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Public enema

Unfortunately you are incorrect about the implications of selling a car to a member of the public on trade terms at trade price. I recently did exactly this, selling a car at ‘stand-in price’ (it had been with me quite a while), which represented a fair price for trade on the day, not to mention saving the client around £800 on retail screen price. I provided (at my suggestion) a new MoT, even though the car had one for a couple of months) and obtained a signature to the effect that the car was ‘Sold as seen, tried and approved- no warranty given or implied.’ Two weeks later I had a complaint from the purchaser about the exhaust blowing and a warning light intermittently appearing. I offered as goodwill to investigate the light if the client paid for the exhaust repair. Next thing I had a visit by a Trading Standards Officer who informed me that it was illegal to sell the car they way I had done because all cars sold to non-genuine car dealers should be provided with a warranty by law. He stated that I must address the problems or be taken to court over the issues. Rather than gain a bad reputation (I have been trading here for 44 years) I offered a full refund or an alternative car. The purchaser asked for the refund, brought in the key and required me to fetch the car from the next village (where he lived). When I arrived with my driver, I found it was damaged at the front where he had hit someone up the back. He professed to know nothing of this, of course. However, I simply brought the car back and traded it as it was for the same price. I thought you should know this, in view of your comments in the above letter. Logic does not always apply with government departments.

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Members of the public are shafting quite a few smaller car dealers in this way. The difference is whether the car is sold on trade terms for the purchaser to resell, or whether it is a retail sale. Because you are a retailer, you actually retailed this car in this case. The 'trade price' you sold it for is only part of the test. If your invoice had detailed that the car was "sold on trade-to-trade terms to be re-sold by the purchaser", then he could not invoke Sale of Goods or the CPRs or Clegg v Olle Anderson 2003 or anything else. That's all detailed here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights . Traders also need to be aware that if they retail a car they need to include in the Terms and Conditions of Sale that if anything should go wrong with the car, this must first be referred to them for rectification or a refund, otherwise buyers are getting away with repairing faults, billing the supplying dealer and having this cost upheld by a Small Claims Court.
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