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zoe27

2nd hand car bought found to be unroadworthy

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Hi all,

 

I bought a car from a private seller last week, I found it on gumtree and called the guy advertising it. I asked him about the state of the car and he promised it was in good condition (also have a text from him saying he wouldn't sell a car if there was anything wrong with it). He said he was selling it for his neighbour.

 

I had checked the MOT history online and it had failed on the 16th May, but passed again on the 20th.

 

After speaking a lot with him, as the car was a 2 hour drive away, my parents decided to go and look at it. I couldn't go due to having to go back to Devon where I live to get physio following a no fault accident where my car was written off.

 

When my parents got there the car seemed fine, my dad test drove it, checked the engine and all seemed ok. After paying for the car (it was the guy who advertised it and the owners husband there) they started on the journey home.

 

By the time they got back the power steering on the car they bought (VW Polo 2005) had pretty much failed. It was extremely heavy and wasn't like it was upon inspection.

 

We have had the car tested and as on the failed MOT from the 16th May - the same problem of a leak from the steering rack was still there plus a long list of other things! The steering rack had been covered up with a bit of rubber, and the mechanic said that the rate it was leaking the sellers would have had to top up the steering fluid just before my dad test drove it.

 

Luckily my mum kept the V5C form so we have the previous owners address, and I have the sellers email. We have written them a letter asking for a refund under the Sales of Good Act. They have since text asking proof (which we have) and that they want our address, but I have asked consumer rights people on the phone and they said it is fine to deal with it through email - is this right? We have given them 14 days since the letter to resolve this and give us a refund.

 

I've also found that under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 72 it is a criminal offence to sell a car that is unroadworthy - and actually points out steering as a main point. Does anyone know if this would apply to a private sale? As it doesn't specify in the legislation.

 

Any other advice would be great. Thanks in advance.

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You say that you have given them 14 days to resolve the matter. What do you propose to do if the 14 days expires and nothing happens? Have you simply given a 14 day deadline without any plan in mind?

 

One of the important rules of challenging anybody is that if you give a deadline, then you must intend something to happen at the end of the deadline. That would normally be a County Court action. If you do not make that clear and if you are not prepared to go ahead with your threat, then it merely becomes a bluff and the result is that you lose any credibility.

 

Are you sure that the person selling the car is a private individual? Are you sure that this is not somebody who is doing a little bit of trading on the side? If it is, then this will help you enormously. I suggest that you start looking carefully to see if you can find any other vehicles being offered by this person. Also, you say that you have got the details of the neighbour. Who did you actually buy it from, the person who sold it to you, or the neighbour?

 

Have you contacted the neighbour about it? Which is the garage that gave it the new MOT? Have you been in contact with them?

It seems to me that they may have given it an MOT certificate either in a very negligent way or maybe even in a fraudulent way.

 

If you are dealing with a private seller, then although you may not be protected by the consumer rights legislation, you would certainly be protected in the ordinary law of contract. The only difficulty is that if you are dealing with a private seller, and if you bring a County Court action then the case will have to be heard in their court. If you are buying from a trader and you issue the claim, the case would be heard in your own local court and that would be very helpful for you.

 

I'm not familiar enough with the Road Traffic Act to be able to tell you about any offences that it creates, – maybe you will be kind enough to link to the section which you think is relevant. However, the problem will be getting somebody who is prepared to sit up and take notice. Certainly if this is a private seller who happens to have sold you and unroadworthy vehicle then I can't for a moment imagine that the police will be at all bothered to do anything about it.

 

Frankly I would reject the car right now. I would write the seller a clear letter saying that you consider that the car is not as described and also it is not roadworthy and that also you believe that the successful MOT certificate was not properly obtained and that you are proposing to involve that garage as well. I would write a similar letter to the garage and point out to them that they have passed a vehicle for its MOT when the fault for which it was fails on the 16th elsewhere still existed and that you are proposing to report them to trading standards. That will make them sit up and take notice.

 

I would top up the steering liquid and then I would drive the car back to the seller and leave it with him on his driveway. If the car is now registered in your name then I think it could cause you problems eventually if you simply left it on the roadway. You need to get it into the possession of the seller or the neighbour and make sure that you have passed the responsibility for it. When you drop it off, make sure that you have taken photographs of it so that nobody can later on say that it has been damaged by you.

