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Hi All, I was unlucky to have experienced car accident back in February (other driver liable) where my Audi A1 was written off and I'm going through physio for my whiplash.

 

In March I decided to purchase a used Audi A1 and found one on Autotrader via a private seller.

 

I still have the description of the vehicle which stated what the car came with and also that the car was in 'EXCELLENT CONDITION'.

 

My Dad went to check the vehicle, asked standard questions and took it on a test drive - all seemed fine and we made the transaction via a bank transfer. I received a bill of receipt signed by both parties with date, reg etc.

 

Within 24 hours of receiving the car, The EPC and engine management lights came up on the dashboard and judging by the noise the car was making it was clear it was misfiring. The car was booked into the Audi garage and they advised one of the cylinders was misfiring and it would cost £130 to fix then it should be fine. Within days the problem came back and again I took the car back into Audi. They called to say it would cost £1600 for work to be done to ascertain exactly what was going on (I'm no car expert but it involved removing the engine).

 

Anyway, at that stage I started to research online to find out what my legal rights were in terms of getting either a full refund from the seller OR have them take responsibility for the repairs. Under the consumer rights act 2015 I have no rights as the legislation applies only to traders AND we should have checked the car was fit for purpose.

 

I then found a piece of legislation called the Misrepresentation Act 1967 which states:

 

A misrepresentation is a statement of fact (not opinion) which is made by a seller (individual or trader) before a contract is made.

 

If you relied on that statement when deciding whether or not to go ahead with your purchase, and this then turns out to be wrong, you may be able to claim compensation.

 

There are three types of misrepresentation and your path to redress will depend upon whether the false statement was made fraudulently, negligently, or innocently.

 

I don't know which type of misrepresentation but I thought fraud as the seller stated the car was fine when she knew it wasn't.

 

The general remedy for misrepresentation is cancelling or unwinding the contract so that both parties are put back in the position they were in before they made the contract. Damages will also be available in some circumstances, either in addition to or as an alternative to unwinding the contract.

 

The challenge we have is that for misrepresentation in the advert (in my opinion) is that the seller stated the car was in 'excellent condition' (an opinion not a statement) when we now know that the seller knew MONTHS BEFORE she sold us the car that it was misfiring/lights coming on 'sporadically'. As she knew, I'd argue that she misrepresented the vehicle in the advert.

 

I have evidence from Audi stating the issues (in the cars computer system) were apparent from January and have been sporadic ever since.

 

Thus far we have emailed the seller with the original quote and diagnostic from Audi requesting she cover the costs of repair but no reply so far.

 

I'm guessing we can take this to small claims but of course if I can use the Misrepresentation Act I'd try that first (writing to the seller including all the evidence I have) in the hope she'll cough up the money to rescind the contract (as the law states) or have her cover the costs of repair.

 

I am incredibly saddened that a woman who knew I was in a serious car accident and undergoing physio would blatantly omit information when she must have known (dashboard warning lights and noise of engine).

 

Please can anyone advise or share their experiences?

 

Many thanks in advance

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Sorry, I meant to say that a misrepresentation by way of 'opinion' can be deemed statement so long as the seller knew they were making a false claim 'excellent condition', when she knew it was far from that, to induce the buyer into purchasing.

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Hi Nabey,

 

Sorry to hear of your experience. I have just had a similar experience. I was in a car accident in July last year, (still recovering from injuries), and bought a 2nd hand car from a private seller on Gumtree the following August.

 

If you want to read the full thread it is called "2nd hand car bought found to be unroadworthy". But I'll explain briefly what happened.

 

On the same day that the car was bought the steering failed after less than an hour, becoming heavy and unpredictable. To cut a long story short, I could prove by having another MOT done that the same steering fault was present on a MOT done a few months before the sale. They didn't have a receipt or know who 'fixed' it. I asked for my money back but the owners refused, even after sending proof. They repeatedly told me I have less and no rights with it being a private sale, PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO THE SELLER IF THEY SAY THIS!! They also threatened me with reporting me to the police for harrassing them - they literally tried everything they could to scare me off.

