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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I bought a boat in cash from a private seller (stupid I know)

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I bought a boat in cash from a private seller (stupid I know) Advertised through eBay as being in good condition and recently serviced. I did get a short test ride for 15 mins and all seemed ok. The morning after buying the boat I took it out with two friends and it broke down after roughly 40 minutes. Its cost me £1000 to get it recovered and investigated. Have i got any chance of getting any compensation or a refund from a small claims court? I have sent him a letter already (a template from citizens consumer advice) and offered him the chance to discuss through a dispute mediator, he said he'd prefer for it to go to court.
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.

From reading my first question do you think I have any hope of being successful if I take the seller to small claims court?

What is the nature of the fault please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The boat has a mechanical fault. Quoted by an authorised engineer in needing either a £3600 rebuild or £5500 new engine. the boat was bought by me for £4600

Ok. But what is the nature of the fault?
Or has he not told you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The engineer?

They told me the engine was full of sea water, suggested a possible crack in either the exhaust manifold or head gasket. 2 valves had lost compression and many seals had been ruined. the propeller drive (stern drive) was also discovered to have been flooded and needing £700 worth of repair.

Doe's knowing exactly what was wrong with the boat help you advise me to wether I would be likely to win any compensation or refund in a claims court?

Bot***** *****ne is the boat broke within an hour the day after I bought it which I can likely prove via the harbour master. Reducing the value from £4600 to £1000 if I'm lucky.

Yes, it makes a real difference.
This is a private sale so the Sale of Goods Act does not apply. Therefore its not as simple as showing that there are faults.
The only way you can sue a private seller is to argue that there was a misrepresentation. You have to show that he said something untrue or misleading. Being in a 'good condition and recently serviced' is a very broad term. Recently serviced is clear enough and either that is true or it isn't. I think you probably have to proceed on the basis that it is for the moment. 'Good condition' is very vague. Being in a good condition does not necessarily mean there are no faults of any kind.
The advantage that you do have is that this fault developed very quickly so it is not going to be difficult to show that it was attributable to the seller.
Often people don't contest these things and just settle. Clearly he is digging his heels in.
If you show misrep though you don't have a claim for the cost of repair. The claim is for either a full refund and return of the boat or the diminution value between the price you paid and the sum it was worth.
In truth, it could go either way but I think its probably worth litigating over. You are likely to get something on the facts you present.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is there anything that could help my case ie: a report from the engineer describing his findings and the state of the engine? or if i could get proof from the harbour master that I was out on that day and having mechanical problems? or the log from my phone showing the time line of events on the day I broke down showing my texts to the seller and calls made to the engineers/boat yards?

Its the engineer that you need.
I don't think there will be any problems with showing that there was a breakdown.
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