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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49823
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good afternoon.i would like a little advice if possible. I

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Good afternoon.i would like a little advice if possible.
I "sold"my second hand car to a friend in November 2014. We agreed first payment to be 27/12/2014 unfortunately this didn't happen or January's payment,as she was struggling for money agreed to start the first payment 27/2/2015 again didn't pay. I have a signed document of us both to say the car belongs to me until I have recived the last payment,this was to be £200 pr month for 14 months.
She doesn't have the log book as I still have that in my possession. Where do I stand legally and what can I do now?
Kind regards
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

What would you rather do - get the car back or get the money?

Customer: preferably the car as don't think I will get paid anyway.
Ben Jones :

If the other party has not adhered to the agreement that was entered into, then you can argue that they have acted in breach of contract and you can consider wither taking the car back or pursuing them for the payments owed. If it was specifically stipulated that the car would remain your property until the payments have been completed, then you can advise them that you are going to cancel the sale and take possession of the car. If she has the keys and you cannot access it without her consent then you cannot force your way into the car or take it in another way so you would ideally have to get her to agree to this and hand you the keys back. If that is not possible then you are able to pursue her for the payments instead.

Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

  1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.

  2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

  3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: Thank you for your advice, looks like a long process.
Customer: thank you for your advice. I just assumed I could go and get my car back as she has not paid anything
Ben Jones :

the court route will take a few months most likely but the steps leading up to it would hopefully prompt the buyer to either reconsider their position with the payments or hand the car back

Ben Jones :

you can get the car back but if he refuses to hand the keys then you cannot physically force her to

Ben Jones :

and without keys you can't do much with it

Customer: Thank you for your advice, I just assumed I could go and get the car back as she has paid nothing what so ever. Kind regards.
Ben Jones :

yes but as mentioned you need the keys from her and if she refuses to hand them back you cannot force her to which is where the issues arise - you can of course try and she may cooperate, the above is the worst case scenario assuming she does not

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