One of our clients sold a car which he correctly told the intending purchaser was a vehicle owned by him and his wife. The customer was interested and bought the vehicle with a receipt signed by them both acknowledging that it was a private sale.
A problem occurred and the customer sought to reject under the Consumer Rights Act. His rationale for making out that it was a business sale and not a private sale were:
1. The transaction was concluded on the seller’s garage premises (although the buyer happened to work a short distance away and was done there for mutual convenience)
2. The car was insured in the name of the garage (so that any employee could drive it if necessary)
3. He found a very old advert for that car for sale by that garage.
4. Trading Standards – we are told – confirmed that it was not a private sale.
In evidence the client was able to show the finance agreement that his wife had for the car, bank statements showing her making monthly repayments and paying off the finance at the time of the onward sale. These were clearly influential. The advertisement for the car predated the client’s wife becoming the registered keeper of it.
The court ruled that – not surprisingly in our opinion – that this was clearly a private sale and that the buyer knew of this before agreeing to buy it. The “buyer beware” rule applied and no damages could be awarded to the buyer/claimant.
Interestingly, the court also held that the failures within the vehicle were not present at the point of sale. The buyer had caused damage by allowing the car to be driven until it was devoid of fuel.