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Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2834
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16 days ago we sold our small boat, trailer and engine using

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Good morning, 16 days ago we sold our small boat, trailer and engine using a small ad. After accepting an offer £200 less than we had asked, the buyer left quite happy. Yesterday, he telephoned us to say we had ruined his holiday as he was having problems with the engine and he wanted to return it to us and get his money back. We are concerned that he has had it for over 2 weeks and we don’t know what has happened to it as it was fine when we sold it. He says yesterday was the first time he had tried it! We are in our 70s and are really worried about this.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: We are in Somerset in the UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We have explained what to do to start it, but we don’t think he is very knowledgeable, he was quite angry and returned to his home telling us he would return it as soon as we were home from our holiday (which we now are).
JA: The Lawyer will be able to walk you through that. Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I can’t think of anything, we even offered to give him the number of our boat engineer who we purchased it from and who serviced it for us.
Hello, my name is Marcus.

Firstly do not worry - although I appreciate that is easier said than done.

As this was a private sale the boat was sold as seen.

The fault is with the engine - did you describe this in anyway within the small as you placed.

When did you get the engine serviced last.

The burden is on the seller to prove that the fault was there at the point of sale and you were aware of it - which is difficult to prove.

Further, the engine needs examining as to the cause of the fault - which could be wear or tear or caused by the way in which it was used - by the buyer.

As I say the burden is in the buyer to prove that the fault was not as a result of his operation of the operation but there at the time of sale and that you were aware of it.

Finally, where did he buy it from - did the buyer test the engine by turning it over.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you Marcus, we purchased the engine about 3 months ago from our very reliable boat engineer, who made sure it was working correctly before we bought it. We ran the engine the day before we sold it and it was running fine then. The buyer didn’t start it before he took it away. He definitely started it yesterday as he told us it cuts out when he puts it in gear! I will copy and paste our advertisement to you.

Just to clarify when I mentioned the engine being examined - that is not your responsibility but the buyers.

As it was a private sale the buyer has no redress as long as the boat was as described in the advert.

When it comes to a private sale the saying is 'buyer beware'.

Thank you.


That being the case you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

As I said when clarifying as long as the boat was as described then there is no redress.

That is why personally I would only ever buy from a trader so I have protection under the Consumer Rights - which does not apply to a private sale.

Thank you.


Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I’m just sending the advertisement and description
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
That’s all we put

That is perfect - less is more.

At the risk of repetition as long as the boat was as described the buyer has no redress.

You should not get involved with the buyer just stating that you are not getting involved and provide - as you said - the details of the boat engineer.

If the buyer continues to bother you make a report to the police of harrasment and they will speak to him and advise him to stop contacting him.

Hopefully the buyer will take legal advice and ascertain that he has no claim.

Thank you.


Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What shall we do if he brings the boat back to our house, we are very worried about this .
Just refuse the boat. 

If he just leaves it there - then just keep it safe but it is doubtful he will do so without a refund - something you just refuse.

If the buyer does attend and you feel threatened just call 999.

Remember you have not done anything wrong.

Thank you.


marcusmalin and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you so much Marcus, that is very reassuring.

You are most welcome.

Do not hesitate to revert back to me on this thread should you need to do so.

Thank you.


Customer: replied 3 days ago.
We have just received this from the purchaser:Good afternoon!
Please see below from your telephone call from our Engineer Duncan;
Asked to carry out inspection of the engine and quote prior to any works carried out. A visual inspection was carried out and the following point were noted:
Steel Fuel tank with evidence of rust flakes in the fuel
Fuel supply line from tank to engine shows signs or perish and holes in it, along with primer bulb.
Section of fuel hose under cowling as above
H.T lead come dethatched from plug cap been taped up with insulation tape (complete coil and H.T leads required as all one unit)
Compression test carried out 70psi top cylinder, bottom cylinder 90 psi
A carburettor clean maybe required, should any flakes have got into the carburetto.
Attempted to start engine, spark evident on plugs but the engine wouldn’t fire up and run.
Kind Regards,
We believe that the rust flakes in the old fuel tank may have been disturbed by travelling the tank in the bottom of the boat to Devon and then has entered the engine when it was started. We told him that we never do this due to the weight distribution.Does this change anything?

No that does not change anything at all.

As it was a private sale the buyer has no redress as the Consumer Rights do not apply.

Only if the boat was not at described would there be a claim.

Your advert was clear and to the point - and I presume that the boat was as described.

So - no change to my advice.

Thank you.


Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you again Marcus, that’s very reassuring .
Not a problem.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
We have just received this:
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
I bought the boat in good faith and you misled me as to the condition of the engine.
Therefore I will return the boat and have a refund.
I will do this on Sunday afternoon.

You just need to stand firm and say that you are not prepared to refund.

Sounds tough but is in line with the law.

Thank you.