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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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I bought a 12 year old Audi Q7 from my neighbour. When I

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hi, I bought a 12 year old Audi Q7 from my neighbour. When I started it up the next morning, there was a coolant light on. The neighbour denied knowledge. A day later the light for the suspension came on. Again he expressed surprise (text messages confirm timing). As we were friends I said we would deal with it when it came to it. When it went to Audi for another problem I paid for a diagnostic and found two leaks to the air suspension and a coolant leak as well as other problems that I am comfortable are wear and tear or happened after I purchased it. The owner now has confirmed a coolant problem was existing. Is there a case under the 2015 consumer protection act as an AA audi specialist and Audi confirmed that air suspension problems develop over time and therefore within two days of buying it is not likely the vendor did not know and he has now acknowleged in writing he did know about the coolant leak.
Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: State? I am in the UK
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have given him a copy of the Audi report. Advised him that I feel that the coolant leak and air suspension were problems under his ownership
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No - all fine

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.

AS you bought the car privately, some key parts of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 do not apply, for example the car does not have to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose - you are responsible for ensuring the car is of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose before buying it - however, contract law does apply nevertheless. Therefore, the car has to be accurately described and there cannot be misrepresentation. The onus is unfortunately on the buyer to ask any questions about faults with the vehicle. The car does have to be roadworthy - I am unsure if your Audi report states the car is roadworthy or not?. If Audi say that those faults make it unroadworthy, you have a case against the seller. If not then as I say, the rights are limited to misrepresentation and accuracy of the description.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button on your screen to do this), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Kind regards,

Jim

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The car is not roadworthy due to the air suspension leak rather than the coolant leak. Since I texted the vendor within two days of buying the car (the light had come on), his defence is that it happened after I bought it. However, it would fail an MOT because of it and is unsafe to drive as when the air suspension fails it can be OK, but at some point it wouldn't be and cause a hazard. Naturally I did ask if there were any problems at the time and he said no. I paid an amount equal to a car in perfect working condition. However, as they were friends, I foolishly did not get an AA inspection.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
This is his response where he admits he knew of a coolant problem and his view of the air suspension. Experts have said it would be a pre-existing condition. Basically he would have seen the light start to flash on, but it is impossible to prove the light would have shown before the sale, although the condition would be pre-sale.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Evening WillThanks for coming over the other night and for sending me the link to the Audi quote.I went to see Bir, Ash’s grandad, over the weekend and talked him through the issues.He last serviced the car for me around this time last year. At that time there was a warning light for the coolant he said - which I discussed with you when you bought the car. During that service he pressure tested the coolant reservoir but the test was negative - i.e it wasn’t leaking. His advice to me was to monitor it and if anything to change the cap as it may be losing pressure from there. That said, that was a year ago so if Audi have found a coolant leak now then it must be a leak. To that end I will give you the £800 that Audi have quoted to repair the coolant leak. I did ask how much he would charge for such a job - whilst it isn’t something he can do given the restrictions of his workshop, he did say that an independent garage would probably charge in the region of £350-£450 for the same job using Audi parts.I also discussed the suspension issue with him. He checked his records and confirmed that he has no record of any issues with the suspension - no warning lights that needed investigating, no visuals of a fault etc. I explained to him what the AA chap told you - that issues like this can sometimes start infrequently then get more frequent, etc. Given his experience he understands and agrees with this, but also understands that faults can also appear without any warning. As I have said to you in conversation previously I have not seen the suspension warning light whilst I was driving the car. Given I used it daily I would have had any warning light checked out - as I did with the coolant warning light.I have discussed this with Ash also and we’re both pained at the fact that you are having issues with the car but coolant issue aside I passed the car to you in good faith in good condition - I don’t have it in me to get one over on a stranger let alone a friend (us Hindu’s believe in karma!!) I did also reduce the sale price we agreed by £200 for the 2 front tyres that I felt needed to be replaced soon, meaning a total contribution of £1,000 (£200 at time of sale for tyres and £800 now for cost of coolant leak repair). I appreciate that this won’t be what you were hoping to hear and whilst Ash and I value our friendship with the Wisbey's the same as you and Jana do with us, we do not feel we can take ownership for issues that have arisen since you have owned the car.As it stands am around on Thursday evening if you wanted to talk over (working lates this week).Best,
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Naturally we have him admitting to knowing about the coolant leak - despite denying knowledge at the time, but I do not know if this strengthens our case on the air suspension. Since I paid £7,300 (he did deduct £200 for the tyres) and resolving the air suspension costs £5,500 it basically writes off the car

Thanks, ***** ***** likelihood the problem was present before you bought it - the Audi report confirms this is the likely situation. If you were to sue, the court would look at the Audi report and you only need to show that "on the balance of probabilities", the fault was there before you bought it (or 51% chance, which is the burden of proof).

