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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46182
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I purchased a used car from a private seller in May of this

Customer Question

I purchased a used car from a private seller in May of this year. It was a 30 year old classic which had been kept in a garage by the original owner for many years undriven. It had only done 24000 miles. The man I bought it from was only the second owner of the vehicle. In his written description of the car on ebay he stated that the car had been "lightly recommissioned" and "of course the bodywork is unmarked". It also "drove beautifully". The car had been resprayed. When I went to see the car he said the only reason it had been resprayed was to freshen up the original colour which was a bit faded. There was he said no rust and he had thoroughly waxoyled the vehicle. I had a friend with me who witnessed this conversation. We inspected the car and visually all seemed fine. The man was a car enthusiast and we all talked for at least an hour and a half about cars in his house. I purchased the car from him. I then brought it home on a trailer and put it in my garage. I had to work away for a couple of months but on my return I then trailered it to a classic car specialist for a service. When they inspected it thoroughly they discovered that the car is full of filler and has rust which will bubble through. the car needs a complete restoration which will cost me at least what I paid for the car. . Also the engine has many faults and the windscreen washers do not work meaning that it would fail an MOT, despite the fact that the car was sold to me with a very recent MOT. I have not as yet even driven the car so the mileage is the same as when I bought it. Basically the seller completely misrepresented the car. And of course the amount I paid for the car, which I was led to believe was in excellent condition, has turned out to be worth a fraction of the amount I paid. What are my rights in this case and what can I do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Have you contacted the seller over this?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have. I have sent him the car specialists detailed report listing all the faults and i have offered him the opportunity to take the car back and refund my money. I only sent the letter today so wont get a response for a while i guess.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I just need to know what my rights are and what I can do
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

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.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can take to progress this further in the event that you cannot resolve it with the seller, 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, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46182
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If the seler does not want to play ball what are my options? Solicitors letter, small claims court?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Really you would be looking for compensation for the value of the car or repair costs. 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:

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.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi there. I have now had a reply from the seller denying he knew that the car had defects. Clearly this cannot be true because he was the second owner and at his own admission had the car's original paint resprayed. Therefore at the very least he would have seen the filler and rust prior to the respray, if he had not had the filler put in himself.So are there any specific steps I should take now to get satisfaction?

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