Dealer dodging responsibility? - davidh
Hi all,

A relative of my SWMBO has just bought a '95 punto from a second hand car dealer. Admittedly she only paid £290 for it with a short T'n'T , but it its tidy enough and seems a good buy.

Thing is, the dealer sold it to her on the basis that it "was sold as scrap" and had this written on the receipt. He basically said that because of this, "dont expect to be coming back with it" if theres any problems with it. Realistically its not a rolls royce and we have very low expectation at this price but it just seems to me that its a way of cheapy car dealers shirking responsibility.

Theres probably little profit in it for a dealer to allow for a repair if the engine goes bang tomorrow but its doesnt seem right to me.

What do you think?


Dealer dodging responsibility? - robcars
I think he's being honest.

If you want a car with a warranty or an expected life you will have to pay for it. If he has sold it to you as scrap thats what he thinks it is. If he could make some money out of it somewhere I'm sure he would.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - PhilDews
But legally speaking, the same statutory rights would apply as they would when buying any goods as a consumer from someone acting as a trader. So by writing 'as scrap' on the receipt makes not a scrap of difference! You cannot remove a statutory right from a consumer by putting a clause on the receipt.

So, if the engine goes bang in the first 6 months (providing it was caused by mechanical failure and had been serviced etc... ) I think your would have a case for it to be repaired, although more than likely you would have your money back.

I'm sure someone will be along to correct me shortly....
Drive Your Way - If anything can, TerraCan
Dealer dodging responsibility? - No FM2R
>>What do you think?

I think they want they're taking the wossname.

£290 AND they want a 3 month warranty, but only after the fact ? If they had insisted beforehand then I'm sure the car would have gone up in price by £1,000 - they've bought a car which sounds like it is fairly priced for what it is, including a lack of warranty. Why whinge about the deal afterwards ?
Dealer dodging responsibility? - jc2
They're extracting the Michael.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - local yokel
If he's selling it as scrap then it's not worth more than £40, though....
Dealer dodging responsibility? - bell boy
cake and eat it comes to mind £290 and you want an enshrined warranty ha ha
i think shmbo relations had it right they couldnt be bothered going to the auctions or paying 32p for a local paper so went to the dealer at the end of their road and looked in the scrap pile round the back and decided to gamble,good luck to them as it may well be a pre auction/scrapper bargain
scrap cars are doing £80 a tonne on the bridge at the moment...........much better than a free plate or baloon i think ;)
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Altea Ego
Its seems to me you have dealt with an honest car dealer, that sold you a car at an honest price.

"way of cheapy car dealers shirking responsibility. but its doesnt seem right to me."

sell me the car for 250 quid, and I will sell it back to you at 1250 with a warranty.

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Armitage Shanks {p}
Not really! It is being sold as 'scrap' and it is worth what someone will pay for it. Market forces and all that!
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Gromit {P}
The dealer is being honest - he's stated clearly that he'll entertain no claims to the car having a warranty because of its low price and old age. Fair enough.

But that wasn't the OP's question - the question was is it legal to for a motor trader to sell a car and not offer a warranty on it.

Consumer Direct's website says that:

"When buying from a dealer, the law says a car must be:
- Of satisfactory quality...bearing in mind the way it was described, how much it cost and any other relevant circumstances...The car must be free from defects, except when they were pointed out to you by the seller.
- As described. A car said to have ?one careful lady owner? shouldn't turn out to have three previous owners, all males under 22.
- Reasonably fit for any normal purpose. It should get you from A to B.
- Reasonably fit for any other purpose you specify to the seller."

AFAIK, a fault that develops within six months of buying the car is deemed to exist at the time of purchase and must be rectified by the dealer. I believe it results from an EU directive, but am open to correction. In this case, considering the Punto is 11 years old and was bought for just £250, I can't see you could reasonably claim any redress. I have no doubt but that, if it were obligatory to sell that car with a comprehensive warranty, it would have gone directly to the nearest scrapyard and its current owner would have had to pay considerably more to get on the road.

However, as a general question, is it legal for a trader to sell a car to a private buyer stating that they will offer no comeback at all on it? And is it legal for a private buyer to drive a car that the dealer described as scrap, which may suggest it isn't roadworthy?
Dealer dodging responsibility? - martint123
But he's not selling a car, he' selling scrap metal.

Dealer dodging responsibility? - pd
What the consumer advice doesn't say is that in the case of consumer law there is an issue of "market price". In the test cases which have set the basis for consumer law on used cars market price has been an important factor.

If the "market price" for a dealer purchased car is an average of £x and you purchase a car for £x-y then the y figure may well be a factor in what you can reasonably claim in the way of backup, warranty etc.

Basically, you can't go around buying cars on the cheap and expect to get the same backup as you would paying retail price. The law is there to protect sellers from spurious claims as much as the purchaser.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Simon
I don't think that this is a way of the dealer shirking responsibility. I think that the dealer is being honest and fair about it.

The way that I see the situation is that the dealer has a car to dispose of that is not quite scrap yet, but not too far off it and by offering it with these terms, ie the short t&t, the cheap price, no warranty and no come back he is making the best use of what life the car has left. The relative of SWMBO has obviously gone out looking for a really cheap car and exactly what else did she expect to get for £290?

This way the dealer has offloaded the car for a fair price and SWMBO's relative has done a deal on a car within her budget. She couldn't really expect to get anything better for £290 and as for a warranty, thats just dreaming. If SWMBO's relative had bought the car privately from an ad in the local paper would she have expected a warranty from the seller?

Dealers do generally have a responsibility to ensure that the products that they are selling are fit for the purpose, as described etc and offer a warranty with them. But when they are selling the dirt cheap stuff (often part exchanges) to punters then I think that expecting them to give you a warranty and or some come back is being unreasonable.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - davidh
Thank you all for your views so far. I do have sympathy for the dealer and I can see both sides. At the end of the day she's chancing it at this price level.

