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Newbie: Car purchase - consumer advice

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Hello all,


I'm brand new here, been passed to the forum by a friend at work who mentioned it would be a good place to get some advice.


I'll try to be brief...


On Wednesday 11 Feb last week, I purchased a car from a dealer based in East Kent. The car was advertised on EBay, with all the company details.


Two things have happened since. I paid a £600 deposit for the car via Debit Card prior to picking it up. I visited the premises, was treated well, everything appeared on the surface totally above board.


On Thursday 12th I drove the car home from Whitstable in Kent to East Sussex. I then drove back to Whitstable and home again the following day (for my working commute). No problems until I got approximately 5 miles from home where the car broke down. No drive in any gear, inspection discoverers the drive-shaft has shattered.


I contact the seller to discuss, the salesman says on the phone he has no powers to make any decisions and only the owner of the business will respond, and this response will only be done via letter. Alarm bells start ringing.


I have been totally calm and pleasant on the phone, as the salesman was to me, no point aggravating the situation at this point.


I write a letter and post it to the owner at the business address via Special Delivery on Feb 13th.


I the discover that the car is also CAT C written off by insurance. This really worries me. I have a slight problem with this issue though. The original advert on EBay for the car on the front page doesn't make any mention of the CAT C anywhere (I have taken screenshots and printed the advert off). However, on the EBay advert, there is a link to click on called "About". If I click on this it makes in small text a generic statement of the following:

"Terms & Conditions

*Terms & Conditions. All payments including holding fees are non-refundable.

We make every effort to ensure all prices and vehicle details are correct. However, as these are used cars, the specification can sometimes differ from that displayed. Please satisfy yourself that a vehicle has a specific feature that’s important to you before purchasing – our staff will be more than happy to assist you.

Prices, offers and details of vehicles are subject to change without notification.

The vehicles offered for sale have been previously accident damaged and have been the subject of an insurance claim/s and categorisation/s at some point in its lifetime. Either; Category C-repairable total loss vehicle where the repair costs, including VAT exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value or Category D- repairable total loss vehicle where the repair costs, including VAT do not exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value. All cars where appropriate have been inspected independently by VOSA and have a VIC test completed to their satisfaction. Vehicles are offered with a new 12 month MOT when arriving into stock, therefore may not have a full MOT on purchase/collection.*Please see our full terms and conditions at the office.


I feel I may have made a fatal mistake in missing this statement.


However, I would really appreciate some advice on where I may stand as I feel the behavior of such an advert and the staff not making any attempt at all during face to face meeting to state what I am buying.


  • The advert doesn't mention in the primary text anything about the car being specifically CAT C
  • The only mention of CAT C/CAT D is in a generic message under the "About" section
  • The staff made no effort to ever mention anything about the car being CAT C
  • The car broke down on the way home - can I use this to return the vehicle for a refund?

Many thanks to anyone able to offer any help / advice.


Edited by citizenB
removed telephone number

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Hi and welcome to Consumer Action Group.


I have moved your thread to the correct forum, where I am sure someone will be able to help you. (purely and administrative move so you need do nothing)


I have also removed your telephone number from your post - this is a public forum :)

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Yes - you are protected by s.14 Sale of Goods Act in that it must be of satisfactory condition and clearly it is not.

At this early stage you are entitled to a full refund. This has nothing to do with the CAT C. It is merely about the condition of the car which is that it is not roadworthy.


Write a letter rejecting the car and seeking a refund.

Get ready to begin a county court claim within 7 days. Expect to win but also expect problems getting your money back.

Once you win you should have the case transferred up to the High Court for Enforcement by the HCEO


If you aren't prepared to take this kind of action then give it up as a less on to experience

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Have you posted your letter yet Harry ?

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hi there, yes, I sent it Special Delivery at the beginning of the week. Confirmed it has been signed for and delivered.

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