I would propose a rejection of the car. The key evidence is the Audi report - if you do ask the court to make a judgment on this then the court is likely to be on your side.

With the claim value, being under £10,000, the case would be allocated to the small claims track so would be dealt with on paper by a judge. I realise there is an issue with the person being your neighbour so it could strain relations somewhat if you decided to sue them.

Do you want me to advise how to sue or do you want to try resolve matters more amicably at this stage?

JimLawyer and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think this is useful. We are due to meet with him on Thursday. How much would you charge for a letter advising this that I can use to negotiate him to being more reasonable. I am going to be willing to accept a 50/50 loss, but if it goes to court would look to claim the whole amount. Of key note will be his and my legal proceedings to undertake the process, so a letter detailing this from a solicitor of repute would probably be a good first step.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Eeek, submitting the rating closed the discussion box - apologies - are you still there?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Equally is there a risk of a criminal conviction if we go down this route? Not something I want, but I did read that selling a car that is not roadworthy is an offence. Might be useful for the letter.

Hi, I can help with content for a letter but cannot do it myself as this is a Q&A site and solicitor/client relationships are not allowed on here.

If someone sells a car which is not roadworthy, this is a criminal offence under Section.75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 so yes, the Police would take an interest if you were to report his.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I meant as a solicitor how much do you charge for such a letter. I would assume there is some way to take solicitor advice to a more formal relationship.

Apologies, I am only able to offer advice on this forum so you would need to instruct a law firm to do a formal letter.

It would be by the hour if you ask a solicitor to do it - if you try Stephensons Solicitors they can help (tel: 0161(###) ###-#### or a local reputable firm

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks. DO I get emailed a copy of this correspondence?

You would have to email***@******.*** as I just give answers on this forum to legal questions.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi there - looks like we are going legal. Have been some updates. Summary attached. Vehicle inspection going in shortly from an AA recommended supplier. I think it is watertight, but was worried about time elapsed since purchase (12th November), although evidence is overwhelming, I think. Moreimportantly, what do you think?
Time wise you are fine as you have more rights with it being within 6 months of purchase for the report
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you - can you send a link to start a small claims court in Croydon? And are you OK to review the documentation when I have it all ready?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
A solicitor has said you can only return the vehicle within a month - is this true? He thought it might be different for cars as he wasn't an expert on the Consumer Rights act
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Will probably have the phone call when I have everything in place.
Not true no. The site is www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Should I return the car to them before the process or is this not necessary?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Just reading through the notes - it says that expert evidence should be instructed by both parties - I am instructing the AA's recommended people for this service, should I offer it to the other side to pay half and be partners in it, or is this unnecessary?
If you send them your report and ask them whether the report is agreed or not. If so they should be liable for the cost of the report. If not then they will want their own report and they will pay for theirs.
You can return the car - as you already have your evidence in your report. It would be a good idea to return it or the court may ask why you haven’t done so
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks - I presume if they use or sell the car, they in effect have accepted the return of the car and therefore are liable for payment.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
One more thing - sorry so much - can you point me in the direction of the relevant portion of the consumer rights act so I can clarify under the act and ensure I draft the claim in the right way.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It also recommends a dispute resolution service, which I am happy to use if you think appropriate.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
This says after 30 days you are not entitled to return the car, but can claim for repairs
If a repair fails you can reject after that
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Sorry, can you explain - IE while a repair is possible, given the age of the car it is not practical - particularly as the fault suggests once fixed there are more faults.
It’s a private seller so you can reject on the basis the car is not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality. If it’s a dealer you bought from there is a right to reject assuming the dealer cannot fox the fault on the first attempt. Your case is that you bought from a private seller but you bought a car riddled with problems so you should reject it and you have the AA report to support your case.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Great, the inspection is happening today.
Sorry for the questions, but what happens if they reject the keys? The car is currently on a side street and once I have the report, I plan to return the car. Similarly, if we lost the court case I assume the car would be returned. Finally, are they allowed to drive the car if they are contesting the case.