 

I would make a very clear threat of legal action if the money was not returned within 14 days. You have said how much you paid for the vehicle but am quite sure that it comes well within the small claims limit of £10,000. Let the MOT garage know that you will be involving them in the small claim as well. The point is to stir up as much trouble and tension between the various parties as possible so that eventually they will see that it is an easy route to refund you your money. Point out them that if you're. Go to court you will be claiming 8% interest as well.

 

If you are not prepared to take any court action then don't make the threat. If you are prepared to take the court action then start swotting up about it. It's not very difficult. If you want to give yourself a head start, then you could think about spending a few quid on our new Consumer Survival Handbook – CSH – available at Amazon and this will give you some ideas about how to proceed. You should also be reading closely on all the experiences on this forum.

 

If you do some of your own spadework then you will find that there will be many people on this forum who are prepared to support you and to answer any further questions


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Hi Bankfodder,

 

Thanks so much for your reply.

We have already written them a letter refusing the car and asking for a refund. We are sending another one today with copies of the failed MOT we have just had done, highlighting the ongoing issues from the MOT of the 16th May. Yeah, we are looking out for any more adverts in the same area that could be them - I'd love to catch them out!! I hope they haven't done this before - or will do it again.

 

We are prepared to go to court and have told them this in the letter we are sending today, as they had claimed there were no advisories on MOT in the Gumtree advert - and there are so many on the failed MOT we've just had done! It unbelievably covers 2 pages.

 

Yes, we have contacted the neighbour - we don't have the address of the man that advertised it who we initially spoke to first, but I have his email address so sending the same letters to him that we're sending the owners to their home address.

We have also been in touch with the garage who passed it on the 20th May, and he wanted to know who sold us the car. My mum gave him the number of the seller. This resulted in the seller phoning my mum and being aggressive on the phone that she'd contacted the garage and to deal with him only. Since then he had threatened us with saying he has a solicitor.

 

I think we will call DVLA and explain what has happened, as it has failed an MOT, we are not going to be fixing the car. We haven't sent off the V5C form as we contacted craig (the seller, not owner) straight away the next morning telling him we wanted our money back (£1000). He hung up on the call that day and turned his phone off - we then got texts from the seller giving us the owners husbands phone number telling us to deal with them not him. The owners husband came back to us saying we were harassing him.

 

The car is still technically owned by them, but I have taxed it for a year on the day we bought it thinking that we would be keeping the vehicle. Not sure how to get that tax money back either!

 

Here is the link to the Road Traffic Act 1988 - legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/75

 

I think I have read in one of the threads on this site saying that it is also illegal to sell a car that isn't yours? We have at no point had any contact with the lady who owns the car, we are posting letters to her but it's only her husband who is replying.

 

Thanks again for your help, we will get the Consumer Survival Handbook soon if needed - hopefully not!!

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No it didn't say sold as seen. I luckily took a screenshot of the advert, and it says on the it is an excellent runner and in good condition. It also says the MOT has passed and no advisories. Also have the text from him confirming the car was in a good state.

 

Thanks

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My own opinion on the matter is that the vehicle has not been accurately described as to its condition. The fault was noticed on the same day. You have previous MOT advisory to support your claim, and the vehicle cannot be sold in an unroadworthy condition.

 

I would give the 14 day letter before action and immediately go with a civil claim for misrepresentation, but thats me. But you need to hold them to the time scales of that letter before action.

 

Also you stated you have had the car tested,, Keeep that garage report as you will more than likely need it to support any claim

Edited by obiter dictum

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Hi Obiter Dictum,

 

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the car failed on the issues that are still present - and there are about 15 other failures and advisories on the MOT we have just done. I'm so angry that they put my Dad in danger driving that car home! Could have been bad for him and other drivers on the road.

 

The first letter we sent we put they had 14 days to resolve the issue, this second letter sent today has clarified they have 12 days left before taking it to court, and taken BankFodders advice to inform them the garage will be involved and we'll take them to court. I've also sent them a print out of the Road Traffic Act.

 

It's a matter of time now as to what they reply. Really hope this doesn't go any further, don't need the stress after the car accident as well!

 

Thanks again.

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Don't start getting involved in things like misrepresentation et cetera. You need to keep it very simple. Just sue them for breach of contract. You don't need to do anything else.

 

When you get to court, show all the papers and the evidence to the judge – and the judge will soon understand what is going on. This will get you everything you need – including the road tax money which you paid.

