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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70357
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I purchased a car privately last night thinking there is no

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Hi there, I purchased a car privately last night thinking there is no faults. The seller retained what the issue is with the car before selling it to me. The car lost power on the highway and had to be rescued and recovered back to my home address. I am asking the seller to refund my purchase but he is reluctant.
JA: Where is this? And just to clarify, when was the purchase made?
Customer: i purchased from Croydon on 16/09/2020 at around 9pm. The car is now with me in Brighton
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: ive been speaking to the seller asking for a refund because he sold me a dodgy car but I am having no luck. I want to know what my rights are. I have placed the car safely at home.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Nothing else to say. Thanks

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 10 days ago.
That’s fine.

I am sorry to hear of the situation you are in. Can I just check, what condition did the seller describe the car to be in, prior to you buying it?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Full working condition
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
With no faults

OK I understand and 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.

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

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.

If you had to take it further legally, then you can consider a claim through the County Court for the purchase amount which you can do online via

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 10 days ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks for getting back to me!To update you, I can confirm the owner provided false description and information in the ad, our private chats and face to face.I have also taken it into my local mechanic to do a quick check on it. He confirmed there is underlying issues with structure of the vehicle, more precisely the differential. This means the car will experience shaking whilst driving and severe shaking at high speed, making it completely unfit to drive. Furthermore there is underlying issues with the gearbox as well. The cost of repair would equate to more than the cost of the vehicle itself. He has agreed to provide me with a full report tomorrow.You advised that I send him a letter once I get a full report, which I will do. And if he doesn’t respond within 14 days then to consider a claim through the county court online.Thanks Ben

Hi there, yes what you have summarised above is indeed correct and sounds like a reasonable plan going forward.

I trust this has addressed the last queries you had.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thanks again Ben. I just want to know what the likelihood is for my case? I know we won’t fully know the results until things are taken further but from your experience, what’s the general outcome for situations like this. Thanks

Unfortunately, the rules I work under do not allow me to discuss your chances of success in court. When solicitors determine these, we would conduct a formal case analysis and take the full details and evidence that are available into consideration. On this site we deal with very limited information in a Q&A format, so inevitably certain details and evidence will be missed. Therefore, if we discussed prospects of success based on this limited information alone, we could end up giving misguided advice and prompt you into either making a claim or not making one, when in reality we may have advised the opposite had we known the full details. That is why we are only limited to discussing the legal position and your options, without actually commenting on how good or bad a case you have. Hope this explains things for you

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi Ben, thanks for getting back to me. I understand where you are coming from.On another note I just wanted to bring up a few points. The ownership of the car is not in the gentleman’s name who sold me it. He never officially changed ownership to his name. Now, I am reluctant to change the ownership online to my name incase that can be used against me? Also, the seller made me aware that he was driving the car with no issues, but that also makes me think he is lying. Because if he isn’t the owner he wasn’t able to get insured? And I know the car wasn’t insured when I purchased it. I don’t know if any of this information can be used as leverage? Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks.

Hi there, when you say the 'ownership' do you mean the log book?