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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 68297
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I recently bought an older car from a private seller which I

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Hi , I recently bought an older car from a private seller which I have now found to have been the subject of an insurance write off . The information was not disclosed in the advert , nor at any other time and stupidly I didn't ask . I have found by checking the cars history that the cincedent where the car was damaged was approx 9 months into his ownership . I believe he bought the car 0n 26-3-16 and the car was written off on 26-12-16 . Do I have a claim against him ? The purchase price was £3000 , in my opinion the value of this car , a 2002 year BMW E39 530d , is maybe half that as a write off put back on the road . If I sell it and I would declare as a write off , I wouldn't expect to get more than about £1500 or there abouts for it . Thank you ,
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Alex Walker.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I found out only yesterday when received the log book that it was a write off , so nothing apart from this yet . It also broke down on the A1 in North Yorkshire on the way home causing a 2 hour delay and necessitating me to join the AA by the roadside , they rescued me.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I bought the car in Edinburgh , I live near Cambridge , I called the guy when I broke down , he was surprised and apologised . I said I wanted to drive the car back for a full refund , he said the money was used to pay a tax bill on line and was already spent so I didn't think it was worth driving 2.5 hours back to his house to get nothing so I went home . I have subsequently found some nasty faults with the car which only became apparent after some considerable time of driving . They would have been known to him as the long term owner , but weren't apparant on the test drive.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

So when did you buy the car and how long after this did you discover this?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi Ben , thanks for your response , I bought the car on 27-12-19 , I found out it was a write off yesterday 13-1-20 when I received the v5 from DVLA.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

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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