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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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We recently sold our car privately. The following was the

Resolved Question:

we recently sold our car privately. The following was the wording for the ad " We are selling our Y reg Automatic Petrol Renault Scenic as we have bought a bigger car. 63,200 miles, part service history, A/C, MOT until 9/11/16. It has a few age related marks, but in great condition for its age. Electric front windows, central locking, CD player- clean car inside and out." Buyer came, inspected the car in and out and under the bonnet. I took her for a test drive (I drove as she did not produce proof of insurance to drive my car). I told them my price, they went away, called back with a lower offer, I declined, sticking to £475, a £75 drop from advertised price. I had just filled the car with £45 of petrol that day. She came back a week later saying the brakes 'fell out' and we sold her an unsafe, unroadworthy car. She called me a con and then threatened my children. I told her to contact a solicitor and that if she came back I would call the police. She said she was calling the police and waiting outside my house for half an hour. I did contact the police to report the threat. But my question is about selling the car. I am not a mechanic. I drove the car daily, put 180 miles on since the ad and filled it with petrol, which shows I was intending to carry on driving it. Even if we were inclined to give them their money back (which we are not), they are saying we owe them for new brakes and diagnostics they had done. Also, i sent the log book off straight away, so I couldn't prove ownership if I did take it back. Do we have to refund them? What recourse do they have? The police have advised that we do not contact them. Thanks, Kate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did you sell and how long after purchase did the buyer come back to you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We sold on 1 Oct. She turned up a week later on the 8th
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will 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. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your patience. 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. There is nothing there which makes representations for the issues they experienced so that should not be an issue

· If the seller broke a specific contractual term – e.g. if you fail to do something you 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. Whether the issues were so bad here would be a matter for a professional to decide, so a mechanic who can inspect the car and decide if it is actually not roadworthy. They have not produced any evidence to that effect yet so do not be too concerned at this stage.

You are not obliged to refund them – you do not even have to correspond with them. The only way they can force you to pay is to go to court and win. This is a long way away and there is not even any guarantee they would go that far. So see what they do and consider your options along the way.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They did say a mechanic said the brakes were shot, actually they said they 'fell out'. And they had them replaced. I was unaware there was a problem with the brakes and had every intention of carrying on using the car had we not sold it. The mot is due in a month (and i stated that in the ad) and the brakes may have come up on that but i would not have known about it until then. There were no advisories on the previous mot. Thanks for your help. Kate
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to sell an unroadworthy car. Worn out brakes would not automatically make it unroadworthy, but if they make the car unsafe then it can be an issue. This is regardless of whether you would have carried on using it or did not know about it. So the key is how badly worn they were ad if the vehicle was nroadworthy as a result.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

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