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Private sale issue

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Hi there. This is my first post so please bare with me. 


I bought a van from a private sale yesterday and got 15 mile down the road and started to notice issues. The van was a 2010 vw crafter in which generally are very good engines.


The original description of the vehicle claimed new filters flywheel turbo etc the whole shebang. It also claimed and I quote 'drives perfect no fault at all'


i asked the seller before purchasing through messages is there any advisories on the last MOT in which he replied no just a light issue which was fixed. I then managed to get the van home and realised it was in limp mode (no more than 2500rpm or 48mph).


I called the seller straight away and he claimed he was on his way to London. He then proceeded to tell me he would be there for 2 days and told me to take it to a garage an get it fixed and he will front the bill. I told him no countless times and I was to bring the van back but he persisted he was in London and couldn't pick it up or wouldn't be at home. I then spoke with him again and told him I didnt want the van.


The morning after I headed off to work and spoke with the seller (who by the way has multiple Van's for sale but claims he isnt a trader) and I had a phone call from my friend who has a shop he had done a check on it and it was category N write off which he never told me about (private sales I know dont have to declare it).


I called the seller and told him to come and pick up the van In which he then denied me a refund and told me to just get it fixed and he would cover the costs as it would only be '80 quid or so'.


I have contacted trading standards as I have proof of several things now they are as follows:

Forged service history book written in the same pen as my payment receipt.. 

false documents claiming it had a fresh engine put in december time..

proof he is a trader of vehicles..

proof he lied about he listing..

proof he has sold it under false pretences..

proof I spoke with him 10 minutes after leaving his house to discuss the issues.. 


So not only telling me it runs and drives perfect with no faults he lied about the work done on it provided me an invoice from a company that didnt exist. he is also using fake stamps of legit companies for his fake service books. These companies I have contacted and am awaiting response.


I have since done more checks and the last MOT had 260,000 miles on the clock it now only.has 160,000 on the clock. It apparently was also serviced 10 days before I bought it and it is now flashing up the service light. Also the lights he said were an advisory on the MOT which were meant to of been fixed do not work at all.


Do I have a leg to stand on here? I have proof of everything all the conversations, the listing, the damage, the descriptions etc. I also have a picture of the v5 he sent off which wasnt in his name.


I've gone through the past MOTs since the beginning and checked the mileage with the service book and it's all wrong. it proves he lied with that.


Should I take it to a garage to get all these faults on paper or do I have enough to get a full refund on the van?


I'm trying to run my 3 businesses but also worried about losing a sum of money I cant afford to lose and be stuck with a van that doesn't even start anymore.


Somebody please help trading standards have been contacted and I have produced him with a letter


I'm awaiting its delivery but all he keeps saying to me is 'sold as seen' it says it on your receipt. is he right or do I have a chance?


Also to add to this story the brakes he said has all just been changed in which they haven't because they literally are non existent 

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Hello and welcome to CAG.


This isn't my area of expertise but people should be along over the course of the day to advise. Are you building a paper trail for this? That and also recording your calls could be important to back up your case.


Have a read of our customer service guide, it has helpful tips.


Best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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You haven't told us anything about the vehicle in terms of the make model mileage – price paid et cetera.

Also where was it advertised and what the advertisement say?

On the basis of what you have told us, you should have no problem asserting rights whether or not you are dealing with a trader or a private seller. However it would be helpful if it was a trader – and you say that it is and that you have evidence.

The problem is, whether they trade. Do they have any seizable assets? You obviously dealing with somebody who is going to be very slippery even if you get a court judgement against them.

Do you know where they live? Do they and their own property?

And I suppose it won't be much of a comfort to you but it may be instructive to others when I say that you have managed to acquire all this evidence – but what a shame you didn't go about this before you parted with your money rather than afterwards.

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Thank you for your responses.

In terms of the vehicle, it is a 2010 volkswagen crafter which I purchased for £2500. It has 160,000 miles on the clock. But for its last MOT had 260,000 miles on the clock. 

The reason I didnt check these bits and Bob's is due to the fact I have only bought new previous to this and being young I guess I was naive and trusting to a certain extent or should we say inexperienced in used vehicles.


He has several Van's listed and several more at his address also. I have his address yes, I'm unsure on ownership of said property.


I have pictures of all conversations between ourselves, I also now have written confirmation from a garage in regards to the forged service history I am awaiting a call off 2 others as I type this.

I am now losing an extreme amount of money per day due to not being able to work or get the money back and this is seriously affecting my health already.


Apologies if i have missed anything out there I've tried to answer as best I can.

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Quick update. 

I have managed to find the original listing which clearly states 'Drives perfect not one fault at all' which is completely wrong as it wont go over 45mph and the thing wont even start.


I have also contacted the garages in regards to the service history and 2 of them have said they want his details to pursue this further due to him using their stamps to make fraudulent claims.


The seller also according to trading standards is classed as a business trader due to having 4 vehicles currently listed as we speak. 


The van had the usual wear and tear which I accepted for example a light cover and a few dings here and there on the body work but absolutely nothing major and was sold to me as a 'perfect engine and gearbox'.


We test drove it around his street and it seemed fine until we hit the motorway then it hit limp mode. 


I am currently compiling all the evidence up against him and have spoken with citizens advice with regards to this situation and how I should contact the seller. 

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Make sure you get all the details – evidence which you find – in written form. That means take screenshots of everything and keep them safe.

Secondly, you say you know his address. Go to the land registry website and make search there. You will be up to find out if he is the owner. It will probably cost you 10 quid. If he is the owner of the property then it is worth taking some action. If you are not able to find out where he is based or where his assets are then I'm afraid that you may well have to let it go.

