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Purchase of van - false claims on advertisement

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Hi all


I purchased a Hot and cold sandwich van on a well known auction site for £5000.



During the auction, before I made any bids, I asked the seller if the fridge and oven onboard the van had been serviced.



He replied to my message and said they has been serviced very recently and all new parts had been fitted.

I bid on the van and won.


I then travelled to London to pay for and collect the van.

The seller showed me the oven and fridge working and stated that the oven

operated at a temperature of 70 degrees to keep the food warm.

The oven reached this temperature, the fridge was nice and cold,



after checking everything else with the vehicle I was happy with it and paid the money.

On the way home the oven temperature dropped to 33 degrees and struggled to kick in again.



I rang a specialist who stated that the burner in the oven heater along with other parts were probably worn.

I explained the seller had told me of the service but he advised me to let him have a look.



When he stripped the heater it was apparent it had not been serviced for a long period of time

as it was seized into place.

The oven burner had a date stamp on which was 4 years old.


It cost me £580 to have the parts replaced and the oven reached a temperature of 90 degrees

very fast after this which is the mean operating temperature of the oven.


So in summary

I asked the seller if it had been serviced before committing to buy,

he said it had,

it obviously had not.



Do I have any comeback on this being a private sale

and the seller falsely claiming work had been done when it hadn't.


I have asked for the seller to provide me with details of where it was serviced but he has refused.



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Yes you do have a comeback – and the exchange of messages which have occurred and presumably of which you have copies, would be more than adequate evidence that you asked the appropriate questions and you received these satisfactory, but incorrect replies.


You would need a written report from the engineer who carried out the inspection and fitted the new parts. It will help if you have kept any of the old parts for further inspection.


On that basis you should write the seller a letter of complaint and layout what has happened and what you have done about it and what you are looking for.


Frankly I wouldn't get involved in a protracted discussion. I would move to sending an LBA and then issuing a claim very quickly. I wouldn't bluff. If you're not prepared to go ahead with a claim then don't bother to threaten it.


There are a few complications. You need to make sure that if you get a satisfactory judgement you can reach the defendant in order to enforce the judgement and that he has got an asset worth that amount.


Also, you say that he is a private seller. If this is really the case then when you sue him, the case will be heard in his local court and this means that you will be obliged to travel there for each hearing – and they could be a couple of them.


However, you say that he is a private seller – but this is clearly a commercial/business vehicle and so it seems to me highly likely that he has been using it in the course of business in which case selling on would be part of his business – even if he had stopped using it. In that case, the case would be heard in your local court on the basis that you are a private buyer.


On the other hand, because you are buying this vehicle – presumably to start your own business venture, you also are trading as a business in which case you are both acting commercially and in that event, the usual rules as to the locality of the court would apply: the case is eventually heard in the court which is local to the defendant.

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Thanks for your replies.



No, at the time of purchase I didn't ask for proof of the oven service, it seemed to be working fine along with all the other equipment so just took his word for it, seems rather daft now but at the time all seemed ok.



I have a full printed receipt for the repairs carried out and have spoken to the dealer who is fully willing to provide a written report on his findings If necessary. I have the parts in my possession which were removed and they have date stamps on them from the manufacturer showing they are 4 yrs old.



I have written a letter to the seller outlining the facts and that I demand he pays the £580 to me for the repair. He did actually text me back this morning and again confirmed he had the oven serviced at a dealership. I then replied saying he would need to deal with a claim against them if he is not happy it was carried out as he was the customer of the dealer. I was his customer and will be pursuing him for my loss.



I have given him 7 days to pay the amount to me and advised him should he fail to do so I will commence small claims proceedings immediately.



I was aware of the court allocation being in the defendants favour. Hopefully it will be sorted before it gets to this.




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Why would it count as betterment...He told me the heater unit had just been serviced which would have cost him £580. It hadn't been serviced and has cost me £580. How is this betterment? It is the cost of what I had already expected to have been done. It wasnt a complete new heater, it was parts and labour for a normal routine heater service

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Well it sounds very positive that he has responded and that he has responded so quickly.


