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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Having bought a car privately during June last year I have

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Having bought a car privately during June last year I have since found that some claims made within the advert on an internet site, 'PistonHeads', are false. The items concerned are of a structural nature (sills and others, which should normally fail an MOT test) and that have had to be repaired. Whilst I understand this does not fall within the remit of the Sale of Goods Act, I feel I may have recourse under the Misrepresentation Act 1967? If that is the case it is unclear whether it would be whether the false statement was made fraudulently, negligently or innocently. The car had been in the vendor's possession for over 12 months, during which time work had been undertaken by a Porsche specialist. My own local specialist claims that it is beyond belief that the previous garage didn't spot the very obvious problems. The issue is whether he mentioned the faults to the previous owner or chose to 'leave well alone' for fear of upsetting the relationship. In any event, the fact is that the car was sold as having certain remedial work prior to the vendor's ownership i.e. nothing to do with his garage but it is crystal clear that this was never the case. How should I proceed? Many thanks in anticipation - Alastair Durham (07886 758320)
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you approached the seller to try and reach a resolution?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not yet Ben. It wasn't possible to do so immediately. My specialist garage needed to dismantle parts of the vehicle to gain a full picture of the work required to remedy the problems. At that stage I instructed them to proceed with the very necessary repairs to ensure the car was safe to drive. At that stage the remedy of rescission was no longer available. My idea was that now the repairs have been fully carried out, to approach the vendor, outline the situation with proof of misrepresentation (invoices and photographs together with statement of defects from my specialist garage), then ask for financial compensation - damages? In the event this has no effect, to carry the claim forward via the Small Claims Court? At this stage I should mention the vendor is, I believe, a solicitor working for Morgan Stanley Bank!
Thank you and what would you ideally prefer - to be compensated for the damages suffered? What value would you place on them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, clearly I'd seek compensation for the damages. I've asked the specialist garage to prepare me a separate invoice for the work relating to the misrepresented items ('kidney bowls' and inner and outer sills). This will, conservatively, total in excess of £8,000 - the parts alone exceed £5k. In addition there is labour for stripping and fitting these together with paintshop costs. I've 'lifted' these items from the paid invoices to date so a 'guestimate' at this stage. What I would be careful to avoid is to include any 'extras' which I've commissioned whilst the work involved allowed other items to be attended to (nothing to do with the misrepresentation).
Thank you. As you have already identified, when a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a private seller, their rights will be somewhat limited and will not be as extensive as if they had bought it from a dealer. In general, there is no legal requirement for the vehicle to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose, which are rights afforded under the Sale of Goods Act. Therefore, the buyer will only have rights in the following situations:· If the vehicle did not match the description given, whether in the advert or any subsequent discussions. This would amount to breach of contract or misrepresentation. This is the main claim in your case – you will need to gather all relevant documentation, specifically the advert and any other evidence which shows that what was promised did not match what was delivered.· If the seller broke a specific contractual term – e.g. if they fail to do something they specifically agreed to, for example, fix certain faults or provide an MOT. This is also going to be a breach of contract· If the seller was actually a dealer posing as a private seller - this is an unfair commercial practice and can even be a criminal offence· If the vehicle is unroadworthy – this occurs if its brakes, tyres, steering or construction make it unfit for the road. This will also be a criminal offence. In the first instance, any issues with the vehicle should be resolved directly with the seller. You can also use threats of legal action as a negotiating tool, although I would only recommend formal legal action if you have valid grounds where you can show your situation falls within one of the circumstances listed above. I do not doubt that you can do this so it is going to be a matter of whether you are willing to take the matter to court or not. Remember that even if you win and obtain judgment in your favour t does not guarantee compensation. The other party could refuse to pay and it would then be for you to try different enforcement methods, which will inevitable incur further costs. If there is someone who can play the game, like a solicitor, then he could take you on a legal ride so to speak and protract the whole process, trying to avoid payment. So keep all of this in mind when deciding on how to proceed. As mentioned, in the first instance you should try and resolve this directly with the seller and making it clear that court will be an option if no resolution is achieved. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Ben, that is very useful. In that I feel I have a strong case for misrepresentation i.e. work that was specifically stated on the advert as having been done but clearly NOT having been done might I ask whether the following course of action would be sensible?
1. Initially write to the vendor outlining the issues. This would be supported by the initial survey report from my specialist garage confirming that the claimed work had not been done, photographs of the condition of the vehicle in the affected/disputed areas, continuing photographic evidence of the necessary remedial work and invoices for the total restoration with the specific areas dealing with the problem highlighted i.e. not suggesting any claim(s) for additional work outside of the disputed structural issues. The letter would make reference to having taken legal advice to make this approach.
2. In the event that he offers to negotiate a settlement then proceed to a satisfactory conclusion
3. In the event that he rebuffs/ignores the approach then progress an action via the Small Claims Court (the simplest and cheapest way for me to proceed - I've used this route twice before with absolute success).
4. Have I missed anything?
Thank you - Alastair
Hello Alastair, the plan of action is correct, and it is what I would have advised. Just before you consider going to court though I suggest you give the seller a couple of final chances to resolve this without having to go to court. You may also make it clear that the next step would be court, should no satisfactory resolution be reached.
If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
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