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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71339
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I'm looking at buying a used car from an independent dealer,

Customer Question

I'm looking at buying a used car from an independent dealer, but it is not close enough to my mechanic that I can have him inspect it (which is what I would really like). So I am considering an unknown mechanic (RAC or AA), but I am wondering if I have it inspected by one of those associations, and buy it, and then my mechanic tells me there is a problem, have I forfeited the possibility of coming back to the dealer, since I had it inspected before I bought it?
Am I better off buying it uninspected, and then having my mechanic look at it, then returning to the dealer if there are any significant problems?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Whether you are better off is difficult to say. It depends what you want.
Obviously an inspection would reveal any problems to you in advance so you could avoid buying a lemon.
However, if you had an inspection it would that it would be easier for the merchant to argue that you knew about the faults at the time of sale. That wouldn't necessarily mean they are not liable. It would depend on the nature of the fault. All second hand cars have some faults. Sometimes they are acceptable ones as they can be deemed to be reflected in the price.
Overall, I think it is probably better to have an inspection as you would rather not have a duff car. It is preferrable to not have a duff car than have a duff car with a right to return it.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

I think a good inspection would reveal any problems, but my worry is that RAC or AA might provide a poor quality inspection. As I understand it, they have almost no liability if they miss things, or else they argue that the fault was not there at the time of the inspection, but materialised just after the car was purchased. (I have googled around and seen some appalling situations)

I am trying to find a way to get the car looked at by someone who I am sure is competent instead of the luck of the draw.

So, are you saying my rights will not change by having the car inspected first? I presume there is always some common law standard of reasonableness for the age and price of the car.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
They are under an obligation to perform the contract with reasonable care and skill but I do see your point.
Your rights under the SGA don't change substantially. It would just mean that it was possible for the merchant to argue that you knew about the faults and accepted them.