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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently purchased a Smart car on Gumtree for £1,000. That

Customer Question

I recently purchased a Smart car on Gumtree for £1,000. That was advertised with a problem to one of the motors that is responsible for making the roof go down (it's a convertible). The seller had purchased a motor but he agreed to return it and I would buy my own motor. I spoke to me mechanic today who said that the problem is not the motor and that the whole roof needs replacing. When I contacted the seller he agreed to give me £200 out of good will. We found a company that will do it for £500 so I contacted the seller to say that we should go halves. He has now said that he is only willing to give me £100 and that it was sold as seen. Gumtree has sent me the body of the advert where he clearly states: "This is a good runner but it will need a new roof motor and mot to get back on the road".
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume this is a private sale?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Yes it was.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
That is not good news I'm afraid.
Are you asking if you have a claim against him?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes I am.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm really sorry but I can't give you good news.
He is wrong on several points but, come what may, this is a private sale. A private sale is not subject to the Sale of Goods Act so it doesn't need to be of a reasonable quality.
You can drop back down on the law of misrepresentation with private sales. A misrepresentation arises if a person says something untrue or misleading. Clearly his advertisement was not untrue as far as the condition of the 'runner' goes. This isn't an issue of the motor compartment of the vehicle. The issue comes down to the roof. You could argue that he has minimised the extent of the difficulty. It will be a hard claim to bring though. He would argue that he disclosed an issue as candidly as he could at that time. Whether it needs a new roof is probably the opinion of the mechanic anyway.
I would take the £100. Refusing would be risky. He may well get away with paying nothing on the basis that this wasn't a misrepresentation.
If you are prepared to run that risk then you can always sue at the small claims court. There is a chance it could go in your favour and costs are not high.
It really comes down to your appetite for risk though.
Can I clarify anything for you?