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Bought van, later found out it was a Cat S vehicle but not mentioned in advert or by seller

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Hi guys,


New to this forum but wondered

if I could have some advice please.



Wednesday 12th May

My Dad saw an advert for a van on eBay.There was no mention of the vehicle being Cat S in the advert and if there had been he would not have been interested. Advert said to contact Xxx. Dad rang the number provided to get some details.


Spoke to Xxx and asked how long he had had the van and what it had been used for. He said he had had it about 3 months. Initially he had bought it for its colour, but then it had been used by a joiner who worked for him in his roofing business. They were finding the van too small so had bought a larger one, a Ford Transit Custom, and were now selling this one. Dad asked about service history and he said it had a full one but not by a main dealer. Asked if there was anything else he should know about and xxx said no.


Dad made arrangements to view the van at Xxx’s home when he finished work. He viewed the van around 3pm and it looked in good condition. He was taken for a drive by Xxx and had a short drive himself finding it to drive well.

He told Xxx that he was not too sure and would leave it for the time being.


Friday 14th May

Having thought about it, Dad decided he would like to buy the vans so sent Xxx a text asking if it was still available. Negotiations took place over text and agreed a price of £9,300 and Xxx would have it valeted and put ½ a tank of diesel in. Dad arranged to call that evening with £500 cash as a deposit. He called to Xxx’s house in the evening with the cash and received a signed receipt from him. Xxx said the van had gone through its MOT during the day with no problems and there were no advisories. It was booked in for a valet tomorrow (Sat) morning.


Saturday 15th May

Xxx sent Dad his bank details (account in the name of Xxx) and said he had just collected the van from the valeters. That evening I transferred the money on my Dad’s behalf. I firstly paid £100 by bank transfer to make sure it was going to the right place. Once Xxx had confirmed he received this, I followed up with the remaining balance of £8,700. Xxx said he would confirm when he had received the £8,700.


Xxx texted Dad the document reference number to tax the van. When he went on to the government website to check the MOT, he noticed that the vehicle had been declared SORN, but this had never been mentioned to him before.


Sunday, 16th May

Xxx confirmed the £8,700 was now showing in his account and arranged to drop the van off at Dad’s house at 2pm. He dropped the van off just before 2pm but Dad could see it had never been valeted and there was less than the ½ tank of fuel in it.


Thursday 20th May

Dad received the V5C document for the vehicle by post to find on the front of the document that the vehicle was marked as ‘CAT S’ and had been salvaged because of structural damage. This was the first he had heard of this and could not believe it. The MOT also had an advisory, in that the offside front suspension arm ball joint had slight play.


He called in with the van at the local Citroen main dealer to see if they could enlighten him on this structural damage repair, but unfortunately, they could not. They did say that the most he should have paid for a vehicle in its condition was £4,500 to £5,000 and that as it was if they could find anyone to take it in part exchange, he would only expect to get about £2,000 for it.


Dad was fuming and called over to see Xxx in the evening at approx. 6.45pm. When he arrived, Xxx and another man were about to leave the premises in a works van. When Dad approached the van, Xxx (who was in the passenger seat) wound his window down and Dad told him he would know why he was there as he had received the V5C document for the vehicle that morning and could not believe that it was a CAT S vehicle as it had not been mentioned in his advert or by him and it should have been. 


The driver, who turned out to be Xxx’s father, asked Dad to calm down a bit but he was very angry at what they had done. They both denied any knowledge of the CAT S and the father asked where it was show on the V5C document. Dad told them it was on the front of the V5C, and you could not miss it. They both still denied any knowledge of it and added that the father’s business partner had bought two of these vans and had no problems with them.


His father said that his sister had died a couple of days ago and his mother was very upset, so they had to get away to her. When Dad insisted he wanted something done about it, the father said due to my  Dad’s age (74) his son had been kind enough to deliver the van for him, but he did not feel the same about him being elderly and if he did not leave it and let them get away, he was quite happy to get out the cab and hit my Dad! These are not the actual words he used but that is what he meant. He then said “you do what you have to do” and they drove off.


About an hour after Dad got home, he received a text from Xxx saying that his father’s business partner was the one who had advertised the van. This is completely untrue. The eBay seller account attached to the advert is ‘Xxx’ (Xxx). It states ‘phone Xxx’ on the advert and display’s Xxx’s mobile number. Dad only conversed with Xxx during the sale, the money was transferred into Xxx’s bank account and it was him that provided a written and signed receipt of sale.


His text stated that the ‘business partner’ apparently knew of the damage but it was not a lot – bumper, headlight and paintwork and had been repaired when he bought it. We have since found out that the damage was £4,000 - £5,000 worth.


He also included a copy of an advert where it mentioned Cat S, but this is definitely not the advert that my Dad saw on eBay. He apologised for his father’s behaviour and said it was because he was upset with his sister passing away.


There has been no communication since.


Further to this, I have spent some time researching into Xxx. The image of the advert that Xxx sent is definitely not from eBay, it is from Facebook Marketplace. I have successfully managed to demonstrate that the seller profile is in fact Xxx, which is linked to his Facebook account.


I have also found many other vehicles that Xxx has advertised on his own Facebook profile and also on his eBay seller account, ‘Xxx’. There is no mention of CAT S on any of these adverts, but we have reports to show every single vehicle is either a CAT S, D or N. This man is definitely a trader and not a private seller as he would like people to believe.


My Dad has legal cover on his home insurance so I have approached them and provided all documentation. They seem to be taking forever though and I’m aware to reject the vehicle it has to be done within 30 days. 

The van has been parked up since the V5C was received. I am wanting the seller to collect the van and give my Dad a full refund.


Does anyone have any advice please?



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Please stop putting XXX in place of the seller's name. Please tell us the seller's name, link is to the eBay account and the Facebook page.

You say that you have evidence that these people are trading in these vehicles. Make sure that you gather all of this evidence very carefully – screenprints et cetera.

Was this a van that they owned as a business anyway? What is their business? Presumably this van is not a vehicle which they use personally but simply for their trade.

If an item which you buy demonstrates a defect within the first 30 days of ownership then you are entitled to reject it and insist on full refund. Although most traders will not conform to their statutory obligations, you should still assert your right. This means that you must write them an email and/or a letter pointing out the problem with the van and that you are now asserting a right under the consumer rights act 2015 and you are rejecting it and you require a refund. You also require that they make arrangements to collect the vehicle. Emphasise to them that not only is the van defective but also it does not conform with the description given of it in the advertisement which you relied upon.
If you have any doubt about the wording then post a draft here and we will have a look. It doesn't need to be particular complicated or pompous

You need to be careful here about letting them have the vehicle without having the refund because you might end up without the vehicle and also without your refund. You will need to discuss with us what particular actions you intend to take.

In terms of relying on your legal insurance people – don't rely on them. They are totally unreliable. Don't imagine you're going to get any kind of quality advice or action from them. These people simply want your money and they want an easy life. They certainly won't advise you to assert your consumer rights act within the first 30 days. You say that you took delivery of the vehicle on 16th May. The 30 days is running out. Make sure that you send the assertion of rights on Monday.
Keep copies of everything.

Just by way of an amusing exercise, let's see whether your legal insurance advise you to do this and whether it happens within the first 30 days. I shall be very surprised.

When you give us further details of the people you are dealing with then we can advise you further but you must send your letter asserting your right to reject. This is extremely important. This will be the basis upon which you will bring a legal action against them – if necessary. Unfortunately it probably will be necessary.

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