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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a question regarding a conditional sale agreement for

Customer Question

I have a question regarding a conditional sale agreement for a car. We have reached the end of the term and have returned the vehicle. We now have a bill for "damage" to the car and I wanted to know my rights regarding this
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 after returning the car were you sent the invoice? Also, was the car damaged before your returned it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The invoice was sent a week after returning the car. They have sent a report which details the damage (chips and scuffs etc.) amounting to £1200. I wouldn't call this intentional damage or malicious. They say it is beyond acceptable fair wear and tear.
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.

Just to check what did the agreement between you say about damage when the car was returned - what was acceptable and what were your liabilities?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The agreement states "reasonable car of the goods". There is no detail around what is acceptable and what is not in the agreement. Only now have they pointed out their fair wear and tear policy. There is no mention of the policy in the original contract.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, reasonable care
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. It is a difficult one because it essentially comes down to what is reasonable care and what level of damage becomes unreasonable.

There is sadly no independent measure of this and it will depend on a case by case basis. If they are trying to rely specifically on their fair wear and tear policy then unless you were made aware of it in advance or it was made available to you or mentioned in the contract, then it should not form part of the contractual relationship between you.

It would then go back to what one would consider to be reasonable care. In reality only a court can decide what that is, looking at the damage caused and the use of the car and length of time you had it for.

You do not have to pay the bill – this is just a request based on their interpretation. If they really want to pursue this the only way to force you to pay is to take you to court and win. They need to prove that you were negligent in the use of the car. You could take your chance in court – if you lose you will not have to pay their legal fees – just what the court decides the damage is.

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.
Hi Ben, thanks for your answer. Would it be possible for you to review the agreement and documentation they have provided with a view to you advising me on the best stance? Of course, I'm happy to pay for your time.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

To review documentation it would be a premium service and it will attract an additional fee but it should not be too much. Perhaps if you can upload the documents on here please then I can see how much work is involved before I provide a quote?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, I'll upload the agreement and suppporing wear and tear policy along with the vehicle report tomorrow - thanks for your help
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No problem, thanks. In the meantime if your original question has been answered so far 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm unable to upload files for some reason - what's the best way to get them to you?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

can you please try a free file sharing service like www.mediafire.com

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok yes - go here
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w4cuu417ne7j49w/AAB3pBIXutvcLbm0wsTXbuz6a?dl=0Please note, there are two differing versions of the wear and tear policy, one received at a later time to the other. Both were not made known to us until the end of the contract in either case. Fair wear and tear is mentioned in paragraph 10 of the contract
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, have you managed to look at this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi sorry I have been in court most of today and sadly will be there most of tomorrow too. Just to check for now - have you checked the policy where acceptable damage is discussed and compared it to the damage in your case? Is it way out to what they consider acceptable?