Home > FAQs > Bought a Car from the Personal Ads: What Are My Rights?

Bought a Car from the Personal Ads: What Are My Rights?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 29 Dec 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Goods Seller Description Consumer

“I bought a new car from the ‘for sale’ section in the back of our local weekly newspaper, last week. It was described as a 2001 Ford Ka, with full service history, and it was a really good price so I bought it after taking it for a test drive.

“The seller said he couldn’t find the service history, although it did have one, and promised that he’d send it on to me once I’d bought the car.

"It was fine for the first few days, although I did notice a funny clicking noise, but thought nothing of it. Anyway, it got worse, and then I took it to a garage to see what the problem was, and it turned out to be a problem with the front wheel shaft which is going to cost me a lot to get fixed.

“Can I ask for some money from the seller? After all, the Sale of Goods Act says goods must be of satisfactory quality.”

Advice

There are two issues here, one is that the car is faulty, and one is that you haven’t had the service history. Ironically, although the problems with the front shaft are causing you the most stress, it’s the fact that you haven’t got the service history that might be helpful.

Legally, the Sale and Supply of Goods Act only covers sales made in the course of a business, so if you buy anything from a private seller, you are unlikely to be able to get any redress if there are problems with the goods.

If the car had been unsafe, the seller might have committed an offence under the Consumer Protection Act, but although there would have been an offence committed, that in itself wouldn’t get you anywhere when it comes to getting money back from the seller. Even bought privately, a car must be fit to use on the road. Unfortunately, you would need to prove that it wasn’t, when you bought it.

Goods Must Fit Their Description

You may have some comeback with the seller of this car if you still don’t have the full service history, and if you still have the advertisement claiming to be able to supply one. The reason for this is that the Trade Descriptions Act applies to private sales as well as business, and it states that any goods that you buy should fit any description that has been made of them.

In your case, you were told that a full service history was available, and so the seller will be in breach of contract if they cannot provide you with it. If so, you’re entitled to go back to them and ask for a refund of what you paid, or some form of compensation – maybe in the form of a contribution towards the cost of having the front shaft replaced.

What You Need to Do

I’d suggest that you approach the seller amicably, and explain what happened. They may not have known about the condition of the car, and could be very willing to help. If things don’t work out, point out that you do know your legal rights when goods don't fit their description under consumer law, and that you’ll be putting something in writing.

Of course, if the service history then mysteriously turns up, you don’t have a lot of comeback at all, unless you can prove that the car wasn’t fit to drive when you bought it, and that could cost you as much, if not more, than the repairs do.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I have recently purchased a vehicle from a trader, who had just had the vehicle serviced, but did not provide me with a full copy of the service invoice that I would have liked in order to maintain the service history. I know where the vehicle was serviced, is it ok for me to ring the garage and explain I am the new owner and request for them to send me the invoice? I do not need to know the previous owners personal detail.
Paul - 29-Dec-20 @ 10:03 PM
BMW M3 Private sale- Your Question:
I bought a BMW M3 series six weeks ago, from a private seller, and have had nothing but endless problems to fix and pay for. Though it has passed its MOT two garages have advised me to scrap it for parts. As the framework will cost towards £5000 to be rebuilt. The car itself cost me £6000. What are my rights regarding the unfair sale of this car? Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
As it was a private sale, the only redress you have is if the sales description was misleading. For example, if the advert said "excellent condition" etc that would clearly be false. As a buyer you have a duty to examine a vehicle before purchasing, but you will also be relying on the sales description to a certain extent, so you'll have to weigh up both of these elements before decide whether it's worth a court case.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 10-Feb-17 @ 12:39 PM
I bought a BMW M3 series six weeks ago, from a private seller, and have had nothing but endless problems to fix and pay for. Though it has passed its MOT two garages have advised me to scrap it for parts. As the framework will cost towards £5000 to be rebuilt. The car itself cost me £6000. What are my rights regarding the unfair sale of this car? Any advice would be appreciated.
BMW M3 Private sale - 8-Feb-17 @ 2:27 PM
I RECENTLY BOUGHT A VEHICLE FROM A PRIVATE BUYER LESS THAN 21 DAYS AGO AN KNW THE VEHICLE BREAKS DOUWN DO I HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO CLAIM.I PNLY DID UNDER 800 KMS SINCE I BOUGHT THE VEHICLE PLEASE ADVISE .THANKS
faizal - 5-Apr-14 @ 11:51 AM
i decided to change my gas& electric supplier to a british firm and I was informed that british gas was such a firm according to their personel so I decided to change then I found out it was foriegn owned so I contacted the company I was leaving and told them I had changed my mind and I wanted to stay with them they said it was ok they would deal with the matter. since then I have been told by british gas I am now there customer, most confusing what happens now?
winwillblue - 9-Dec-11 @ 7:34 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Sheena
    Re: When Appliances Go Wrong
    I bought a fridge freezer online ten months ago and yesterday the freezer broke a and all my food defrosted and wasted. The company…
    19 January 2021
  • Mum
    Re: What Are my Rights on a Faulty Television?
    Hello, I bought a Samsung TV 49 inch Argus store two years ago, I didn't buy insurance I don't know what to do…
    17 January 2021
  • Samsung tv
    Re: What Are my Rights on a Faulty Television?
    I bought a Samsung TV two in 2018 in November, it broke after three days, it slowly faded and the screen went…
    15 January 2021
  • Andy
    Re: Leasing A Car Explained
    I have leased Fiesta diesel supplied with fitted dual controls used as a Driving school car. I have had it from new, the lease was 36…
    15 January 2021
  • Junaki
    Re: Dealing With Cowboy Builders
    Stefan from Gumtree. A so called plasterer. He skimmed my living room ceiling without prepping it and after a week it cracked and…
    13 January 2021
  • Alif
    Re: Dealing With Cowboy Builders
    Any recommended solicitors to launche a case against rogue builder that did not complete the job? The bit he did was unsatisfactory.
    8 January 2021
  • Mamatiger24
    Re: Experience Voucher Expired: Can I Get a Refund?
    I was given a virgin experience voucher in dec 2019. I have been unable to use it due to the covid…
    8 January 2021
  • netter
    Re: Am I Entitled To A Refund?
    Bought tv online 29th nov and then picked up instore for christmas present didnt open to check tv. Opened after Christmas which was…
    7 January 2021
  • Ash
    Re: Loyalty Cards: What to Expect
    I received a receipt when filling up for fuel yesterday’s BP saying congratulations you’ve won 400,000 points = to £2,000 I’ve…
    6 January 2021
  • Dee
    Re: Dealing With Cowboy Builders
    Anyone out there with a park home...do not use smart park homes .skelmersdale...as they are cowboys...they are ripping elderly…
    4 January 2021