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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3311
Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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I recently started an online only classic car auction

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Hi, i recently started an online only classic car auction website, the way this works is the buyer is bidding on a vehicle based on the information provided by the seller (very much like ebay) and does not have the option to view the vehicle before hand.
in the case that the car was not as advertised what rights would the buyer have in terms of getting his money back in that situation?
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: united kingdom - england and currently no i'm just asking how this would work.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Are motor auctions covered?

It is unlikely that a motor auction will be considered a consumer sale, in which case most of the rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 will not apply. It is very important that buyer check the vehicle thoroughly before they bid on it. The auction will have terms and conditions setting out the role of the auctioneer and the obligations of the buyer and seller. They should Check these terms and conditions carefully before they bid. They are entitled to expect that the seller has the legal right to sell the vehicle. If they think it might have been stolen, report it to the auctioneer. The auctioneer must accurately describe the vehicle.

What about internet auctions?

Most internet auctions only provide the site for the auctions to be held and are not generally liable for goods bought and sold privately. You should check the terms and conditions of the internet auction for full details.

You have the same legal rights when buying from a trader at an internet auction as you have when buying from their premises. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 also apply to internet auctions. You may have the right to cancel a purchase from a trader if you change your mind, regardless of whether it is sold through the auction or via 'buy it now'.

In recent years, online shopping has become a huge phenomenon. On the back of this, Internet Auction sites have become an extremely popular way to purchase almost any item, usually via a bidding process. Whether trying to purchase a rare find, or find a bargain, online auction sites are the place to go.

However, if you purchase an item through an Internet auction website, you will not necessarily be covered by the same consumer rights that you have if buying from an online retail store, or shopping on the high street. Occasionally, users of Internet auction websites may run into problems regarding the quality, delivery or description of the goods that they have purchased. Internet auction websites can also be susceptible to opportunistic fraudsters. So if you are considering buying from an Internet Auction website, make sure you know what consumer rights are applicable, and how to shop online safely in this way.

Private or Business Seller?

The first fundamental point that you should be aware of is the fact that the Internet auction site is not an online retailer - that is to say that the auction site is effectively acting as just a host to the sellers, much like a paper will print private classified advertisements. This means that the Internet auction site is not responsible for the content of the advertisements placed. Unlike their live auction house counterparts, an online auction site will have no legal obligations in relation to the goods advertised for sale on its website.

You should also be aware that if your seller is based outside of the UK, any consumer rights that you usually have might not be applicable when purchasing overseas. For this reason it's always a good idea to first check the location of the seller so that you can be sure of whether any of your consumer rights are applicable.

When buying or bidding, you'll be purchasing from either a private seller or a registered business seller. It is partly your responsibility to decide whether you feel that the seller is trustworthy and bona fide. This can be done in a number of ways - for a private seller, it is worth checking their feedback, the actual comments left and what contact details have been made available to you. If buying from a private seller, then you should be aware that your consumer rights are effectively relatively limited compared to buying from a business. Private sellers in particular may not always be clear about their terms of sale, and what their returns policy is. If the auction website does not stipulate a general returns policy that sellers must comply with, then you should contact the seller prior the end of auction or purchasing the item, to ascertain their individual terms of sale and returns policy.

Private sellers are, by law, only expected to provide an accurate description ('as described') of the item that they are selling. This means that unlike a business seller, the items don't have to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you very much for that, as i'm not great with the legal stuff, is it possible to get terms of service/obligations written up so i can put them on my website?

HI, I am sorry, but drafting such terms and conditions for this sort of business arrangement would not be something I could do.

However I have attached a link to a site that is very helpful.

You could also look at a number of online auction sites and see what they write.

Some excellent examples could be ebay, Bonhams, the-salesroom etc. Then follow their approach, they are all very well established site s

james bruce and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
thats fine i understand that, thank you very much for your help james