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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70217
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I wonder if you can help me please. I bought a car Sorry

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Hi, I wonder if you can help me please. I bought a car Sorry start again
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Dorset
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I bought a car on Monday evening at around 6:30 through marketplace. It was also on Ebay. The gentleman said that the car never had any problems etc. It looked like it was in immaculate condition. I drove the car to work Tuesday morning. At 11am went to move car and it wouldn't start. Rang AA and they came out at 2:15 and said after investigations that the head gasket had blown and they would take it to a garage as I couldn't drive it. Garage have quoted £800 - £1500, am waiting on an estimate of costs.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: basically I emailed the seller, explained the situation and he has offered to pay £400 only for the repairs he said as a goodwill gesture as he has already bought a new car. In previous message I said I wanted to return the car as it wasn't even 24 hours since I bought it

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
thank you

I am sorry to hear of the difficulty you had after buying the car. Can I just check, was it from a private or trade seller?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
it was a private sale

OK thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; 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.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. 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.

You cannot force them to accept a return and issue a refund so you may have to settle with contribution towards repair costs, as long as the above criteria can bemet.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
does unroadworthy mean - head gasket blown within 12 hours? Has he given us a false description : his advert stated immaculate condition either outside or inside. He said he's never had any problems with car etc and its a brilliant runner. I am told that a head gasket problem will have started previously although he is denying ever knowing about it?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Also do we threaten Court proceedings now or get the car repaired and then issue Court proceedings?

No, a head gasket will unlikely make the car unroadworthy. As to false description, it depends on the issue itself – is that something that is obvious it would have been known to him, or is it something that can go at any time without any previous symptoms? That is something for a mechanic to comment on. You can threaten legal action now in the hope the matter gets resolved at this stage, but if you still have to get it repaired yourself you will then have to make it clear that you will be pursuing for these costs

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
But you cannot drive the car when the head gasket has blown so surely that itself makes it unroadworthy. A mechanic has advised that in all likelihood he would have known about it as it would have either leaked water/oil. I never saw any evidence of that tbh. Seller also said no issues and always started/ran. I have had a quote and the repair is £1,360. I seriously think this is unfair bearing in mind I hadn't even had the car 24 hours...

Unroadworthy means unsafe for the road, like faulty brakes, faulty steering, etc. A head gasket problem does not make it unsafe, just unusable.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
surely unusable is unroadworthy as it can't be driven??

No, they are different. There are hundreds of issues that can make a car unusable and the majority of these would not make it unroadworthy. To be unroadworthy it means legally not meeting the criteria for safety on the roads

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
basically I am up a creak without a paddle. He has refused to take the car back due to it being faulty and if he refuses to pay towards the repairs I have to pay.

That may indeed happen, in which case your only option would be that you have to pay for the repairs then pursue him for these costs separately

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
ie through the Courts?

Yes, most likely the Small Claims Court if it is below £10k – https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you for your help

You are most welcome and all the best

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