Auction buying – which game rules are you playing?

The Lawgistics rough guide to auctions is very simple.  If you buy from an auction you are governed by the terms and conditions in the small print of the auction but if you buy outside of the auction then it depends what terms you have agreed – before you buy – with the seller.  
 
The traditional motor auction houses exclude Sale of Goods rights (satisfactory quality/fitness for purpose etc) for dealers because the Unfair Contract Terms Act ‘UCTA’, allows them to do so and it satisfies a test of reasonableness.  
 
So the terms of sale are not implied but you are subject to the lengthy written terms and conditions and you are limited to the descriptions used on Auction Entry Forms or read out by the auctioneer.  
 
If the car is properly described but also a ‘bag of nails’ then you have little chance.  
 
The same applies for internet auctions business to business so be very wary of buying at a distance, through your PC.  It’s fraught with danger, unless you have some confidence in the seller and the descriptions.  
 
On the other hand, if you buy outside auction and not under ‘Trade Sale’ terms then you have the same Sale of Goods rights as a normal private customer.  
 
As a business to business sale, though the careful business seller will most likely restrict rights, as is allowed in such a transaction.

Published: 19 Mar 2012

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