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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70742
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I bought a used car privately which was advertised on ebay.

Customer Question

I bought a used car privately which was advertised on ebay. I never inspected the car as it was to far and only going from the owners description/messages and phone calls. I asked if there were any mechanical issues and there answer was that there were but they had been completed for the last MOT. I sent a transport company to pick it up and the car was delivered to me later that day. It was driven the next day and I advised the seller that the car seemed to be running on the hot side. since then it has been checked and it will require work to remedy at a cost exceeding £2500 due to a cracked cylinder head. Do I stand any chance of recovery or should I just accept it. Car was described in the advert as excellent condition.
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: Im in the UK is this only for US advice?
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I advised the seller on the 27th Sept that I think there is a problem and have just advised them of the likely outcome but have not heard back from them yet. I have not taken any other action
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

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 5 days ago.
sure fire away
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hi there. Can I just check, what condition did the seller describe the car to be in, prior to you buying it?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Here is my Hilux surf for sale. To say it’s 24 years old it’s in excellent condition inside and out. Comes with a fresh mot.
142000miles
Just had some recent work done-new genuine front brake pads
-new track rod ends
-new lower ball joints
-new genuine gearbox cooler feed pipesWas imported in 2006
4 former keeperssianora_123:There was a few mechanical issues but been sorted from the last mot.
Your previous messageAny mechanical issues? Rust?
Is the price firm or is there room for movement in the price?
Paul
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

When a person buys a vehicle from a private seller, their legal rights will be rather limited and will certainly not be as extensive as if it was bought from a dealer. The legal principle of ‘caveat emptor’ (also known as ‘buyer beware’) applies, where the buyer needs to satisfy themselves that they are happy with the description and condition of the car before they purchase it. There is no legal right to expect that the vehicle is of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

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 with the seller, it will amount to a breach of contract or misrepresentation. However, the seller does not have to reveal any issues with it, even if they knew about them. They simply should not make statements that will make the description false

- Roadworthiness - every vehicle must be roadworthy and if the condition of its brakes, tyres, steering or construction makes it unfit for the road, it will not be roadworthy, which is also a criminal offence

Any issues with the vehicle should initially be attempted to be resolved directly with the seller. If they are unwilling to co-operate, or no agreement can be reached and there is evidence that they had breached their obligation as listed above, further action can be considered. This could eventually lead to a claim for compensation, such as for any repair costs or for the refund value of the vehicle.

If a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can potentially do so by making a court claim. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for compensation. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim. There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The other side will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the other side that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial payment of the amount sought in the claim.

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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

I hope that your query has been answered to your satisfaction. I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that if you needed any further clarification with this query, you should not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to help. For now, thank you for using our services.