Customer reneges on agreed not distance sale

legal updates

Our member explained they do not offer a delivery service and do not engage in distance selling.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Lawgistics has always recommended you err on the side of caution when it comes to distance selling. 

If you advertise a delivery service or if a large proportion of your business is conducted by remote contact without customers visiting your premises, it is likely a court would consider you are operating an organised distance sales scheme, defined by s5 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 as follows:-

“……distance contract” means a contract concluded between a trader and a consumer under an organised distance sales or service-provision scheme without the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, with the exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication up to and including the time at which the contract is concluded;” 

If you are selling vehicles at a distance, as during the lockdown, you are required to provide notice of the right to cancel the contract in 14 days. 

One of our members was recently successful in a long-running case on the single issue of whether they operated an organised distance sales scheme or not. Our member, a boutique trader of sports cars, was asked to deliver a vehicle to a customer some distance away. Our member explained they do not offer a delivery service and do not engage in distance selling. The customer insisted that they worked in the industry, were fully aware of the rules, and had no intention of trying to argue this was a distance sale at any point in the future. It was explicitly agreed between our member and the customer that this was not a distance sale, but that the customer was a consumer and the CRA2015 would apply if the vehicle was faulty. Our member was clear and fair from the outset.

In an incredible about-face show, the customer emailed a week or so later to say they wished to return the vehicle and had a right to do so as it was a distance contract. They did not claim any fault with the car, they stated, and I quote: “I do not have to give a reason, by law I have 14 days from the date of delivery to reject this car.”

The customer even engaged the services of a so-called “heavyweight” London lawyer who wrote, amongst other arrogances: “..we recommend you acquaint yourselves with the Regulations properly, as you clearly have no idea of your obligations at present” and stated that our member’s responses were: “frankly quite bemusing”

Our member even made very reasonable offers to settle which the claimant refused as they wanted reimbursement of their considerable, yet it turns out completely wasted legal costs – a decision which, no doubt, they now bitterly regret. 

The court agreed our member had shown they do not operate an organised distance sales scheme and ruled that the claimant had to keep the vehicle, pay our member’s costs, and of course their own costs. This was an unsuccessful, time-consuming, and expensive frolic for the claimant and our member showed immense fortitude in sticking by their conviction throughout, despite the condescending and intimidatory communications from the customer’s lawyers about rising legal costs and eye-watering hourly rates. 

We are, of course, delighted that justice has prevailed, but our advice remains the same. It is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to deliveries – unless the contract has been agreed on your premises. 

HowdenCompetitive, comprehensive, quick

One of the largest independent specialist motor trade brokers in the UK. Our extensive history of supplying insurance to the motor trade means we understand your business needs. By partnering with a specialist insurance broker like us, you get exactly what you need to protect your business.

Polly DaviesLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Deposit and Fair Contractual Terms

Explore the intricacies of contract commitments and the bounds of consumer rights in our latest analysis, where a £3000 deposit dispute underscores the significance of clear terms and buyer responsibilities.

Assist your consumer… before it’s too late

If a consumer is ignored or refused assistance by you, and a repair is carried out, you will no longer be able to inspect the failed component.

What? You want me to pay after nearly 6 years?

After 5 years, 8 months, and 41,000 miles, there was a problem with the vehicle, and it ultimately required a new engine costing £4,600.

Consequential Losses

General stress and anxiety is not recoverable, otherwise everybody would claim it, similarly the time spent in dealing with a claim is generally not recoverable.

Car sold with a fault

Ensure the consumer is aware, understands, and most importantly, accepts the vehicle is subject to fault.

What you pay for is what you get

The consumer presented our member with the bill because they wrongly thought they had the right to do what they wanted.

Fast Track Claim Dismissed

The court commented that as a matter of common sense when purchasing a used item, a buyer has to accept the item is not going to be in the pristine state it would be in if purchased brand-new.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

Phone
01480 455500
Address

Vinpenta House
High Causeway
Whittlesey
Peterborough
PE7 1AE

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.