Internet Auctions / Trade Sales – Timing is everything

legal updates

There was a glowing description of the vehicle on the internet site but when our clients took delivery the engine immediately showed a serious fault

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One of our clients recently bought a successful claim against a large franchise dealer with our assistance, for selling a poor quality car via an internet auction site. 

The franchise dealer gave a glowing description of the vehicle on the internet site but when our clients took delivery the engine immediately showed a serious fault which would have proved an expensive repair.

The franchise dealer attempted to defend the claim on the basis of:

a) Terms and conditions on the internet auction site

b) It was a trade sale

The judge held that the terms and conditions on the site were limited to the contract between the buyer and the internet auctioneers and secondly the invoice presented by the franchise dealer seeking to classify the transactions as a trade sale was presented AFTER the two parties had entered the contract of sale/purchase.

As you legal eagles will know, if terms and conditions are supplied after the contract then they have no effect whatsoever.

Lawgistics Top Tip

The sale of vehicles via internet auction sites is rapidly increasing.  If you can win on the late presentation of the invoice to try to swing into play the ‘Trade Sale’ card (ie no protection for poor quality) then all well and good.  However, more than this be very inquisitive in an email before you buy and ask the seller searching questions about the car for sale.  Get the seller to disclose the service history?  Back check the garages that did the servicing.  Check the MOT history, online. Ask about faults, bodywork, accident damage.  Often dealers will arrange for someone else to collect the vehicle so why not get the seller to commit to take the vehicle back if you are not satisfied.  If the answers they have given to you are correct then why wouldn’t they?

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Dennis ChapmanIn remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015Read More by this author

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Defending proceedings issued relating to whether the lack of a CD player in a new car was an “upgrade” or not.

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.

Commission Disclosure Court Cases

The majority of the cases where court proceedings have been issued about commission disclosure are because our members have either ignored the correspondence or just decided not to engage with these fine upstanding companies.

Do NOT try to take away a consumer’s rights on an invoice

A Welsh Trading Standards department prosecuted a car dealer for “Furnishing a used car invoice to a consumer giving the impression that the consumer had less rights than they actually did.”

Misleading adverts results in £58,000 fine

The result should serve as a warning to all traders to ensure vehicles are accurately described.

Failure to deliver goods – Business to Business (B2B) sales

In these circumstances, our client as the buyer, will be covered under Sections 27-29 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (“SOGA”).

What’s that pain between your shoulders? It’s the Trading Standards’ knife in your back!

Trading Standards are meant to provide help and suggestions to ensure future compliance.

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