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Smoked-in Car Purchase: Return Possible?

  • 31-03-2024 11:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 23

    Hi guys,
    I typically abstain from posting, but I recently acquired a 2022 SUV for 43k. It's a significant amount of money, and I purchased it from a reputable dealership. I'm fully aware of the warranty and quality associated with this car/brand, but my sole inquiry to the salesman was whether the car had been owned by a smoker, to which he firmly responded "NO."

    The car emitted a potent smell of car cleaning product; my wife even inquired about it, and the salesman reiterated that it wasn't from a smoker.

    One week later, when the car was prepared for collection, I detected the same smell, and the leather seats felt slightly damp from valeting... Nonetheless, I proceeded with the collection and embarked on a short trip from Dublin to Newry. After driving for a few minutes and airing out the car, the pleasant scent began to fade, replaced by a foul odor of smoke, which only intensified over time.

    On the same day, I messaged the salesman to express my dissatisfaction. It was a Friday. On Monday, I visited the dealership, and the post-sales manager offered me an internal valeting, assuring me that they couldn't detect any smoke odor. I attempted various products, but they only masked the smell and didn't address the underlying issue.

    My question is, as a customer, do I have any rights to return the car? The smell is deeply ingrained, and at this point, I wish to exchange it for something else. While the salesman expressed willingness to facilitate an exchange, he informed me that all the cars I inquired about were already sold. What are my options and rights? Any advice? I have no desire to keep the car, even though I understand that detailing and ozone treatments might assist. I aim to exchange it for a non-smoker car.

    Another problem is I gave my car as tradein, so not sure how can I proceed.


    Post edited by trindade on



  • Registered Users Posts: 780 ✭✭✭Anaki r2d2

    I don't know. You might be on a difficult journey with the dealer. Its not as if there is something wrong with the car. Try and swop, but you will be hand cuffed to that dealer. And that dealer has now sold you the car, so your now a nuisance not a commission to him.

    Apart from cigarette smoke being mangky, it should disappear over time. Get the dealer to clean the car a few times.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,249 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    I thought the engine was fecked from the title.

    I'd imagine with the full valet, there is very little to worry about.

    Perhaps a new cabin filter and a cleaning of the heater channels via some form of treatment would solve all. Its only been smoked in for a year or 2.

  • Registered Users Posts: 458 ✭✭Dirty Nails

    Make sure they do the roof lining. Few valetors ever think of looking up

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,060 ✭✭✭realdanbreen

    GIve the car a good cleaning yourself, it's so crazy it just might work. Jeez, some fellas haven't much to worry about!

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,849 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    I got a smokers car and along with having to clean the headliner I also had to take the back seats out and clean them. Every service needed to be cleaned from the windows to the dash, parcel shelf and door cards. The car stank when I got it, after a deep clean of everything it didn't.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,535 ✭✭✭PsychoPete

    Change the cabin filter,get a proper in depth interior detail done with an ozone treatment not just a valet

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,192 ✭✭✭goochy

    Leave windows open for a day

  • Registered Users Posts: 780 ✭✭✭Anaki r2d2

    Lol, the fella dropped 43k and now has a car that smells like a dogs arse. Solutions might be helpful

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,318 ✭✭✭Bobson Dugnutt

    Ozone sanitiser treatment. We bought a house that still stank of smoke even after stripping carpets, kitchen, wallpaper etc. Worked a charm. Would imagine it is even more effective on a car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23 trindade

    Thanks, did you buy a machine yourself or did you hire a company? Any recommendations?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,060 ✭✭✭realdanbreen

    Lol, you missed the bit about "give the car a good cleaning yourself " ! A bit of elbow grease works way better than as the guy said " looking for a way to return the car".

  • Registered Users Posts: 23 trindade

    Already tried… The smell of products vanished and the cigarette odor became even stronger. 🤣

  • Registered Users Posts: 780 ✭✭✭Anaki r2d2

    Fresh air does not get rid of the smell of fags.

    Either you clean it really well as posted above or dealer does it. It will go away, eventually, but if it annoys you (it would annoy me) clean and clean some more.

    You must be an ex smoker! Ex smokers are the most sensitive to the smell and get most annoyed by it. I can't stand the smell of them anymore

  • Registered Users Posts: 225 ✭✭rdhma

    • Since the salesman stated the car was not owned by a smoker, the condition of the goods was misrepresented.
      Sale of goods act 1980:
      "The buyer, promptly upon discovering the breach, makes a request to the seller that he either remedy the breach or replace any goods which are not in conformity with the condition.
      If the seller refuses to comply with the request or fails to do so within a reasonable time, the buyer is entitled:
      (i) to reject the goods and repudiate the contract, or
      (ii) to have the defect constituting the breach remedied elsewhere and to maintain an action against the seller for the cost thereby incurred by him."