If he has definitely forged all the stamps then I would suggest that you contact the police and alert them to it. You can also alert trading standards but you won't be able to do it directly and of course they won't be interested. You will have to alert citizens advice and they will eventually communicated to trading standards – but nothing will be done to help you. Not only that, nothing will be done by the police to help you – and they may even try to fob you off and says a civil matter. Stand your ground but stay polite – but stand your ground and tell them that you will be writing to your MP about their refusal to help you.

The most important thing is to find out whether he owns an address or any other property.

Come back here

I see that you are in contact with citizens advice. The best one can say about them is that they are well-intentioned. Simply notify them of the problem but I suggest that you stick with us on the business of how to take action – but of course it's up to you what choice you want to make in the end.

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Little update as of today..


Letter has been sent to said 'seller'. I have since found out he has another listing up with a van with the same miles and everything has been done to it basically word for word almost the same description. 


I have also spoke to action fraud today with regards to the case and they feel I have enough evidence against him to be able to put it to the NFIB which hopefully in turn will lead to a police investigation. I have passed on details also to the garages so they themselves can make claims against him which correct me if I'm wrong with strengthen my case with the fraud squad. 


Thank you for your time and advice, I will continue to update as we go along. I have done a detailed description  with all pictures and linked videos on a file and will be ready to present it at any moment I get.


Citizens advice have decided that I should pursue the claim as I have proof he is a trader of vehicles due to the amount of listings. I have today give him several chances to rectify this issue and I will leave it at that. He has chosen not to do this so i have no other option other than to go full steam ahead with it. 


In answer to your question regarding his ownership he is so brazen about this I have a feeling he will continue to do what he is doing so in time there will be items for me to collect to recover the debt. The van as it stands is worth probably £1000 at best. The fraud team also said they would want to see proof of the engine change as if he has 'clocked' it then he will not have a leg to stand on.

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I'm sorry but I would still advise caution and I would want to be certain about the possibility of enforcement. I still think that you need to check out the ownership or otherwise of the address he is using. I wouldn't jump into this if I were you. The guy might be brazen because he knows that he can't be touched even if there is a judgement


I'm afraid that citizens advice are not normally very practical and they don't think these things through. the police would only be interested in a conviction and that wouldn't guarantee you getting your money back.

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So what do you advise I do? I refuse to let it drop and if he gets convicted I'd happily let the money drop. This guy is going to keep doing it more and more if he gets away with it. 

I haven't slept properly for 2 days now as this has put my business and my whole livelihood in jeopardy, I would expect the police and trading standards to serve the public and protect them but I guess sometimes it's better to try and sort it yourself it seems

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I agree with Bankfodder , best to check the address etc. This ‘dealer’ is probably doing this because he knows that he can’t be touched. He might already have 10 CCJ’s against his name which can’t be enforced because he has no fixed abode / assets. Lives his life in cash etc.


One thing though always, always always do an online MOT history check on Gov.uk before you buy a vehicle , it’s totally free and takes seconds. You can see all it’s MOT’s, failures and mileages since 2005

I’ve learnt the hard way too. I’ve been had so bad on used cars before it makes me cringe just to think about it. Much as it is painful it’s probably best to put it down to experience.

We could do with some help from you.



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If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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I suggest that you go about this very carefully. I'm suggesting that you think it through. I can see that you are very angry – and you are right to be – but if you end up bringing a legal action against him and find that you are unable to enforce any judgement, then essentially you will have achieved nothing. You will have a judgement against him – but it may well be that it won't be the first and that he is not bothered anyway. You will have expended time and money which you will be unable to recuperate. This is just a possible result – but in my view, based on what you say, it wouldn't be a surprising result. Would your anger and your financial position be any better if what I'm suggesting became the actual result?

Have you checked out his ownership of the property? This is a very important first step in my view. I don't get the impression that you have done this. Why not?

Also, I realise that you haven't told us anything about this person. Where are the cars advertised? Please link us to those advertisements. Who is the dealer? What is his address?

I'm certainly not saying that you should give up, but you should check and doublecheck your situation. Research your information so that if you do decide to go ahead, then you can really hurt him


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Quick update.. 

I have tried on both laptop and phone to do the land registry to find out who owns the property to no avail as it wont let me log into an account for whatever reason. 

So about the seller..

Van's are advertised both through gumtree and facebook.. links to follow.

His name is john sminth & also cristian moricz I'm unsure as to which one is his real name if any. 

If im allowed to post him home address on here then i am willing to? 

In what way should I double check my situation?


He has several Van's advertised which also are on the property. 


In all honesty he is being so brazen I personally think due to the fact he has pointed out well over 50 times it says on the bottom of the receipt 'sold as seen' i dont think he understands the fraudulent side of it all and the laws behind this. 

I have sent my letter off anyway and given him 7 days so now just wait to see how this plans out.

If you have anymore advice that would be great.


Also it's been put into a garage today and I'm looking at £4-5000 for a fix so it's basically just worth scrap. 

It has 32 engine codes showing up yet only 2 codes showed on the dash and 14 MOT failure repairs needed with 5 advisories I think it was.

Major proof in a court of law but I guess even those are pointless these days to these slime balls.

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I have no idea why you haven't been able to access the land registry web check service. In fact somebody on this thread 

did it a couple of days ago without any problem and reported back that it only costs three quid. I thought it was more.

I think checking his address is an essential step.

You say that you don't think he understands the laws of are all of this. I don't think that's the point. The point is that the people who buy vehicles from him and get ripped off don't understand what their rights are and they aren't lucky enough to find this forum

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