 

Read our customer services guide and implement the advice there. Make sure that any further telephone conversations you have are recorded. Don't worry about threats of a solicitor. On the facts that you have given above and on the evidence which you say you have, your chances of success in court are better than 95%. The only thing that would be helpful would be to find that the seller was in fact a trader, which will allow you to have the case transferred to your local court which would make life much easier for you.

 

I wouldn't waste any time here. Not only that, I would sue the neighbour, seller, and also the MOT garage. You can already see that having contact with the MOT garage, they are putting pressure on the seller and everybody is getting very angry with each other. This is what you want.

 

Write a letter – make it clear that it is sent to all three parties and tell them that you are only interested in getting your money back but it is clear that there has been fraudulent practice and that you will let the County Court judge sort out exactly what has happened. Say also in the same letter that you will then send the judgement to whatever authorities are required to make an investigation of the practice of the garage because it is clear that the MOT was not properly awarded.

 

Give them 14 days and then you will act. In the meantime, return the car. This is essential. Do not be responsible for the car. Get rid of it as I have described above. You need to wash your hands of it. If it cost you anything to get it back to them then add that to your your bill – but do it now. This is absolutely essential. You do not want the car on your hands or your responsibility.

 

by the way, which garage is it?


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Hi,

Yes we are going to try and keep it simple. We're going to forward the letter to the garage too, further explaining the situation. It is Rob's Mot & Service station in Caerphilly.

 

The only problem with returning the car is that it is now recorded as failed MOT with the DVLA, and it reads on the DVLA website:

 

"You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition."

 

Although I see your point about being responsible for the car, I don't think we want to take the chance driving knowing all the problems - even if we do top up the steering fluid. We're also worried that if we did return it they would just refuse giving us the money back.

 

Thanks again

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You are quite right about not driving. Write to the three of them and tell them that you want the car taken away their expense and if they won't then you will organise the delivery of it and that you will recover the money from them in the County Court.

 

It's important to get rid of the car. It's important to assert yourself as much as possible so they realise that this is something which needs to be dealt with and not hidden from


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Yeah we have made it clear that we won't be driving the car and they will have to collect it by whatever means they please.

 

I've spoken to the DVLA this morning and explained the situation. Been told to write them a letter enclosing the V5C, stating I don't want to own the car, reasons why and asking for my tax money back. I've also written in the current milage of the car for proof in the future that we will not be using the vehicle.

 

Hopefully we will hear back from the owners today as they should receive the letter.

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I'm putting my money on this man being a trader. He says he wouldn't sell a car if there was anything wrong with it and then goes on to say he is selling it for his neighbour.

In that case, how does he know there is nothing wrong with it !

 

If you are going down the 'Breach of Contract' route, keep in mind that you can also add damages to that suit, should it come to that, so keep a record of every penny this has cost you from purchase date.

I also think it important that the MoT station is also included all the way.

 

If you follow what you are being guided on above, you won't go wrong.

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Hi,

 

Yeah, them being a trader seems possible, especially as they have reminded us it was a private sale and not trade! Makes me wonder why they would say that. Either way - they are so in the wrong by what they have done!

 

The garage called me yesterday and didn't seem phased by the letter explaining the situation. I did say he would be under investigation if it went further, but still didn't seem to understand why I told him. U to him if he wants to ignore it!

 

We have suspicions that the sellers may have links to this garage - there is no way this car would have passed its MOT with nothing on. The one we have just done had about 10 failures and 8 (i think) advisories.

 

Still waiting to hear from the sellers.

 

Thanks again for your help everyone!

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dodgy cowboy dealer so many about

 

 

well the garage should get shut down because how many vehicles have they sold that's dangerous on the road

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Hi everyone,

 

Still no word from the owners of the car. Do you think I should send another letter? They have until the 29th until the 14 days are up.

 

I'm not sure if they're ignoring us now or figuring out what to do after sending all the proof the car is faulty!

 

Thanks

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Have you got proof of tracking of them getting the letter if so don't send another and contact trading standards and ask should your next step to take is take them court after the 14days are up

 

If you didn't send by tracking then ask trading standards if there's a faster way to get it sorted and also you could email them but make sure you send from your email account so you got proof and most likely trading standards will say send a recorded letter

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Hi,

 

Yeah we have sent everything recorded, tracked and via email so we know they have received the letters.

