Ask H&H: trailer and towing vehicle problem

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    Q: I recently changed from a lorry to a Freelander with a Cheval Liberte trailer.

    However, I discovered I couldn’t open the vehicle’s tailgate door when hitched up — the trailer’s park brake handle prevents it from opening by more than six inches.

    This is not enough to get a saddle in or out!

    I have yet to receive a response from Land Rover on the matter, but the Cheval Liberte dealer has told me that “the Freelander is one of those vehicles on which you cannot open the rear tailgate with any trailer attached”.

    I cannot believe I was sold the trailer and not informed of the problem when the seller knew I would be towing with a Freelander.
    MS, East Sussex

    Readers will be pleased to hear that the Series Two Freelander model now comes with a lift-up tailgate, which avoids this issue — although this doesn’t help your situation.

    We spoke to a representative from Land Rover, manufacturer of the Freelander marque, who clarified that your vehicle was a Series One Freelander, made from 1997 until 2006.

    “This model has a side-opening rear door, in common with many other vehicles of this time,” the spokesman told H&H.

    “When hitched to a trailer, you correctly state it is possible to catch the rear door of the vehicle on the trailer park brake.

    “However, the Series One Freelander also came with an electric rear windscreen, which would open enough to load equipment such as a saddle, or any other tack, into the boot.”

    In terms of your consumer rights, goods supplied under a consumer contract must be both fit for their purpose and of satisfactory quality; but you may have trouble proving the vehicle was “faulty”.

    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provides consumers with detailed information on the Sale and Supply of Goods.

    Visit the official government website for public services, www.direct.gov.uk and search under “consumer rights”.

    Trading Standard’s website, www.tradingstandards.gov.uk , may also be useful.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 September, ’09)

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