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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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i sold a car privately recently. I stated about the items that

Resolved Question:

i sold a car privately recently. I stated about the items that had been replaced and also the cambelt which the previous owner had done. I gave all the receipts to the new buyer who checked over the car fully and all documentation and was happy and paid by cash.
this was 4 weeks ago. Since then he has bombarded me with text messages and emails saying the car was faulty and that the cambelt has not been changed, which he claims as he had it checked out at a garage. He wants me to pay for a new cambelt and is trying to state he never had a cambelt receipt and just a auxillary belt receipt. I know i gave him all receipts. He checked them before he parted with the cash. He now states he can take me to the small claims court as it was not as described. Where do I stand on this as I have no proof this end due to all receipts given to him and the belt was changed 18,000 miles before I bought it originally.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

hi

Ben Jones :

Is there any way of proving when the belt was changed, for example contacting the garage that did the work?

Customer:

I don't know which garage it was as it was done by the previous owner before me. I gave all receipts to the new owner

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

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. Certain sections of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (which mainly applies to business transactions) would still apply but the buyer’s protection would certainly not be as extensive.


 


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

  • 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.


 


The main argument here is that the car was not as described as it allegedly did not have the cambelt changed as advertised. This is really a factual matter and it would be resolved by checking through its history and if that is not available – by trying to find out the garage that undertook the repairs or asking an independent garage to inspect the car and advice whether the cambelt was actually changed recently or not. It is for the buyer to prove that the car was not as advertised so they will need to convince a court that what they are claiming is true. Until then you cannot really do much apart from protest your innocence and hope that they simply are using the court route as a threat to try and make you do as requested.

Customer:

so what if I receive court papers?

Customer:

I have asked a garage about proof of a belt being changed and I get conflicting information on this. one said you can tell and another has said that after that many miles it would be difficult to tell

Ben Jones :

if you receive the court papers then you would need to deal with that and provide a defence and deal with it - this is not really something you need a lawyer for so you can do it on your own as it is a relatively simple process. As mentioned the buyer needs to prove that what they are claiming was true and if they can do so and the judge agrees then the worst case is you are asked to pay for the cambelt

Customer:

he's claiming he is going to ask for a full refund of the car if goes to court. im so annoyed that I don't seem to have any rights in this matter as he was given the receipts, he checked them and was happy with it and now hes trying to claim its a wrong receipt and wants me to pay up. Hes using the other receipt as a means for claim stating its not a cambelt receipt.

Ben Jones :

not sure that would be enough to show that a cambelt was not changed - just because there was no receipt for it does not mean it was not changed and the fact he checked the receipts at the time would go against him too

Customer:

the guy has sent me 30 msgs and 20 email ones and at one time he was threating to 'pay me a visit'. Isn't this a form of harassment that would also go against him?

Ben Jones :

yes it is harassment, it would not place him in the great light in front of a court but it does not mean he may not be right if he can prove his case

Customer:

so basically because I believed the receipt from the previous seller and never checked it out and then sold on later and the new buyer has after purchase I am liable for it?

Ben Jones :

you will be liable if you provided a false description, even if you believed it to be true - so if you said that the car had a recent cambelt change when in fact it did not, then you would likely be liable for that but as mentioned it depends on the buyer proving this was the case

Customer:

so if the garage he uses states it hasn't been changed then I will forfeit the cost

Ben Jones :

you can ask an independent garage to provide an opinion - one you both agree on, in case you do not trust the ones he has approached himself

Customer:

ok thanks for your help today

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45379
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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