 

I'll get in touch with trading standards today.

 

Thanks

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I have finally had a reply from the owner of the car who we never met:

 

You have prompted me to email you in response to mail being posted to my home address.

 

A vehicle, VW polo which I drove for quite some time without any problems, was sold by a male known to my husband as Craig...

I waited to sign the log book to transfer ownership but was informed the female would not return it after filling it in stating "this is how I always do it". (My mum took the log book as she didn't want themhaving my address.

I made contact with DVLA. Then informed them of the only details I had which was an email address, full name and identification of area lived in from the postal mark on the first letter forwarded by yourself at the request of my Husband.

The vehicle served me well and also the vehicle was driven to the location of the sale without any problems. Not sure I believe her here as the rate the steering fluid leaked in 2 hours when my dad drove it back was very quick. They drove at least an hour to meet them so it would have to have been topped up?

 

I was informed the buyer had checked and driven the vehicle and was happy to buy.

 

Your threats, sent in correspondence addressed to myself which I did not request,Her husband requested hard copies in the post. We included her name as she is the owner of the car in making contact with trading standards, police etc I will regard as Harassment, Alarm & Distress. This being a crime I will log a complaint with the police in your area for a warning to be issued should you persist in making contact in any way with myself or my husband from the date of this email.

 

As far as I am concerned your dispute, if any, is with Craig, the Garage who issued the MOT in May 2016, and Gumtree.

 

End of letter.

 

It seems she is passing the buck to the seller, who is her friend....but it's her car?

 

Not sure how to reply to this. As we have sent all the legal documents of a new MOT stating the car is unroadworthy? Also we were told she was a policewoman.....but we have been told by the police to go to CAB and they told us to send them the letters. Utterly confused.

 

Don't need this stress after being in a car accident as well!

 

Any advice would be really appreciated.

Edited by zoe27

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You reply repeating that the car was sold, contrary to regulation, in an unroadworthy condition. You also say that you require a full refund of all monies paid including the cost to find out it was unroadworthy.

You give them 14 days to comply and say that at the end of the 14 days if the funds haven't been repaid, you will without any further notice issue a court summons and you will name both the owner and the seller in that claim.

 

Don't fall for the harassment rubbish, they are just tying to pass the buck and worry you so you just accept how things have gone and go no further.

 

Make all correspondence by recorded or special delivery and any phone call on a landline or mobile where the conversation can be recorded.

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Thanks Coniff.

 

We have already given 14 days from the date of our first letter (gave them until the 29th), so I imagine it will be best to stick to that? Am sending another letter stating what will happen again.

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because your a women they think they can bully you to walk away so if I was you just take it to court and it be there fault that they will end up with a big bill aswell as refunding what you paid and when it goes to court they will most likely lie saying they didn't get the letter but soon as you show the receipt they got it well there face will drop and probly make other excuses

 

 

while you pay small court claim I wouldn't warn them with a letter because they would get prepared so I would drop them init without warning

 

 

also if you decide to get a solicitor they would after pay the cost after you win but I doubt you need one soon as you provide evidence

 

 

but if you win don't accept any monthly payments because they will take the **** also if they don't pay anything when you win just take it to high court that will take there assets to pay what they owe

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Yes, I imagine they are going to come up with any excuse - but I'm pretty sure we have enough evidence that they are dodgy...and the car!

 

I just realised I have a text from the seller saying he will give us a full refund if there was anything wrong. Will this work in our favour at all if it does get to court?

Edited by zoe27

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not sure about the text but just keep it incase you can use for evidence

 

 

but the guy or she must be dim if hes not listened that its faulty and shouldn't be on the road clearly they don't want the car back and they would of know it shouldn't of been put on the road but they only bothered about is money in there pocket

 

 

and I think hes going to try everything to avoid paying the cost to repair or refund for the car

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Yes, I imagine they are going to come up with any excuse - but I'm pretty sure we have enough evidence that they are dodgy...and the car!

 

I just realised I have a text from the seller saying he will give us a full refund if there was anything wrong. Will this work in our favour at all if it does get to court?

 

So what have you decided as the way forward ??

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We are going to put in a claim via claim money online gov website. Only problem we have is that technically there are 3 people involved (seller, owner and owners husband), and you can only claim against 2 people.

 

We also don't have an address for the seller. We have emailed them and asked for it but I doubt they will give it to us.

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