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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50184
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have sold a camper van privately on 17/4/14 now after a couple

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I have sold a camper van privately on 17/4/14 now after a couple of days he wants to return it, he looked the van over when he collected and shook on the deal, I have a bill of sale which he signed it gives vehicle details also sold as seen, how do I stand legally I am not a dealer

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Why does he want to return it?

He says the MOT is not genuine (not true it is) and the vehicle has to much rust and also mechanical problems and not as discribed


Further to my previous I made no reference to anything mechanical as far as I know all is ok it starts goes stops, I am not a mechanic, I did say in my advert that the body needs some TLC and they should view the van. he looked the van over and said he was happy and would take it

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I was on the move earlier so did not have a permanent signal to provide my full response.


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. Certain sections of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (which mainly applies to business transactions) would still apply but the buyer’s protection would certainly not be as extensive.


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 this case, the buyer is claiming that the MOT is not genuine and that the vehicle was not as described. The MOT issue is something that can be verified quite easily by going t the garage that issued it and obtaining verification from there.


The mis-description is something that would depend on the advert, what was advertised and said before the sale.


You are not legally obliged to give details of faults with the car as long as you do not make representations that go against its actual state, for example claiming it is in excellent condition, when it clearly had many faults. Additionally, if they had the chance to inspect the car, then any issues that would have been obvious to inspection could not really be used as a reason to return the vehicle. So if the reasons for return are on these bases then you can refuse and if they are still unhappy all they can do is take you to court to seek compensation for their losses. Whether they do that is anyone’s guess and it would be quite a big risk for them so they may not necessarily go that far – at least you know that unless you are taken to court and lose, you cannot be forced to accept the car back or issue any compensation.


I said in the advert that the vehicle needed some TLC to the body, when it was collected I gave him the MOT certificate which had some advisories about corrosion, on collection he commented on some rust issues and I pointed out what I said in the advert about body condition I made no attempt to hide anything and gave him every opportunity

Ben Jones :

All of that is good and will work in your favour – if he was not happy with what he saw then he should not have purchased the vehicle, but he inspected it and bought it based on that so his chances of being successful in any action against you would be relatively low


Last question for now should I respond to any further messages from him

Ben Jones :

you need to stand your ground - advise him that he does not have any legal grounds to reject the vehicle and ask for a refund, as the item was sold as described \nd basically to stop contacting you - there is nothing stopping him from taking this further if he really wanted to and he can threaten you as much as he wants but unless he goes to court and wins there is not much he can do in terms of forcing you to act


Many thanks

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

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