What are our rights after buying an unroadworthy car in a private sale?

My son bought a BMW 1 Series this week from a private seller for £2500. He has had it five days and only driven it 25 miles. Yesterday, it failed to start. It would turn over but not fire up. When we got it looked at, the boot where the battery is located was soaking wet - hence causing electrical shorts. I feel this car was sold in an unroadworthy condition as the buyer had replaced the battery three days prior and had the car valeted when we picked it up (by the looks of it, to disguise the wetness in the boot carpet). My son may now be needing to spend a lot to get this sorted. What are your thoughts? In her sales description, she had put great condition - but also put sold as seen on her receipt. Thanks.

Asked on 22 June 2020 by Sean L

Answered by Dan Powell
When you buy a car privately, you do not get the same level of legal protection as you would from a dealer or trader. You could argue that the car wasn't accurately described and demand a refund or part-payment for the cost of the repair. However, if the seller refuses, you'll need to seek legal advice and take action via the small claims court. This can be expensive and there's no guarantee that you'll win.
Similar questions
I have just privately bought an Audi A4. One reason for buying was service book check-boxes ticked and stamped by main dealer, including toothed belt at 50,000 miles. Upon checking with main dealer they...
My used car was advertised and sold to me as having metallic paint and climate control. Three months on, I've discover that it has neither. I took your advice and requested that the trader compensate me...
I purchased a Peugeot 206 two days ago and have just found out today that its actually unroadworthy. I have spoken with citizens advice and they have told me I'm entitled to a full refund or for the seller...
Related models
Great range of diesel and petrol engines. High-tech yet intuitive nav and media system. Slick ride and handling.
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car