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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71135
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I sold recently my late sisters beautiful sofa for a mere

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I sold recently my late sister's beautiful sofa for a mere £120 to a local lady who was truly delighted with it. I had advertised it in the local press as an 'Ercol' sofa because that was what my late sister had told me it was. The lady I sold it to made checks and said that it was not an Ercol sofa, and therefore she wants her money back plus £80 for transporting it back and forth from her house. I checked with the shop my sister had purchased the sofa from, and they informed me that it was not an Ercol sofa, but one of a similar and equally reputable make. I genuinely believed that my advertisement was correct at the time of placing it, and in no way sought to mius-lead anyone, Clearly, I should have simply described the item as a sofa, and not referred to any make at all.
The purchaser's focus on the name of the furniture suggests to me that she is selling things on, rather than needing it for her own use, whereupon the name would be important perhaps, but this is neither here nor there.
I phoned my solicitor, who said that I am not a shop, I am a private seller, and 'Caveat emptor', let the buyer beware. It was for the buyer to ensure that the goods were what they wanted. I acted in good faith, and no-one in their right mind would take such a piffling case to Court, he said she was taking the mick.
I have nevertheless written to the lady and offered to give her the purchase price of £120 back provided that she returns the sofa to me in the same condition that it was sold top her. I am not paying for her transportation costs back and forth from my house. My solicitor says that I ewas generous in doing so, and did not need to do this.
Today I have received a letter form the lady informing me that she is taking me to Court over the matter, referring to the 'Sale of Goods Act 1979, whereupon the sofa fails to match the description as advertised.' I sold it in good faith, as described to me by my late sister.
What would you advise me to do?
Many thanks,
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My feeling is that I am not going to answer any more of her letters. I have made her a fair offer. if she wants to take me to court then so be it. What is your opinion?

Have you seen any evidence that was her transportation costs? Seems rather heavy.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I have not seen any eveidence of her transportation costs.

Clearly there is a misrepresentation argument here. There is no way around it. If you described an item as a particular brand and it is not then that is misrepresentation whether you honestly believed it or not. You are liable to return the sum she paid but you are entitled to expect the funds returned. If the contract is rescinded then its rescinded. She cannot keep the sofa and have the money back.
In terms of the transportation costs, she would probably not get that if she went to court and anyway it doesnt cost £80 to transport a sofa.
Its very unlikely she would sue over this. It is possible but not likely. Its easy to threaten to sue and harder to do it.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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