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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We purchaed a VW camper van (4 years old/new conversion to

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We purchaed a VW camper van (4 years old/new conversion to camper) with 3 months warrenty. After driving home it developed an oil leak. We took it to a local garage and it needed neally £4,000 repairs to make it road worthy. On contacting the previous owner asking them to help pay for the repairs under warrenty, he said we should have gone back to him and therefore he owned us nothing. We could not drive it back to Leeds as the local garage had to take the engine out to access some of the parts that needed replacing. If we take him to the small claims court are we likely to win ?(we suggested he pay for the parts and we pay labour/VAT which made it around £2,000. He has not replied to our second letter (and had the first letter - registered post was returned). The man we purchased it from owns a small business converting VW vans. He said the van was owned by a friend who had gone bankrupted.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

see original question above. would we have any chance in a small claims court?

I presume that you didnt give him the option to collect before conducting repairs?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No, we thought it was just a small oil leak, once the garage had the engine out to make repairs it was too late. Plus the garage said it was not save to drive. He said we should have rung him but we couldn't have driven it back to LeedsXXXXX
No, but the problem is that he may have been able to collect himself.

The short answer is that it depends what the warranty says on that point. If the vehicle must be returned for their repair then the warranty does not assist you.

You could still drop down upon the Sale of Goods Act as that would still assist you if this was a dealer sale. The fact that the owner is bankrupt is immaterial. He is the seller.

However, under the SGA as with all claims, you do have a duty to mitigate your loss and also he could argue this was disproportionately expensive as he could have repaired it more cheaply himself.

That is all very well but you do still have a claim against him. You would get something at court even if its not the full amount. your offer actually does seem a reasonable one. Unless he is going to be able to show that he could have done this more cheaply than £2k he will be liable for something.

Overall though, since its reasonably cheap to issue at the small claims court, its probably worth a claim. Often they are settled at far higher rates than they would have got in a contested hearing.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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