 

It ended up going to court and the Judge told the defendants that it is not their place to decide the law. I had factual evidence the car was faulty and misrepresented. These facts won the case and I am getting my money back.

 

If you have factual evidence then you have nothing to worry about if it does go to court, because the Judge will only consider this type of evidence. Definitely try to resolve it with the seller, but don't be put off by them if they don't cooperate with you.

 

CAB are really helpful too, so they may be worth speaking too for extra guidance.

 

People can be really nasty, I'm sorry she sold you that car after whats happened. The seller of mine knew I was in an accident too, and even assured me that the owner (his neighbour) as a police woman, and that there was nothing wrong with it.

 

Really hope your injuries improve soon.

 

Best Wishes.

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Hi Zoe, Thank you so much for replying, I read your story just before typing mine out and I can completely emphasize with you.

 

Please can I ask, did you go through small claims court in the end? Also, how did they say the car was misrepresented (fraud, negligence or innocence?) was it from the original advert tied in with the evidence you had?

 

I'm sorry to ask so many questions but we're at a loose end a the moment and unsure as to how best proceed with the seller in terms of writing to her again.

 

May I also ask, the money you're getting back, is that just the amount you paid originally or have they also awarded compensatory damages?

 

Thank you so much. I'm sorry you went through what you did but I'm glad I'm not going through this completely alone.

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Hi, no worries :)

 

Yeah it was through small claims. The Judge actually came to that agreement on top of the steering being faulty himself. This was through the wording on the advert that said something like "very clean car inside and out and excellent runner" as well as texts from the seller again confirming the car was in good condition. The judge compared this to the new MOT I had dont 2 days after the sale, and a picture of a huge tear in the drivers seat that was never mentioned in the ad or in conversations before viewing the car. The MOT had something like 10 failures and 15 advisories on it, and said was a blatant lie that the car was indeed clean and a good runner based on that. I also had a letter from the MOT garage and another garage as back up.

 

I think be clear and concise with the seller, try not to let your feelings about the situation get in the way, and stick to the facts. Be nice, and explain you'd rather solve this through cooperation and not conflict - but you will take it further if you need to. CAB advised me to give them 14 days to resolve the issue before putting in a money claim.

 

Yes, I got the cost of the car back, court fees and the cost of getting the car MOT'd again. It actually became more about the principle in the end, of course the money is also nice!

 

Although I can offer advice through my experience and knowledge through my case, I would still say to speak to Citizens Advice as they will know a bit more about the law :)

 

Sounds like you have a good case though if you have evidence from Audi that the issues were there before the time of sale...kind of proves she knew all about them!!

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Thank you Zoe, this is really helpful. I'm going to write to her tonight and send it off with the evidence in the morning and as you say give her 14 days to come back. Congratulations on winning your case - it's those kind of victories in life we shouldnt have to experience but at least justice was done :)

Edited by nabey
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Thanks, it was such a relief to get a good result. I kind of knew I would as I had cold hard proof!! It's worth it to make people realise it's not fair or safe.

 

Good luck for now, let us know how it goes :)

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Thank you for your detailed story.

 

First of all, you don't need to worry about the Misrepresentation Act. It's much simpler than that. You simply sue on a breach of contract. Clearly it was a term of the contract that the car was in excellent condition and particularly it was a term of the contract that the fault which you discovered was not there at all. Because it was there, that amounts to a breach of the contract.

 

This will be the easiest way to go. You don't need to get bogged down in the tort of misrepresentation. Apart from anything else, tort damages simply put you back into the position that you would have been if the tortious incident had not occurred. Contractual damages will put you into your post contract position and this could be advantageous to you because it means that not only could you get a refund of the money you paid for it in fact you should be able to claim for the value of a replacement vehicle – which might turn out to be a little bit more than you paid. However, these are technicalities and you don't need to worry about than for the moment.

 

An important thing to do is to get the evidence. This means that you must contact Audi again and you must ask them for a printout or some other written evidence that shows that the computer system demonstrates that the fault was there from such and such a date – and also the Audi specialist's opinion that any driver would have been aware of this problem.