It sounds to me as if this could be somebody that you could work with.


I would suggest that if you want to move this along in the best possible way, that you maybe speak with him and offered to help him through to claim against the company which apparently serviced the other.


If you want you can let them know about this thread and give him a link to it. If he comes on here, then we can maybe help both of you.


It's in his interest because otherwise he is likely to suffer a loss against you were as if you pool your energy, you might be able to get your money from the people who seem to be really responsible – and both you and your seller will walk away happy.


I think a cooperation like this might be better than conflict.


I think the you could quite reasonably ask him for copies of whatever documents were provided by the servicing company.

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Has anyone considered that this is a commercial vehicle and therefore normal consumer regs will not apply even though it's a private sale????

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The seller has now changed his tune and has become quite abrupt. He says he has spoken to his solicitor and would have expected me to give him time to rectify this repair. As I have gone ahead and had the repair done and now trying to claim the cost from him he is refusing to cooperate. He then says as a gesture, without predjudice, he is willing to refund the full cost of the vehicle if I return it to him.



This I obviously don't want to do as I have spent £580 on repairs to the oven, a further £100 on repairs he failed to list on the auction description and also £200 on sign writing.



Anyone know my options now? I wrote to him last Monday giving him 7 days to pay the sum of £580 otherwise I would commence county court action. All I have heard back is the message he sent me today with above comments.




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I would say your next course of action is to write to him and give him 7 days to pay or you will claim damages for breach of contract.

Edited by Conniff
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The seller was written to last week and given 7 days to pay the money. This has now expired. He has contacted me by text message which I have copies of firstly saying he has spoken to his solicitor and the only thing he was willing to do was refund the money for the vehicle on its return.



I asked him yesterday if I could do that at which point he changed his mind and said no. He has also said he is not willing to pay for the repair. As a last ditch attempt to resolve the issue I proposed he paid half the money of the repair(£285) and I would bear the other half. He said he would consider it and let me know. He hasn't let me know and although I can tell he has read my messages he has chosen to ignore them and not repond.



I am now issuing a court summons without delay for the full amount plus costs today.

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As you have previously given him a chance, then you must go ahead with it. Not carrying through a threat is what gives them confidence that they can do it again with the next customer.

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Although the seller stated last week he was willing for me to return the vehicle for a full refund, he soon changed his mind when I took him up on it.

I then asked for a copy of the proof he said he is in possession of from having the oven serviced which he point blank refused to provide.

I have now completed county court forms, paid the fee and awaiting service by the court.

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Hold on, reading through the posts, as the OP has now had it sign written is this not now a commercial vehicle so normal rules don't apply?


Which "normal rules"?


The Consumer Rights Act won't apply to a business to business sale, but the Sale of Goods Act (and standard Contract law ; that the OP should be put in the position, as far as possible, that they would have been had the contract been correctly fulfilled) still apply.


So if the contract was for a van with a serviced oven, and the oven hadn't been serviced, the fact the sale was business to business doesn't mean the OP has no remedy.


Other things that change with the OP being a business:

Less able to rely on the terms of the unfair contracts act.

If it comes to court, it will likely be heard in the (business) defendants local county court, not the OP's local county court (where if the OP was a consumer the default would be their local)


So, yes, there are changes if the OP is acting in course of business, but it means a different set of "normal rules" rather than "no remedy" or "normal rules don't apply".

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  • 2 months later...

quick update.

I issued county court proceedings. Defendant submitted his defence saying he had evidence of the oven being serviced however failed to provide proof of this when requested four times by myself.

He was then sent a directions questionnaire which he failed to return. A general sanctions order was then issued giving him a further period to return the DQ which he failed to do.

As a result his defence has been struck out and a county court judgement for the full amount plus costs issued.

Getting payment is the only obstacle now!

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