      First step: Send a registered letter to the dealer informing them that:
      1. The goods were misrepresented. Use that specific term, which is in the legislation.
      2. You expect a repair (ozone treatment, costs about €100, may work)
      3. If that is unsuccessful, you expect a refund or a replacement vehicle.

      Keep all receipts related to expenses incurred.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,234 ✭✭✭...Ghost...

    I would be quite annoyed too. Tobacco smoke gets deeply ingrained into every fabric in the car and while it can be masked by other smells, it takes months to degrade. I have walked away from cars that were owned by smokers because the stale smell churns my stomach. The worst experience was when viewing a Mitsubishi GTO it had a strong smell of weed in it. No thanks.

    OP, it socks that the salesman was a lying shìt, but try the ozone and have them pay.

    Stay Free

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭dickdasr1234

    Yes, return it - and I say that as a smoker!

    I doubt you will ever see the car in the same light. €43k is a lot for dissatisfaction!

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Doonbegman

    As other posters have said above try an ozone generator. Some motor traders who have YouTube channels have highly recommended (without being sponsored by the company apparently) a product called Airvidox for cars with strong smells. It only costs £22.45 including shipping with a fragrance-you will probably will have to pay a customs charge though.

    The website is and can also be ordered though Amazon and the reviews seem pretty good. If you get it could you come back and let us know if it works.

    As an ex car salesman and a non smoker I can totally understand why someone would not want an ex smokers car and have lost deals over it on cars costing a lot less than what the OP paid. Dog smells are another turn off for customers for both cars and houses-and I love dogs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 670 ✭✭✭GSBellew

    Might not have been owned by a smoker, could have been the owners partner that smoked in it, technically the salesman might not have lied at all.

    I do not understand the fixation, a friend of mine freaked out when he figured out that a car he bought had belonged to a smoker, he removed and power washed the carpets, dismantled the entire interior, cleaned everything including the headlining, bought an ozone generator which he left running in it for weeks and still ended up selling the car, I could not smell anything, yet he hated the car because of it, some people seem to be more sensitive than others to it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Doonbegman

    The issue is that once you think there is a smell in the car -even if there originally wasn’t or using cleaning/ozone generator/Airvidox and it genuinely gets rid of the smell, in your own mind the smell is still there and there is nothing you or anyone else can do or say to change your mind about this. As another poster said-“I doubt you will see the car in the same light” and that is totally true and the OP has to satisfy themselves (and most importantly their other half) that the smell can be eliminated -otherwise they will be reminded of this every time they sit in the car until they sell it. If they think that the smell can’t ever be eliminated then they are best to make every effort to exchange the car for something else whilst they (might) have the chance with their dealer.

    Post edited by Doonbegman on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭Bazzy

    Our Neighbour had the same problem as you.

    He went back to the dealership and was firm but fair with them and they refunded him.

    I wouldn't expect to pay 40,000 euro plus for a car and then have to start cleaning bits of it and swapping out filters etc. Its 40k

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,733 ✭✭✭saabsaab

    Ozone treatment works wonders used it myself did it twice to be certain..Get the dealer to do it and change the filter

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,936 ✭✭✭3DataModem

    Go to a proper 'showroom valeting' place yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 185 ✭✭drury..

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,562 ✭✭✭kyote00

    and ChatGPT won’t represent you in court

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,765 ✭✭✭User1998

    Its a 2 year old car, the smell will come out

    Just get the dealer to pay for it

  • Registered Users Posts: 940 ✭✭✭Rusky rusky

    Febreze, carpet cleaner and baking soda in cups gets rid of smell. I once owed a Xsara Picasso bought from a chainsmoker owner of 10 years and after a week of cleaning and leaving baking soda around the car the smell has gone. Check the ash tray if it’s still installed:)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,060 ✭✭✭Ezeoul

    Given the OP specifically asked about smoking, the salesperson of this "reputable" dealership, obviously lied. I'd be worried what else they lied about.

    I wonder why the car dealership didn't use an ozone treatment on it themselves before passing the car onto the new buyer. It sounds like they were aware of the odour and trying to mask it with cleaning products.

    If I had just dropped that kind of money on a car, I wouldn't be happy to have to bring it home and have to start scrubbing it myself.

    OP, I hope you get it sorted to your satisfaction.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,830 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    I had a problem with and odor in my car after a soup spill a few years ago, I cleaned it 10 times and still couldnt get the awful smell out of it.

    went to my local car valeter who sold me an odor bomb, pina colada flavor, 25 euro, it did a great job, smell gone, never to return.

    like the link below

  • Registered Users Posts: 185 ✭✭drury..

    Ya don't want to be going all legal straight away unless you're adamant about an exchange

    Ya might want them later for more important warranty work . It makes communication difficult after that

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,535 ✭✭✭PsychoPete

    Dealers don't allow valetors to properly clean a car with time restrictions. It's very much get it done and out the gate as quick as possible. I'd take the car to a proper detailer and get the dealer to pay the bill