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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46773
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My son bought a car a Renault Clio Sport in February 2013 from

Resolved Question:

My son bought a car a Renault Clio Sport in February 2013 from Ridgeway Mercedes in Portsmouth. He bought the car on condition that the cambelt was done as from his research the particular model required this to be done at the car being 5 years old. The dealership agreed and the service book was stamped and ticked to say this had been done. My son sold the car privately in January this year. A new MOT was put on the car the day of the sale and passed with no advisory's. Seven days after the sale the new owner contacted my son saying the car had developed a knock on the engine and they were going to have it investigated. On the 4th February the owner contacted my son saying that the car had to have £862 worth of work done as the cambelt had not been done. He then stated the Sale of Goods Act and said he would get a CCJ against my son. He has been very intimidating to my son and as he is the father of the owner he has taken it upon himself to deal with this. My son's father has now been dealing with the owners father. As we are now concerned that he is pursuing my son for the amount of the repairs we need some advice as to our rights regarding the dealership who havent carried the required work out in the first place although the service book clearing shows this as being done and my son had no way of confirming this but to take this a read from the service book and salesman. Could you please advice on what we should do now?
Regards
Sharon Lockey
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Can you prove that the work was not carried out properly by the dealership?

Customer:

How would we do that? We can only go by the salesman saying the work would be carried out as a condition of the original deal and the fact that the service book has been stamped and ticked.

Ben Jones :

well you may have to get an independent garage to provide an opinion on the quality of the work. It is wrong to just assume that the work was not done properly if there are still issues with the car. For example, the work could have been carried out properly and with the necessary skill and attention but due to the nature of the fault, it is something that can reoccur at any time or be aggravated by other factors. So before you take any action against the dealer you would need at least some proof that their initial work was not carried out to a reasonable level. This is where an independent report by a specialist mechanic would come in useful, because otherwise it is just your word against theirs and in court that is unlikely to hold much weight

Customer:

The new owner has already had the work carried out and has provided pictures of the parts etc that were taken by his own garage. I was under the impression that the new owner would need to prove my son had willfully and purposefully misled the buyer?

Ben Jones :

Well, when a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a private seller, their rights will be somewhat limited and will not be as extensive as if they had bought it from a dealer.


 


In general, there is no legal requirement for the vehicle to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose. Therefore, the buyer will only have rights in the following situations:



  • If the vehicle did not match the description given, whether in the advert or any subsequent discussions. This would amount to breach of contract or misrepresentation. It does not matter if it was done wilfully or not – the wrong description is a strict liability and can be challenged regardless of whether it was done intentionally or not

  • If the seller broke a specific contractual term – e.g. if they fail to do something they specifically agreed to, for example, fix certain faults or provide an MOT. This is also going to be a breach of contract

  • If the vehicle is unroadworthy – this occurs if its brakes, tyres, steering or construction make it unfit for the road. This will also be a criminal offence.


 


 

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer:

I still dont understand where we stand. The car was described as in make, model, year, equipment, mileage, that a new MOT would be done and had had a recent cambelt done. The car sold itself as it was in mint condition with no mechanical faults. It took the new owner 7 days to say there was a problem, which it didnt have when it was sold. The dealership said it had carried out work that it obviously didnt do (according to the new owner), my son was unaware this hadnt happened. So I need to know what we should do moving forward as he has specified we have 7 days to pay the bill he has incurred. I do not believe we should pay this as we sold the vehicle with all good intention.

Ben Jones :

you are caught in the middle somewhat. You sold the car in mint condition and no mechanical faults. If this was not the case you will have certain liability because you gave a false description, even if it was not done intentionally. However, it is for the buyer to prove this was the case and as they are claiming, they need to convince a court that their claim is valid. At the same time you can pursue the dealer if necessary but again as you are claiming against them it would be for you to show that the work done was not carried out properly. Of course unless you are sued and lose you do not have to sue the dealer

Customer:

Why have we given a false description? The description was based on the facts as we knew them to be. The MOT was carried out as agreed and the car passed with no advisory's. I am unsure what we should now say to the buyer.

Ben Jones :

I am not saying you did give a false description but if you said it was in mint condition and with no mechanical faults when this was not the case in reality then it would have been a false description. But as mentioned that is for the buyer to prove

Customer:

we just described the car in general terms, we didnt say it was in mint condition with no mechanical faults in the description. We gave make, model, mileage, year, equipment, that it would come with new MOT and had a recent cambelt done. Thats the only description we made. I was just saying to you that the car was in mint condition and thats why it sold itself. Also it didnt have any mechanical faults when it left our possession. The owner claimed it developed a fault after 2 days, but didnt contact my son for 7 days. Also he went ahead and had the vehicle inspected and fixed before asking us if we wanted the option to do this ourselves

Ben Jones :

ok I thought that is what you had described it as, if that is not the case then it is better as you made no specific promises about its condition - as mentioned the buyer cannot rely on the Sale of Goods Act in terms of the car being of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose because your son was not a business seller and that is where the SGA actually applies.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX me more clarification. However, what should we now say to the buyer in relation to his demand of paying him within 7 days and the fact he is using the SGA as a threat?

Ben Jones :

you can make it clear that the SGA does not apply here as this was not a business sale, it is difficult to say how to deal with the threat of legal action because if he wants to he can sue regardless but make it clear that you will strongly defend any claim and also will seek to recover any costs you have incurred because of this as it would be a claim with no reasonable prospects of success

Customer:

Again thank you. I feel a lot better about this now as it has been very stressful for both my son and me to deal with the owners father, who has been very officious and threatening.

Ben Jones :

A lot of it would be threats, but a threat is just that unless it is proven in a court of law and the judge agrees to it, which is a long way off in this case

Customer:

Unfortunatley he is a wealthy business man and obviously feels he can bully my son, hence why I wanted to make sure I had all the facts before going back to the owner.

Ben Jones :

yes it is unfortunate that those with a lot of spare money can make themselves to be a nuisance but it does not mean they are above the law

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything further for you as I am due in a meeting shortly? Thanks

Customer:

Could you just confirm where we now stand in relation to informing the buyer?

Ben Jones :

well you have the information above on what to say to him, such as that the SGA does not apply here that the car was not misadavrtised etc - see my post from 12:05

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46773
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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