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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Dear JustAnswer, I recently bought a used car for £2495

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Dear JustAnswer,
I recently bought a used car for £2495 from a private buyer who I can demonstrate (I am sure) misrepresented the state of the car which, I have now discovered, was a category C write off.
To complicate matters, I commissioned an independent engineer's pre-purchase inspection report from The report mentioned only a frayed auxiliary belt and the need to re-gas the air-con, whereas I now have a report from my local garage cataloguing numerous serious faults. ClickMechanic are in discussions with their engineer.
My question is how best to seek redress and recover my money.
With thanks
Dr Stephen Pumfrey.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What was the misrepresentation please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The advert, of which I have a copy, stated that the car had a "full service history" which, on closer inspection, I realise ended in 2012-13, before the insurance write off. If it were full it would have included details of the accident repair, I understand. It also stated that the windscreen had a "small crack" which was in fact more than 20cm long. This was the major reason given for the reduced price. A second reason was that the information panel read "check airbags" and the seller said I would have to have them checked. In fact, they are absent. following the accident. The given mileage was slightly low. The advert also stated that the car was owned by a "careful lady owner", supposedly the seller's mother, but I am now doubting that.

Above all, the engineer's excuse for including nothing in his report about the vehicle's material condition (which is very poor) was that the seller said that she had already told me that the car had been in an accident. This is categorically untrue, and my son is a witness to that.

Failing to declare a cat C write off is not a misrepresentation unless, of course, the seller actually said something untrue or misleading on that point. There is no duty to declare an insurance write off.
However, if the assertion that there was a 'full service history' was false then that would amount to a misrepresentation.
The crack is an arguable point. 'Small crack' is clearly minimising the issue but whether it amounts to a misrepresentation is another matter particular because I presume that you would have seen the vehicle at some point before purchase. There is case law that says that misrepresentation does not assist when there was an opportunity to inspect and a fault would have been obvious.
Understating the mileage is a misrepresentation.
It is quite unlikely that you will get a full refund. Recission of the contract is rare with misrepresentations. What will probably be available is the diminution value between the price you paid and the price the vehicle would have been worth had its condition been known.
You need to send the seller a letter before action asking for an offer within 14 days and making clear that you will sue if you do not receive one.
If that fails then you can sue here
You may as well seek recession of the contract since its a proper application and the sum in question is still a small claims court sum.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** is helpful.

I have two final questions.

1. Is it material that independent inspection engineer has stated that the seller told him that she had told me that the car had been in an accident, when she had not?

2. ClickMechanic's advert, which was on the very page of the Gumtree advert for the car, states "Protect your purchase with a ClickMechanic pre-purchase inspection."

Although the person I have spoken to at ClickMechanic seems to have been helpful and sympathetic, he has also stated that my contract was with the engineer and not with ClickMechanic, which I find puzzling.

Clearly I would not have purchased the car if the report had been competent. Do I have any redress against the engineer or ClickMechanic for the problems they have caused? Their offer of only refunding the £75 inspection fee seems mean.

1 Not necessarily. It depends.
If there was something in the report that you relied upon at the time of sale that was untrue or misleading arising from this then that could be relevant.
The only issue there might be negligence of the inspection engineer possibly.
2 That depends on their set up. In fairness, they may be wrong on that point. Denying a contract doesn't mean that one doesn't exist.
However, whoever your contract is with, your claim in misrep is against the seller.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, Jo.


This has been an excellent service.As others have said, the answers were prompt, relevant, clear and very helpful.


Please feel free to use the above in your publicity.



I may sleep tonight!



No problem and all the best.

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