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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71146
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Two weeks ago I part exchanged a car when buying another vehicle.

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Two weeks ago I part exchanged a car when buying another vehicle. The dealer asked how much I wanted for my part exchange and I gave the figure of £1,500 and the dealer's representative went out and looked at the car and came back with an offer of £1,350 which I accepted.

I have today received a letter from them saying that the "car was patched up for sale" which was not true. They have sent an itemised invoice for the sum of approximately £1,000. They state that they have consulted a solicitor who has suggested I might be prepared to contribute towards the cost rather than incur legal fees on both sides.

Where do I stand legally on this.

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

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


I want to know where I stand legally.


Is it the dealer's responsibility to check the car before completing the transaction and offering me the £1,350 for the car?







Did you say anything untrue or misleading about the car at the time of sale?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I didn't.

Thank you.

On what basis do they say that you are liable? Have they quoted a law?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No they have not quoted a law.


They are alleging that the car was "patched up by the owner to disguise the faults" which is not the case. We did have a fault on the car as the fan belt and a pulley had to be replaced which was carried out by an RAC recommended garage at a cost of £220.00 and as far as I was aware this was satisfactory.


The quotation for work to be carried out amounts to approximately £1,000 and the letter says that I was aware of the faults and did not declare them which is untrue.


They are saying that if I am prepared to make a compromise that they are happy with then they won't take further action.


If I make a compromise it would seem like admitting that I knew the faults listed existed whereas I did not.


Please could you advise on the best course of action for me to take. Do I have any liability?








Thank you.

On the face of it, I cannot see any liability. You are not a dealer and so not bound by the sale of goods act. The only way they could bring a claim against you as a private seller is to argue that this is their call was misdescribed in some way at the time of sale.

Of course, that can refer to a lie but it can also refer to a misleading statement which might be there allegation here. Beyond that though I cannot see any liability.

If it is just that they have realised that they have paid more than the vehicle is worse then that is down to them rather than you and no liability arises.

Of course, they may sue and you may have to defend this matter and probably you have better things to do but I think overall, on the facts that you present you would succeed.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.


I definitely did not make any misleading statements and, in fact, was asked nothing about the car.


All documents and bills were handed over to the dealer at the time of the transaction. The MOT certificate (carried out in January) was included in the documents and the only advisory point stated that there was an oil leak and that was the only problem I was aware of.


I don't know whether the faults listed on the quotation exist or not but surely the vehicle should have been checked before an offer was made.


Can you please advise on how we should respond to the dealer?

Well, it depends whether they're alleging that you said something untrue or misleading.

In terms of responding to the dealer, it depends how much risk you want to take but I would just write back saying that I'm not paying anything at all and that they will have to sue me if they take the view that I'm liable.
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