 

Additionally, you need to make sure that you got all the details of the person who sold you the vehicle. It's one thing to be able to sue somebody and get a judgement. However, it doesn't mean that you automatically get your money. You need to be sure that you know where the seller lives or works and that they have some assets against which you can levy judgement.

 

It's a shame that you paid this by direct bank transfer. If you had pay by credit card then you would have made a claim against the credit card company under section 75 of the consumer credit act and that would have assured your position.

 

Here is a lesson for the future: never pay by cash, never pay by bank transfer, – always pay by credit card.

 

Bring a small claim in the County Court is really quite straightforward. It's a good learning exercise and once you done it once and you can set set your sights on suing anyone else to get in your way. Great fun.

 

The important thing about being a small claim is that you make sure that your have read around the subject a bit and you understand the steps. There's lots of information on this forum and we even have a Kindle book available on Amazon – the consumer survival guide, if you want.

 

 

I don't think you have told us the price you paid for the car. This would be useful to know. The eventual value of your claim – whether it be for a replacement/refund or a repair, will affect the fees which will incur bringing a County Court claim. Of course, assuming that you win – and that seems very likely – you will get these back.

 

Also, you need to keep a complete track of all your losses/expenses that you incur. You will sue for all of these. Also, it would be worth getting a bit of evidence as to the true value of the car.

 

Now what should you sue for? You could possibly sue for a refund on the vehicle – plus losses because it sounds to me as if this is a pretty substantial breach of contract which effectively strikes at the heart of the contract and has robbed you of essentially the entire benefit that you are expected to receive from it.

 

Alternatively, you could decide that you like car and that if it was properly repaired that you would be happy to keep it. In that case you should get at least a couple of independent diagnoses as to exactly what the problem is and what it will cost to repair the car properly.These reports must be done in writing.

 

This latter option might be an easier option and it would also mean that you would end up with a car maybe in better condition than the one you expected to buy.

 

Whatever you decide, you will have to write to the seller and give her 14 days to resolve the problem. If you decide to have the car repaired then you should send her copies of the two quotes and tell her that you will accept settlement for the lower one – also you can ask to cover any losses that you have suffered – or you might decide to waive these as part of a negotiating hand in order to save some hassle later. It's always easier to try and get an agreement rather than have to litigate.

 

Don't forget, that if you decide to bring a small claim, it is unlikely to be resolved for at least 4 to 6 months. This means that you could be without a vehicle and more seriously, you could be left with your existing vehicle on your hands – not working – but requiring insurance et cetera or safe storing. It's a difficult position to be in.

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I now see that you are proposing to write to her tonight.

 

I would hold your horses until you have explained to us exactly what you're going to be saying. This means that you have to have a definite plan in mind. There's no point in writing some letter that is really not based on any solid plan of action and understanding of your own position in relation to her

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Hi BankFodder, Thank you so much for taking the time to email me. I feel pretty clear as to exactly what I will be writing in my letter (I'll work on it after sending this email).

 

I purchased the vehicle for £8000 and judging by the report and evidence received from Audi (I have digital and paper copies) it seems that delving in to ascertain a route cause and aim for repair might reveal additional underlying issues which we figure might give us even more heartache and stress in the future.

 

Im going to keep the details of the letter confidential at this point however rest assured I have a plan and will not fluff around with nonsensical detail.

 

I'll let you know how we get on.

 

Many thanks again!!!

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Hi All,

 

Just to give you an update. The letter via citizens advice which they have advised along with a solicitor that the seller breached the sale of goods act which can be used still in conjunction with a private sale. We now have 14 days to wait but the law looks to be on our side which still confuses me as all I keep reading online is 'buyer be ware' re private sale and the fault would be ours not the seller. I want to feel confident to push forward re small claims if the seller wont give me my money back. I am willing to fight for this for principle more than anything as in my head she fraudulently deceived me by stating the car is in 'excellent condition' when she knew it wasn't months before she sold it.

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