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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50157
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I verbally agreed to purchase a car from a private seller.

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I verbally agreed to purchase a car from a private seller. No money exchanged hands and there was no written agreement, witnesses or confirmation. Collection and payment was to take place a week later.
Unfortunately within the 7 days a close family member passed away. I informed the seller that I could not continue with the purchase of his car or any other car due to the bereavement. He said he understood and then readvertised the car.
Can the seller enforce the original agreement.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is the seller actually trying to enforce it?

Customer: Not at the moment and there has been no discussion about enforcing it. When I informed him about having to walk away from the vehicle 3 days after viewing vehicle he said "he understood" but he was obviously not impressed. He resisted the vehicle for sale at the same aboriginal asking price within 48 hours of cancelling
Ben Jones :

A legally binding contract is likely to have been in existence because that is created when there is an offer and an acceptance, with some consideration. So if you offered to buy the car at a certain price, the seller accepted that and then took the car off sale then that is all very likely to have resulted in a legally binding agreement. So if you subsequently refused to proceed with the purchase you could be acting in breach of contract, which in turn could enable the seller to pursue you for breach of contract. However, they cannot force you to buy the car, no one can actually force you to part with your money and accept the car in return. The most likely scenario is that if the seller wanted to take this further they would sue you for any losses they have incurred as a result of your breach of contract. In the circumstances this could be the fee they had to pay to relist the car and perhaps the difference in price if they could genuinely not sell it for the same amount as what you had offered. Depending on what happens these losses could be rather small and not worth taking the matter any further. So do not worry too much about it at the moment – the seller has relisted the car and hopefully it will soon sell for a similar amount. It would not be worth their time and money taking this any further and dragging it through the courts.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer: Excellent thank you. The consideration was quite high but agree hes unlikely to pursue any expenses. The adverts are free.
Customer: Once he sells in the future, if any difference between my agreed price and what he eventually accepts he will probably be happy to have sold rather than look to claim any difference. The certified value is greater than the agreed price so if sold for less I presume he would have to explain why the difference.
Ben Jones :

yes exactly, and for what this would all be worth I very much doubt it would be something sufficient to take further. It also appears he has reluctantly agreed to cancel your sale and try to re-sell it. He may not have been happy doing so but that does not mean he will be looking to take any action against you as a result

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