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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47376
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I bought a campervan off ebay which had a description as

Customer Question

I bought a campervan off ebay which had a description as good condition and MOT. However when I got the van to a garage it was illegal and unroadworthy. I paid £2500 for it and have had to pay out a further £3800 to make it roadworthy. The seller is refusing any kind of refund or responsibility. Have I got any comeback at all? She is offering to refund the £2500 on return of the van, which i have of course refused considering I've spent £5800 on it now.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did you buy it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
18th June
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I live in East London and took a train up to Whitby to pick up the van. Visually it looked ok but I didn't get a chance to have a mechanic look at it. I took her description as being honest and correct. However, 2 front tyres were below the marker, and the 2 back were split. All the brake pads and discs were shot and the fuel pipe and turbo had seized up. I managed to get it home and booked it in for a service the following week where they told me it was in a really terrible state. I had to get the work done as I needed to use the van the next day.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any comeback about her description as being dishonest or a anything under the Consumer Rights Act ?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Thank you for your response. I am in court at the moment but I will prepare my advice and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks. If you require any further info, please do ask.
My garage is also querying the validity of the MOT as they say it couldn't possibly have passed in it's current state.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there just before I finalise my response can you please confirm if this was a private seller or a dealer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Private seller
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. 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

· 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 seller was actually a dealer posing as a private seller - this is an unfair commercial practice and can even be a criminal offence

· 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.

In the first instance, any issues with the vehicle should be resolved directly with the seller. You can also use threats of legal action as a negotiating tool, although I would only recommend formal legal action if you have valid grounds where you can show your situation falls within one of the circumstances listed above. In the circumstances you do have potential grounds to take it further so you need to decide if that is something you want to do, knowing that there will always be risks (e.g. the seller refusing to deal with the claim or not having the money/assets to satisfy it).

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should you decide to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The vehicle certainly was not in good condition as in the description, and it was certainly unroadworty and illegal to drive. What are my options to proceed? I only have a name, email address and phone number for the seller.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

For now you can communicate with them via email. If you need to find an address you can try and use the ebay request for information (contact ebay to check if that will provide an address). Alternatively you can use www.192.com if you have details of where they live, like the city.

As far as the next options are concerned, you would be able to consider pursuing them for the losses or costs that have been incurred. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps (reference to letters can also be done via email if necessary):

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

If you have not been able to find an address you could eventually consider making an application to the court to force ebay to reveal the seller’s address to allow you to make the claim.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you - I will try to find her address via 192.com and write to her formally. There have been a number of emails back and forth, but I will send something to her more formally if I can. I will print out all the email correspondence we have had to date. My last email to her said that I would take legal advice and would be in touch.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK that is good, you can make one last formal reminder and make your position clear then follow the formal steps in taking it further

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Out of interest, her husband owns a garage. I remember her telling me this, and looking it up online, he does have a garage business. Not sure if this makes a difference, except that surely he would know the seriousness of the condition of the van.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

if she sold it personally as a private seller then what her husband does has no relevance to this. However, if she sold it on his behalf, as part of his business, then the fore-mentioned issues would become more relevant, especially the selling pretending to be a private seller and the general consumer obligations they have, such as ensuring the van i si as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. It is just that proving it was sold as part of his business may not be that easy without some more direct evidence