toxic for their four legged friends – it sounds like the firm has blooming good customer service.