They could reject the keys and if they do, just say that the rejection is their choice and you will bring this up with the court when the court decides the issue of consumer rights. You can keep hold of the car in that scenario but I would not use it until the court case has finalised. If you lost the court case then the car would be your property. They could use the car if they take it back although again, this would be conduct which the court would consider when it decides

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am proposing to write this email to the seller - good or bad idea?Dear Chet and Ash,This is to serve warning that I plan on rejecting the car and returning it to you next week under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015.
Given that you are undergoing a tough time with surgery and the court case, I will do this on Friday the 15th March 2019 after work. This should allow sufficient time for you to take legal advice and consider your position. On this date or the weekend afterwards I will be undertaking a small claims court under the same act to recover the cost of the vehicle, or full repairs of the vehicle.I am rejecting the car based on the level of faults shown with it, that it was sold in perfect working order, with no problems across its entire lifetime and at point of sale. I note that when sold you mentioned something small that came up and gave the impression it had been resolved. You have now confirmed this as the coolant leak. While I would accept a full repair of the car, repairs would appear to be more expensive than the car itself and should we go to court I will be claiming £7,300 the full purchase price of the car. My evidence for this is Audi’s quote https://audicam.audi.co.uk/customer/2649407/ee4f10f28c2416bea25f8d4768cdf990/56572-05022019. In your emails you have stated what you have said at the time of sale namely that the car was sold without faults and had not had faults for your time of ownership and was sold in good condition,
Before Friday 15th 2019 I would without prejudice to the court case accept the following as fair settlements:-Full repair of the air suspension and coolant leak issues.
Please be aware that Audi have highlighted in their quote that when the two leaks are remedied there are likely to be more leaks as the fault log indicates multiple problems that they cannot diagnose until the leaks are fixed which will allow them to potentially identify smaller leaks.Return of the car with £5,300 compensationI would be more than happy to jointly instruct an independent inspection to confirm what we have found – namely that the problems with the air suspension started in your ownership. Naturally I would half of the inspection costs. For this I believe the RAC and AA undertake such services and I would expect us to use someone who is clearly independent to both of us such as these.While the Consumer Rights Act 2015 places the onus on yourselves to prove the faults were not present, I have demonstrated that the car’s computer has logged a fault within your ownership. Similarly, all expert advice I have taken would suggest that the type of fault should have led to a warning light as the part shut down and it was critical. Similarly, that this type of fault would normally develop over time, and would suggest the leaks had been there for some months. When I have formally rejected the car and returned it to you, your own inspections can be made to confirm this.As you can imagine, I am very confident in my position and while I do not accept Bir as an independent expert, given that he is family to you, I am not accepting that while the car passed MOT in April, this proves the problems were not present at point of sale, most notably, I am sure you can agree, that the proof is that a problem was present as demonstrated by the fault log.While I understand you are upset by this, I would urge you to consider your position as the advice I am receiving from both solicitors and engineers would suggest that should this go to court, I would win.

Yes, the court will decide the issue based upon your AA report, so it would be churlish for them to not accept your offer - incidentally your offer is fine and the wording spot-on.

