I sold this little part ex…


The simple truth is that if you are selling to a private customer the car you sell must be of satisfactory quality.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 3 minutes

This article is 12 years old.

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If there was £1 for every time the helpline hears those words we would be very rich.  Another opening phrase is ‘I let him have it with £500 discount’ or something similar. 

It is a very difficult market and there is a huge temptation to forget the liabilities a motor dealer takes on when he/she has the pleasure of selling another car.  The simple truth is that if you are selling to a private customer the car you sell must be of satisfactory quality.  The other truth is that a car is such a complex beast you do not know when the components are going to fail.  If you are not going to go out of business then you need to leave a sensible profit in the deal to cover these hidden problems that might arise and leave you with a wage.

Just because it is a part exchange car does not make it any different.  Just because you allow some money off does not make any difference.  Even if you sold it for £1 you would still face problems.  Nor can you use phrases like ‘sold as seen’, ‘sold as scrap’, ‘sold for spares and repairs’, ‘no warranties given or implied’, ‘sold with all known faults’ etc.  All such phrases are being used by you to take away the customers’ Sale of Goods rights.  They are useless and in fact are illegal and can lead to prosecution.

You do not have to sell or supply a written warranty with the cars you sell.  But the customers will always have Sale of Goods rights.  The only small glimmer of help which the Sale of Goods Act allows is that you can agree with a customer that there are specific faults on a car.  So, if an immobiliser or CD player or air conditioning or a seat runner etc is faulty then make a note on the invoice/order form and get the customer to sign agreement.  They can’t then come back and make a complaint about that particular fault.  Some motor dealers have the view that items like radios, CD players etc don’t attract Sale of Goods rights in the same way as the rest of the car.  They do!  If they go wrong then the customer can complain in just the same way.  Broadly speaking if anything on the car should work and doesn’t then the customer can complain.  Only if you know it is not working and you specify it as such can you get out of the complaint. 

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

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