For the purpose of this article the customer who has made these claims will be referred to as HX.
Oodle Finance is a company that offers car finance services in the UK. It was incorporated on 25 January 2016 and has its registered office in Oxford. Oodle Finance claims to provide car ownership, made simple, with dream cars from trusted dealers, transparent, simple pricing, and on-hand aftercare team.
Looking online, no one has really dug deep into Oodle Finance's practices. A quick look at their Google reviews and Trustpilot reviews doesn't show much unless you take the time to read the one star comments left by customers. The reputation of Oodle Finance has recently been called into question after a customer claimed Oodle Finance entrapped him in a 60 months Hired Purchase Agreement for a faulty car bought from Cazoo.
While Cazoo is not the centre of this article, it is important to note that they have been previously investigated by BBC. BBC's investigation showed that Cazoo sold faulty cars to three customers after claiming they had undertaken a 300 Point Checks on it. When BBC asked Cazoo to provide documentation evidencing these 300 Point Checks, Cazoo failed to provide any.
Much like the three customers that spoke to BBC about Cazoo, HX visited Cazoo's website in March 2022 looking to buy a 7 seater for his family. Although he checked other car websites like Auto Trader, CarWow and Motorway, Cazoo stood out with their promise of a 300 Point Checks and house delivery services. Unbeknown to HX, his choice was going to lead to 18 months of uncertainty and stress.
HX bought a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer using Cazoo's website. Since it was a Hired Purchase, HX got a loan from Oodle Finance who in turn bought the car from Cazoo. HX signed up to a 60 months Hired Purchased agreement with Oodle Finance. The contract with Oodle Finance started on 31/03/2022.
HX summarises the first 17 months of driving the car as follows:
HX received the car for the first time on 31/03/2022 from Cazoo.
On the 25/04/22, HX reported to Cazoo that the car started making squeaking noises whenever he turned the steering or used the car's brakes and clutch. Cazoo asked HX to bring the car in but claimed they couldn't find any fault. So the noises continued.
On the 14/06/22, the car refused to go into gear and the clutch collapsed. Cazoo arranged to collect the car on 20/06/23, barely three months after buying the car.
On the 27/06/22, Cazoo tells HX via email that there was a fault with the car's Clutch Assembly. Cazoo claimed the Clutch Assembly was worn out and they would replace it. HX states that the car had 21000 miles on it, so he didn't expect the Clutch Assembly to be worn out. More importantly, he notes that Cazoo's 300 Point Checks was supposed to pick this up before sale to Oodle Finance.
Cazoo finally returns HX's car on the 07/07/22, 23 days after collecting it to diagnose and fix it. HX states he was overjoyed to finally get his car back. HX notes the Squeaky noise from his first complaint had stopped.
On the 08/07/22, a day after Cazoo returned the car, HX states the car refused to go into gear again and the clutch collapsed. This was very frustrating for HX and it was Cazoo's first failed repair of HX's car.
On the 09/07/22, Cazoo collected HX's car again to repair.
On the 13/07/22, Cazoo agreed via email, to support the rejection of the car while they attempted to repair it for the second time. Cazoo advised HX to raise a Service Quality Dispute with Oodle Finance, and they promise to support it.
On the 17/07/22, HX requested Oodle Finance raise the Service Quality Dispute to reject and return the car, due to quality issues.
On the 21/07/22, Cazoo confirmed via email that their second repair was to drain and replace the gearbox oil, because it had air pockets in it. HX notes Cazoo didn't bother to check if the gearbox was damaged or worn out like the clutch assembly.
On the 23/07/22, Cazoo returns car to HX. The very next morning, the car refuses to go into gear for a third time and clutch collapses. HX states after a few seconds, the clutch springs back up and everything starts working. At this point HX assumes it was nothing and Cazoo had fixed the problem.
