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Buying a used car from a private seller in UK. What is the law if...


JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
23 May 2009 /  #1
... the car is faulty. Not gonna get into too much detail, just trying to help my Polish friends out. To make a long story short, they bought a car from this British guy who failed, or more likely avoided to mention the car had a few faults in it that are difficult and expensive to fix. My friends would like to know if they are able to return it to him, as in returning a faulty product that was broken before they bought it. I don't know if it's been mot'd before the purchase, all i know is that the guy who sold it didn't drive it for ages and it looks brand new. So basically if someone here could explain what is the law, can my friends demand their money back, or are they stuck with it now? Can they take the guy to court or call the police on him? He's not being - obviously- very cooperative. Cheers everyone.
terri 1 | 1,665  
23 May 2009 /  #2
The law is very clear when you buy anything from a private person, you do not have the same rights as buying from a shop/garage etc. Cars from private indiuviduals are 'Bought as seen'. (Buyer beware -caveat emptor). It is up to the purchaser to satisfy himself that the goods (car) meets his requirements before he parts with any money. Your friends have no leg to stand on - they cannot demand their money back - as they willingly (ie being an adult and with full faculties) made the purchase willingly. Whether the car has or does not have an MOT - they should have asked before buying. There is no point calling the police - they saw what they were buying and bought it. The police cannot do anything.

One get out would be if they 'specifically' asked him about faults and have witnesses to this, i.e. do the breaks work?, are the tyres new? and he told them a 'definite lie' then you would have to sue them through the courts. It all depends on the value of the car. Best way out is to get it through its MOT and sell it on or sell it for parts.
OP JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
23 May 2009 /  #3
well that's what i thought myself, best check things 10 times before you make a purchase, not many honest people around these days...
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 May 2009 /  #4
Sadly not.

Sorry to hear your friends got ripped off. You might be able to try the "Small Claims Court". Not sure if it would cover this situation, but could be worth finding out about. It's probably a very long and drawn out process.

There is a bit more info here:

which.co.uk/advice/taking-a-dispute-to-the-small-claims-court/your-rights/index.jsp

For future reference, it's possible to get someone from the AA or the RAC to inspect a car before purchase and is a really good idea if you know little or nothing about cars yourself (and can't find a mate that does to go with you).

Not sure how much it is, but better to be safe than sorry.
benszymanski 8 | 465  
25 May 2009 /  #5
It's probably a very long and drawn out process.

Actually it's not. My Mum's taken people to the Small Claims Court twice and won, it's quite straight forward and not expensive.

But as terri has said they have no legal case anyway so this wouldn't help unfortunately....
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 May 2009 /  #6
I didn't read the info on the "Which?" website fully, but it seemed to mention something about people that bought cars that turned out to have faults and getting expert witnesses etc.
Harry  
25 May 2009 /  #7
Can they take the guy to court or call the police on him?

Unless they can prove that they specifically asked him about the faults and he lied (which will be very hard to do), they haven't got a chance of doing anything at all. Basically they are now stuck with it.
OP JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
26 May 2009 /  #8
thank you all, that guy decided he's gonna take the car back as he didn't realise just how bad the faults were, and my friends had proof they were there before the car was sold to them (they've seen a mechanic etc.). so it's all good.
Lir  
26 May 2009 /  #9
I bet the seller is a trader selling cars as if he is a private individual. That's probably the only reason he is refunding the money as he doesn't want any authorities involved.

You can always talk to the Trading Standards people on the phone to see if he is known to them.

Get your friend to make sure the owners details are transferred officially as soon as the car is sold back. Don't let the original seller do it for you. This could be a scam. Take care.
Michal - | 1,865  
6 Jun 2009 /  #10
nest people around these days...

Especially in Poland!!

Was there a newspaper advertisement from which the car was found? The might be a case under a goods descriptions act. If the car was very expensive it might be worth seeing and paying for a piece of solicitors time though as I say, this can be expensive. A Citizens Advice Center might be able to give advice though they are usually only 'middle men' and will give a list of local solicitors who deal in that sort of professional subject area. It is an offense to sell a car, which is not road worthy and if the car is dangerous, then the police could, would and should be interested and they can bring a prosecution though the penalty may be not much and it will not really help the people now stuck with a shoddy car.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
6 Jun 2009 /  #11
If they have got their money back they should consider themselves lucky and leave it at that...no point taking it any further really.....

For gods sake people , if you are buying a car , and you don,t know much about cars , take somebody with you that does , it could save you a whole lot of time and trouble....

Women are usually quite ready to admit that they don,t know about cars , and get a guy to go with them , but guys are very reluctant to admit that they don,t know about them , and will risk buying a heap of crap , rather than ask for advice... I suppose that knowing about cars is something that guys are supposed to be able to do , and its somehow not masculine to admit you don,t...

I am pretty good with cars and bikes , but if i was buying a computer i would certainly not do it without asking advice from somebody that knows more than i do...which is zero....!
Lir  
6 Jun 2009 /  #12
no point taking it any further really.....

I'm not too sure about that really and this is why i wrote the previous post.

There's far too many unscrupulous dealers selling dangerous cars to the unsuspecting public. They pretend to be private individuals and are selling death traps.

If no one bothers to report them , then they get the chance to sell an uroadworthy car to someone else.

What Justy mentioned sounds very much like a dealer < a private individual would not be giving money back I think ? >

Therefore, I would report him to the Trading Standards and hopefully someones life may be saved ?

Just a thought really.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
6 Jun 2009 /  #13
I would report him to the Trading Standards

Thats a good idea , when i said no point in taking it further i meant that there is no point trying to get any more money from the guy as some sort of compensation....but yes , if he is a dealer selling duff cars by all means report him....
Lir  
6 Jun 2009 /  #14
Thats a good idea ,

Thanks :)

i meant that there is no point trying to get any more money from the guy as some sort of compensation..

Think if he is a dealer he will just want to give him the money back and get rid of him asap with no fuss. So unscrupulous these dealers.

Did you get your new jeep btw ?

:)
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
6 Jun 2009 /  #15
I did indeed.....I did something even more silly , i bought the thing after seeing it on the internet , and got in delivered to my sisters in Scarborough UK without ever setting eyes on the beast.....

Luckily my instincts were ok , and after a few replacement parts and an oil change the thing drove from UK to my home in Poland without any problems....Havent managed to get the heater working yet tho , which is something that definatly needs poking before the Polish winter comes along.....
Lir  
6 Jun 2009 /  #16
Luckily my instincts were ok ,

Thats fortunate for you :)

from UK to my home in Poland

That's quite a long journey too !

which is something that definatly needs poking before the Polish winter comes along.....

True !

Good Luck with it .

:)
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
6 Jun 2009 /  #17
That's quite a long journey too

About 780 miles in total...but good roads all the way....
dnz 17 | 710  
7 Jun 2009 /  #18
Surely if you buy a car from a private person and its a dud your not entitled to anything as its your own stupidity? I always check or send someone to check anything before I buy it, WR I just did the same and parted with nearly 5k over ebay for my 7 series without checking, 5000 miles later its still going strong with no problems whatsover so I'm happy :) British Airways fleet cars FTW!

Anyway back on topic this just sounds like the usual case of a pole in the UK expecting something for nothing as usual and not realising that 100 pln doesn't get you a bentley in mint condition, Typical.....

Just out of interest what did they buy and what went wrong with it?

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