Let me know how it goes

Jim

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
They don't know about the AA report as yet. We will get that back on Monday - but chatting to the engineer, I am fairly sure which way it will go
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He has rejected my right to reject the car.This part of the advice troubles me (from which)
You have fewer rights when you buy a used car from a private seller, and key parts of the Consumer Rights Act don't apply.For example, there is no legal requirement for a car to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.But contractual rules about misrepresentation do apply. So, legally, the seller must:accurately describe the second-hand car. For example, an ad must not say 'one owner' when the car has had several
not misrepresent the second-hand car, ie tell you something about it which isn't true. For example, if it’s been in an accident, the owner mustn't tell you it hasn't.Does this overwrite the problem that the car had faults?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
His response.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear Will, Jana
Thank you for your recent emails which Ash and I have read and considered carefully.
Our position is as follows:
1) Ours was a private sale between two consumers, and as such I believe your interpretation of the Consumer Rights Act isn't accurate. To that effect I do not accept that you can reject the car. Whilst you have not been clear on how you intend to reject the car [on Friday 15th March], please understand that should the car (or keys) be placed on or in front of my property then I will seek to have it removed immediately and the full cost of removal, insurance and/or storage will be solely your responsibility as you are the legal owner.
2) For clarity and completeness please note that I do not accept your offer to buy the car back for £5,300.00.
3) Given the course of recent communication, I also withdraw my offer of a goodwill payment to you of £2,000.00. Instead we offer again the £800 that Audi have quoted to repair the coolant leak, in order that we might resolve the dispute and have both families move on with their lives. This offer is without prejudice, save as to costs, would be in full and final settlement of any issues that you are claiming have arisen out of the sale, and is open to acceptance by you until 10pm on Friday 15th March 2019 by email. If you accept, please let us have your bank details so that we can make a payment, and acknowledge that it is in full and final settlement of our dispute.
If you feel you have merit in pursuing a claim through the small claims court then please instruct your legal representation to write to us at 174 Norbury Crescent, London, SW16 4JY. If you do go down that route, and do not accept our offer above, we reserve the right to bring our offer to the attention of the court on the issue of costs.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Chet,I understand your position.I would point out two things should you wish to pursue this route and I remind you that I had warned you that most solicitors do not understand the Act as it pertains to sales of cars:-1) The act clearly covers private sales according to which. This is the link I encouraged you to read which clearly states it covers private and
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/the-second-hand-car-i-bought-has-a-problem-what-are-my-rights
You had stated that the car had no faults – even that it had had no faults during your ownership – the main reason why I bought it and why I didn’t quibble on price as you know cars.2) The advice I have been given is that in the small claims court neither side can recoup costs.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
my proposed response.
It does apply although rights are limited as against private sellers but breach of contract is the issue here due to the fact the car is faulty and so forth. Your response is fine by the way. Small claims costs are not applicable unless a party has acted unreasonably in which case the court could depart from the usual rule. You have not acted unreasonably though - indeed the seller has acted unreasonably given the content of their response - they just want to wash their hands of their faulty vehicle
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Is the onus still on the seller to prove the faults aren't there - or is this omitted in the act due to being a private sale?
They don’t have to volunteer faults unless you ask them but they can’t sell an unroadworthy car and they still have to sell a car which is fit for purpose/as described
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
In the first link - to which is statesSecond-hand car bought privately
You have fewer rights when you buy a used car from a private seller, and key parts of the Consumer Rights Act don't apply.
For example, there is no legal requirement for a car to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.
But contractual rules about misrepresentation do apply. So, legally, the seller must:
accurately describe the second-hand car. For example, an ad must not say 'one owner' when the car has had several
not misrepresent the second-hand car, ie tell you something about it which isn't true. For example, if it’s been in an accident, the owner mustn't tell you it hasn't.If he says he has never seen a warning light and the report states that he might not have, is he not covered? As it was a discussion, I am getting the feeling I might be in trouble here.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Basically his word against mine.
The court will give weight to the AA report which from I understand supports your position. It doesn’t sound like the car was road worthy and it is against the law to sell a car in that condition
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Well, I am waiting on the AA report - we will see. Should arrive tomorrow.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Can I ask your qualifications? Don't worry, you have been helpful and put me on the right track, so even if this ends up badly I will give a 5* review. But would be useful to know if you are a registered solicitor in the UK.
Ok check if it mentions road worthiness - if not can you ask them to address that specifically? Yes, I’m a UK lawyer with over 10 years post qualification experience and also qualified in Republic of Ireland
I’m about to fly so will be radio silence until tonight-I’m free all tomorrow for further queries though
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Sounds good, have a good flight.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi - hope your flight went well. I am so confused right now. Everyone agrees with your point that there is a case to answer. However, everyone agrees the CRA doesn't cover private sales of cars. one solicitor is saying it falls under the misrepresentations act of 1967 and the consumer advice bureau is stating the sale of goods act 1979.

Yes, I was saying above that the key parts of the consumer rights legislation does not apply to private car sales - if a car isn't as described, then the law states that a car should be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described in the advert. Again, it comes down to contract law and misrepresentation. The sale of goods act applies to purchases before 01/10/15 and after that the consumer rights act applies. There are key features in the consumer rights act which applies to sales of cars from dealers but not to private sellers - but the former rules still apply so the Q7 has to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described (not misleading, etc).

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
but if I am submitting a claim under the small claims court, don't I have to detail which act I am claiming under? Even the AA's dispute service says the CRA doesn't apply to private sales and I am wondering if the CRA overwrote the Sale of Goods act, but not for private deals which it does not cover. Similarly the Misrepresentations act would appear to cover this. Everyone agrees with your assessment, but it would appear that while the advisory bodies say the same, the CRA would not be the enforceable vehicle. That said, all advice online is in agreement with you saying key parts are not covered and then the points we have discussed. They key part is which act is the mechanism for enforcement of these points. Can you point to the right part of the consumer rights act that suggests it covers private sales? the previous link did not make the distinction and I have been unable to find the exact part that covers this.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/content/advice/how-does-the-misrepresentation-act-protect-car-buyers
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Auto trader seems to agree it is the misrepresentation act

In your case I would say the misrepresentation act is valid as it covers you for any false/misleading/fraudulent representations. You can quote that in the claim form and use the AA report to support your case. In relation to the car advert not matching the description and the car being faulty, etc, you can also say that there has been a breach of contract in common law (for the misrepresentation).