HX states he contacted Oodle Finance after this and told them to cancel the Service Quality Dispute. HX states he told Oodle Finance via email that if the problem starts again within a year he will resume the Service Quality Dispute to reject the car.
HX states that Between 23/07/22 and January 2023, the car started making the squeaking noise again. After January 2023, the clutch didn't feel the same. He states that it felt a little loose and changing gear wasn't smooth. But the clutch didn't collapse.
On 21/08/23, roughly a year after Cazoo fixed the car's fault by draining gearbox oil, the car refuses to go into gear and the clutch collapses again. Additionally, HX states the noise has now gone from squeaking to squealing. HX contacts Oodle Finance to restart the Service Quality Dispute.
On the 28/08/23, HX states the car's clutch springed back on it own and the gearbox starts working. HX decides to stick with the Service Quality Dispute and return the car after 17 months of struggles.
While the timeline above makes it seem like Cazoo are the main culprits here, that cannot be far from the truth. HX explained that the second Service Quality Dispute he raised with Oodle Finance has been a disaster. HX presented historic evidence showing clearly that the clutch problem started at point of sale. He provided evidence of two repairs Cazoo had undertaken on the car within six months of buying it. Oodle's response is shown in the screenshots below.
Oodle Finance claimed HX did not provide enough evidence to prove the problem with the car started at point of sale, even though Cazoo had repaired the car twice, and initially supported the rejection of the car 13 months earlier.
Rather than assume this was a continuous problem that started within 6 months of buying the car, HX stated Oodle Finance claimed the problem started 13 months after Cazoo's repair and 8000 miles later.
Oodle Finance insisted that HX needed to get an Independent Assessment of the fault from one of their three preferred providers. HX obliged them and got Scotia to undertake the assessment. Scotia's assessment came back in favour of HX and put the problem with the car down to a failed repair. We reviewed the independent assessment report to confirm this.
From what we understand, HX provided the Independent assessment report Oodle Finance requested, as shown in the screenshots above. Oodle Finance then decided to move the goal post again, and request another assessment. HX stated their actions were in bad faith and we are inclined to agree. All the emails from Oodle Finance shown above, pointed to one thing only, "Get an Independent Assessment Report". When HX finally got the report, and it was in his favour, and Oodle Finance wasn't happy about that.
The reality is, if the Independent Assessment Report stated the fault of the car wasn't a failed repair, would Oodle Finance have considered the report suitable or would they have still requested a second assessment?
Based on the evidence at hand we are inclined to believe that Oodle Finance would only have accepted the Independent Assessment Report if it was in their favour. That is the very definition of acting in bad faith. The email below shows how Oodle Finance moved the goal post after receiving Scotia's Independent Assessment Report.
Cazoo vs Oodle who is the blocker
According to HX, he initially assumed Oodle Finance was on his side, at least that was what the email communications pointed to. He was of the view that Cazoo were blocking the car's rejection but a statement from Cazoo's Advocate Specialist clearly contradicted this as shown in the email below. Quoting Cazoo;
"Cazoo must adhere to the decisions by Oodle, as in, if they deemed your complaint upheld, we would wait for their permission to broker a return of the car, and similarly if Oodle didn't uphold a complaint, we would have to relay that decision to our customer too. "
HX is of the view that Oodle Finance was playing good cop bad cop with him. HX was given the impression by Oodle Finance that an Independent Assessment was all he needed to continue his rejection request. Based on the emails we have seen, Oodle Finance created the impression that Cazoo was the main blocker to HX's car rejection request. This narrative contradicts Cazoo's above statement.
Oodle Finance Response to our questions
We reached out to Oodle Finance to see if they would comment on HX's claims that they breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015. When Oodle finance finally responded, it was nothing short of disappointing. For one, they did not provide any direct answers to our questions, but some of their statements stood out, so we examined them. Here is our findings:
Statement 1: "We had no involvement with the case until we were contacted 13 months and 8,000 miles after the date of Cazoo repair, which was itself four months after the vehicle was supplied"
We have seen several email exchanges between HX and Oodle Finance dating back to when HX raised his first Service Quality Dispute with them on the 17/07/22. We find this statement made by Oodle Finance false.
