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Sold car privately - broke down on way home

(28 Posts)
MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:14:19

Apparently. And needs new clutch at £1k. Feel v bad for the buyer if it's true, but sold the car in good faith - genuinely had no signs that the clutch might go (like gears slipping). He is frothing at the mouth (unsurprisingly) and talking about legal action - but there's nothing he could do in that sense is there? Caveat emptor? (I am a lawyer but this is not my area shock)

And this time yesterday, all I was worried about was whether it would be ok to accept a bank transfer (which, incidentally, went through fine as a fast payment as we have the same bank as the buyer).

FatalCabbage Sat 10-May-14 13:19:09

It's a known risk of buying privately, and why cautious buyers take a test drive and get a mechanic to have a look, and so on.

We bought a car privately that we discovered needed substantial (£1500+) work doing, and it was annoying. But we had no claim against the seller, and yes I do think caveat emptor applies.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Sat 10-May-14 13:19:17

Not sure really but I think I would want to see the car at the garage to confirm the issue first and then look for other quotes. Not sure what legal redress he has, probably not much but given he knows who you are and where you are not sure I would be comfortable just brushing him off.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:20:59

He did do a test drive. And I was driving the flipping thing myself until last week. Feel really bad and know I'd be fuming as the buyer. But also feel it's not out fault, and quite anxious about what he will do hmm.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:22:07

We checked with out local dealer, they said 700 for a new clutch, all parts, VAT etc. so £1k is a bit ott.

DandelionGilver Sat 10-May-14 13:24:18

The buyer has no legal redress whatsoever. In this case, it is buyer beware. I know this because the same thing happened to us when we sold a car. The guy took it for over half an hour test drive. Paid his money and took the car away. He broke down about an hour later. He threatened all sorts so DP went to see a solicitor who advised that it was not our responsibility. Cars sold privately are sold as seen.

So, in your position, you don't need to do anything. Do not feel guilted into offering any money or assistance whatsoever. If the buyer becomes a problem, go to see a solicitor. I think we paid £100 for the letter to our buyer and we never heard from him again.

FatalCabbage Sat 10-May-14 13:27:07

I think it would be unwise to say anything beyond "it was driving fine up until you took it away, as you know from the test drive. I appreciate how annoying it must be for you but it's really nothing to do with me". Getting into detail about garages admits the possibility of fault.

Are you in a big enough firm to have a colleague available for a firm answer on Monday? Would it be contracts?

Babbit Sat 10-May-14 13:27:28

You are a lawyer seeking legal advice on MN shock. Not my area either but within the knowledge of all qualified lawyers I would have thought. Sorry, don't mean to piss on your chips, just a bit surprised. Good luck with it. (Not liable for repairs btw).

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:29:43

That is good to know. I think the car would have cost about 1500 more at least if bought through a dealer - and then he would have had some warranty protection (I think it's 90 days minimum?) He has texted a couple of times, and isn't being too aggressive - hopefully it will stay that way...

skiesmylimit Sat 10-May-14 13:31:54

It is heartbreaking when you buy a car privately and it breaks pretty soon after though

Happened to me, bought a car, was on £800, I was 20 yo, worked hard to buy it myself and it broke, to the point it had to be scrapped. I didn't stand a chance against the seller though, that's what can happen when buying privately. So I admitted defeat and scrapped the car. And forgot about the seller. I knew a lawyer, who's advice was possibly small claims court but I don't really have much to stand on and I would lose out on more money taking them.

Op, it's not your fault if it was working fine when you sold it. He won't have a leg to stand on, it's not nice no but you can't predict when a car will break. (Unless it's had symptoms)

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:32:25

I know Babbitt shock - just feeling a bit panicky and anxious and after some reassurance. Long time since I've ebb had to think about the phrase caveat emptor.

RedSoloCup Sat 10-May-14 13:32:34

He's out of order even trying, we nearly always buy privately and just sort any little problems ourself (one had three slow punctures lol) as you buy privately and you take those risks....

Chottie Sat 10-May-14 13:33:11

We had the same thing happen to us. We asked for proof that it had happened and that the repair had been done and agreed to pay 50% of the cost. We did it as a goodwill gesture, we had sold the car in good faith and the buyer had bought it in good faith.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:33:27

How did that 'ebb' get in there?

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 10-May-14 13:34:40

I'd be happy to consider a goodwill gesture along those lines Chottie. DH talking to him later.

skiesmylimit Sat 10-May-14 19:41:13

How did the talk go op?

Is there any chance that he's bullshitting?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Sat 10-May-14 20:01:00

I'd offer half of the lower quote you got from your garage. I know it's not your fault but if you had kept it a few more days you would have been paying the whole cost of a new clutch.

SistersOfPercy Sat 10-May-14 20:01:05

Something similar happened to my DS, only he was the one left with the knackered car after a botched head gasket job.
We sought legal advice and a lot hinged on the car advert. Because the car had been described as an 'excellent runner with no problems' we had a case to take him to court under the misrepresentation act 1967 because the car didn't match the description in the advert. Even though we had viewed the car it didn't make any difference and caveat emptor was pretty much redundant in that case.

In the end we weighed up our options, the seller was a teenager living with parents so a small claim would have been a hollow victory as there was no way to get money from him. We sold the car on (honestly) and lost £400.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 11-May-14 09:46:33

I don't think he's bullshitting, unfortunately hmm. He has bought parts (seen pic of invoice and receipt) and it's in the garage being fixed. We are paying half of all costs, and he is happy with that, as are we.

I don't think he would have had a case for misrepresentation - we didn't really talk about whether it was a good runner etc. - but it was, nevertheless, and we were genuinely shocked that the clutch went so suddenly. We'd been driving it ourselves until a week ago. Still feel a bit hmm about the whole thing, but hopefully all sorted now.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 11-May-14 09:52:14

Total costs around 600 rather than the 1k he originally mentioned.

I've just bought a car off my uncle. Within a few weeks it needed £1k of work despite the fact that he had it serviced and fully checked out. It was totally not his fault and he felt terrible but such is life.

BrannLove Sun 11-May-14 10:00:45

If its a private sale it will be significantly harder for him to take legal action. For even £1000 most solicitors would say it wasn't worth it. From my understanding (and don't just take my word from it) as its a private sale, he will have to prove that you knew of the fault, which will be hard of him to do. He will then probably see what he can get you to do by the threat of legal action. Don't give in to it. Unless you do feel sorry for him. But I just saying the law and the facts are on your side.

trixymalixy Sun 11-May-14 10:03:15

We sold our car to someone we know. A few months later the clutch pedal broke. We felt bad so we sorted it out.

A year later the same thing happened and she wanted us to sort it out again!!

I don't think you are legally liable, but I would probably give him some of the cost as a goodwill gesture, but I'm a sucker.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 11-May-14 10:05:27

I know, it just didn't feel right relying on the strict legal position in this case - I would have been so angry and upset if it happened to me (even though those are the risks of buying privately etc.), so didn't want to leave him high and dry. Also, as someone else said, if we'd kept the car a week longer, we'd have had to replace the clutch ourselves - it could even have gone on the test drive.

There is still a small chance that this is not genuine, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to for 300-odd quid, so think it probably is, unfortunately.

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