When a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a private seller, their rights will be somewhat limited and will certainly not be as extensive as if they had bought it from a dealer. The legal principle of ‘buyer beware’ applies, where the buyer needs to satisfy themselves that they are happy with the condition of the car before they purchase it.
In general, private vehicle sales would only provide the buyer with rights in the following circumstances:
· False description - if the vehicle did not match the description given, whether in the advert or any subsequent discussions, it would likely amount to a breach of contract or misrepresentation. However, the seller does not have to reveal any issues with it, just not make representations that will make the description false
· Un-roadworthy vehicle – every vehicle must be roadworthy and if the condition of its brakes, tyres, steering or construction make it unfit for the road, it will not be roadworthy, which is also a criminal offence
In the first instance, any issues with the vehicle should be resolved directly with the seller. It is also possible to use threats of legal action as a negotiating tool, although I would only recommend formal legal action if there are valid grounds to challenge the sale based on any of the above-mentioned factors.
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