Statement 2: "Naturally we were really disappointed to hear he was having problems with the car, and we requested an independent inspection of the vehicle as part of our normal complaints procedure. To do this properly, we do in fact need the car engine to be dismantled, which Cazoo has offered to do. Mr Nomamiukor did not accept this course of action - which means we cannot complete our internal procedures.
This statement seems like an oversimplification of a very complex issue created by Cazoo and Oodle. As shown previously, this was not Oodle Finance's original ask. We have seen evidence that Oodle Finance originally asked for an Independent Assessment which HX provided. Oodle Finance then proceeded to move the goal post because the Independent Assessment did not come back in their favour. That is acting in bad faith. Additionally, the emails HX shared with us showed Oodle Finance requested that the car's gearbox be dismantled not the engine. This was another false statement by Oodle Finance.
We know HX was sold a car with a worn out Clutch Assembly. What we don't understand is how exactly dismantling a gearbox which was not part of Cazoo's last repairs, prove or disprove a failed repair. On the balance of probability, since the Clutch Assembly was already worn out at 21000 miles, it is almost certain that the brakes and the gearbox would have severe wear and tear, than usual.
We found the response of Oodle Finance lacking and insincere, when compared to the questions we asked. For example, we asked them to provide evidence that Cazoo undertook a 300 Point Checks on the car. They didn't provide anything. HX also asked Cazoo for the same document and they didn't provide anything.
Breaches of the Consumer Rights Act 2015
HX is adamant that Oodle Finance breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015. He provided us with the following information:
HX stated that Oodle Finance are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Chapter 2 Section 24 (5), which gives HX the right to Final Rejection if certain requirements are met. In this case, HX states he met the requirements stipulated in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Chapter 2 Section 24 (5)(a). HX states he met this requirement on the 07/07/22 and on the 21/08/23, both of which HX states are recorded dates of failed repairs by Cazoo.
HX states that Oodle Finance has breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Chapter 2 Section 9 (3)(e) by intentionally selling him a faulty car. HX states that at 21000 miles the car’s Clutch Assembly was already worn out and had to be replaced by Cazoo, four months after he bought the car from Oodle Finance. HX states Cazoo marketed the car with a 300 Point Checks, so he doesn’t understand why they sold him a car with a worn out Clutch Assembly. HX states that if the Clutch Assembly was worn out after only 21000 miles, other parts of the car like its brake pads and the gearbox might also be worn out but Cazoo didn’t replace them. HX states it is clear that the car was not durable.
HX states Oodle Finance breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Chapter 2 Section 9 (3)(d) by intentionally selling him a faulty car which poses a serious safety issue to him and his family, when driving. HX states the car’s clutch collapses intermittently without warning, and when it does, the gearbox stops working. HX states this could be catastrophic if he was driving on an A road or Motorway and couldn’t uses his clutch or change gear.
It should be noted that we reached out to Cazoo and Oodle Finance about HX's claims that they breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015. None of these companies provided a direct or relevant response to the questions we asked. Which makes us think we might have struck a nerve, or these companies don't want to be self incriminated.
We will leave it up to our readers to decide. Do you think Oodle Finance breached the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in its handling of HX? Do you think they acted in bad faith by shifting the goal post because the Independent Assessment wasn't in their favour? Do you think this is a story of Oodle Finance and Cazoo sticking it to the small guy?
One thing we are certain of, is you should think twice before going into a Hired Purchase Agreement. If the car starts misbehaving within six months of purchasing it, and it requires repairs, just reject it. Don't get stuck in a 60 months Hired Purchase Agreement on a faulty car. If you are buying from Cazoo directly or from Oodle Finance, better do your due diligence on the car, or you will regret it.