If you have purchased a vehicle and later discovered faults with the vehicle your rights and remedies will very much be dependent on the status of the seller.
You have to be careful when purchasing a vehicle from a private individual as your rights and remedies are limited as the consumer law protections do not apply.
Purchasing a vehicle from a private individual will be subject to the “buyer beware” principle. This means that the onus is on you as the purchaser to make sure that you have fully inspected the vehicle. However, there are certain circumstances when you can seek redress:-
- If the seller is not the legal owner of the vehicle.
- If the vehicle does not match the description that was given by the seller.
- If the vehicle is not roadworthy.
There is very little legal protection if you purchase a vehicle at an auction as the car is sold as seen. Generally the auctioneer won’t be liable if the seller doesn’t have the right to sell the car e.g. if it is stolen. Any remedy will be against the seller- if you can find him.
Some auctions offer ‘guarantees’ or insurance but the protections may be limited.
If you purchased a vehicle from a trader then you will have protections under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which state that the vehicle must be:-
- ‘Of satisfactory quality’ – meaning the vehicle should be able to do what you would expect it to do for a vehicle of its age, price and type.
- ‘Fit for purpose’ – for example, if you asked for a vehicle that can pull a caravan then it must be able to do so.
- ‘As described’ – the vehicle must match its description. This applies to the advertisement and to anything which you were told by the seller prior to the purchase of the vehicle.
If any issues arise then you should contact the seller as soon as possible and within the first 30 days of purchase where possible as you have a short-term right to reject the vehicle within the first 30 days. If you exercise this right the seller must then provide a full refund within 14 days.
If the fault is spotted after the first 30 days then the seller has one opportunity to try to repair the vehicle and if this is not successful or possible then the seller must offer a refund or exchange. The refund may not be a full refund as it may account for use of the vehicle.