I sold this little part ex…

legal updates

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

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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. 

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Related Legal Updates

Maintaining professionalism in customer disputes

Your emails may be presented to a judge for review to help decide on how you have handled the matter before the court’s involvement.

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.

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.

Customer reneges on agreed not distance sale

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

Consumer “Handcuffed” by Deduction for Use Settlement

Don’t sign any contract unless you are fully aware of its terms!

Inspecting part-exchange vehicles

It is always a good idea to keep a paper trail for any transaction, especially in situations where representations are being made by a consumer.

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