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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10226
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I sold a private car last week in the uk. A guy in France

Customer Question

I sold a private car last week in the uk. A guy in France came over and tested the car and made the purchase. A week later he is now looking to return it for a refund. There was no problem with the car when it was sold. Has he any legal right to force me to take it back? Bear in mind he has driven the car from Northern Ireland to France.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your question - what is he saying is wrong with the car?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He said that the oil light has come on and it was hard to start. There was no light on in my ownership or atarting issues. The car was driven by him for around 10 miles on the test drive and started at least 5 times hot and cold with no issues. Surely after exporting the car to France and on a private sale there is no guarantee?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

The law in France may be different but you have sold the car in Northern Ireland and the deal was transacted in NI and hence, the laws of Northern Ireland apply. The applicable law is the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Parts of the Consumer Rights Act do not apply to private sales and satisfactory quality is not one of them.

Having said that, it is a criminal offence to sell a car which is not roadworthy but a problem with the engine does not make it not roadworthy. It would cover tyres steering brakes and suchlike, basically anything for the MOT.

BUT you must not misrepresent the car.

So if you said the car was in good condition, or it had no known faults or something like that, then he may have a claim

If you said, “there is the car, try it, save you like it but I know nothing about it” then he does not have a claim.

So it all comes down to whether there was a fault which you declared or didn’t declare or whether you just didn’t say anything about the car at all.

There is also the point here that he has driven the car and was satisfied with it and he drove further from Northern Ireland to France, it seems that it’s been driving okay for a period of time and you obviously have no control over its use during those several hundred miles.

There is another issue of course and that is that if you don’t give him his money back, he is going to have to issue proceedings in Northern Ireland and that might not be particularly convenient for him.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. Then press Submit. Thank you. If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The car had just passed its mot so it was definitely road worthy, I have not misrepresented the car as the car simply did not have these issues when I owned the car. When he arrived he got his own chance to do any inspection which he carried out thoroughly, also his English wasn't very good so I certainly did not say anything about the car which wasn't true it was sold as seen.Could you give me a summary of all the laws on my favour so I can forward it to this person?Many thanks
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.