What gets my dander up a little is that she took it for a spin, said "i'll have it" and then when in the office the dealer says all this about sold as scrap etc.It wasnt presented to her as scrap when the car was presented for sale (i.e what a lovely little runner) I always thought that its either scrap or it isnt - I'd insist that the V5 is returned to the DVLA saying vehicle scrapped if its sold as scrap - maybe its just me and semantics.

I reckon a week for the customer to run about in it then wash hands is the best approach from a dealer at this level, with a general only come back if the engine or gearbox blows etc - how you'd allow in law for this I dont know but fairs fair.

I dont believe in whining about cars at this price but I dont like the idea of this "sold as scrap" (stated at the last minute) being used as some sort of trading mechanism to move cars which are being sold to general public in a normal used car dealer fashion.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Armitage Shanks {p}
If the V5 is returned to DVLA, with the vehicle sold as scrap, you won't be able to retax it - if the question ever arises. If she liked the car and the dealer then told her it was scrap she didn't have to buy it. When/if it is really scrap it might be worth £100. If it runs 3 months it will have cost £200 which is cheap compared with the depreciation on anything worthwhile.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Clanger
'95 punto
"was sold as scrap" and had this written on
the receipt.
"dont expect to be coming back with it"

It seems as if the dealer has stated his position clearly, and well done him for doing so. The buyer didn't have to buy the car having been fed this information, they could have walked. Seems fair (but not necessarily EU legal) to me.
Stranger in a strange land
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Thommo
Well really one for Pug but I seem to remember from my law lessons that two individuals can not nullify the effects of a statutory law by agreement between themselves.

As an off topic example a man can get a woman to sign a document saying 'if we divorce I won't claim any money from you'. Doesn't mean a damn in a divorce court.

I think the law is clear on this one the dealer has given a six month warranty on the car by selling a car as a car dealer full stop. If it was scrap it would have been scrapped and removed from DVLA records. Its not scrap its a functioning vehicle.

The buyer may indeed be taking the mick if they come back demanding a new engine after 5 months and 29 days but I think they have every legal right to do so.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Galaxy
I'm very surprised that car dealers are willing to sell cars at this sort of price to anyone.

I would think they are quite likely to be more trouble than they are worth.

I believe the dealer in this case has been quite fair.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - pd
You are correct that technically the effects of a statutory law cannot be easily nullified. However, under English law, rules are not usually set by such things but by case precedents.

The SoGA may well say one thing, but if test cases have resulted in completely different out comes then a court will almost always follow those regardless of what the SoGA might say.

In the case of SoGA with regard to used cars, the price, comparison with market price, age, mileage, cirumstances of the transaction etc. are all a factor and no blanket "6 months for anything" warranty in effect exists regardless of what the SoGA may imply.

In reality, use your common sense: If you pay £10,000 for 3 year old 40,000 mile car and the engine blows 6 months down the line up you will have a very strong case for compensation. If you pay £290 then regardless of your supposed rights if the engine blows up 5 months down the line, once the court has stopped laughing, they will tell you to get lost.
Dealer dodging responsibility? - Thommo
With you to a point.

But if the engine blows due to a fault that fault will be deemed to have existed at the time of sale and by not fixing it the car dealer will be deemed to have blown up the engine.

I think you are right that a common sense arguement will be applied probably in the small claims court but will the common sense argument not be refund of £290 or £290 less some notional figure for five months use of the car?

The key point being the dealer has achieved nothing with this wording.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Armitage Shanks {p}
"I think the law is clear on this one the dealer has given a six month warranty on the car by selling a car as a car dealer full stop"

IF this is the case, how does a dealer sell a truly scrap car as 'scrap?
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Thommo
'IF this is the case, how does a dealer sell a truly scrap car as 'scrap?'

By notifying DVLA it has been scrapped using the V5. The purchaser would need to re-register the car to legally put it on the road.

What I assume has happened is that the car has been listed as sold from one owner to the next using the V5 QED it is not scrap as it hasn't been scrapped.

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - pd
Whatever fault may or may not have existed, believe me that if you tried to get a refund of £290 after 5 months all you would end up with is a bill for legal costs and be considered a joke and, yes, with any car if a refund is offered the refund is normally less the depreciation due to mileage and increase in age whilst the car was performing OK.

In other words if you buy a car and do 10,000 perfectly good miles in it over 5 months and then claim a refund for something which suddenly goes you will only be able to claim for its value minus 10,000 miles and 5 months depreciation. The only case where this wouldn't apply is if a persistent fault has stopped you using the car but if you'd covered serious mileage in it that would be hard to argue.

The SoGA with regard to cars is designed to stop dodgy dealers selling pups to unsuspecting consumers at full retail prices and walking away or stop new cars with persistent faults being fobbed off onto some poor new owner. It is not designed, and does not, mean you can buy cars cheap from cheap sources such as ebay or old cars on their last legs or whatever and get the same back-up as you would for a full retail priced car from your local dealer.

In used cars you generally get what you pay for and the SoGA and the courts recognise that.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
according to the dept. of trade and industry:
2nd-hand-car dealers:

Secondhand vehicles must conform to the legislation affecting their construction and use (that is, their roadworthiness under the Road Traffic Act 1988) and, where appropriate, be accompanied by a
current MOT Certificate. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, used cars supplied by a trader must also be of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose. Consumers should be able to buy a car which is in
reasonable mechanical condition (for its age) and is safe. The following conduct will be considered to have a bearing on the fitness of a licensee or applicant:
a) discouraging consumers from examining or having vehicles examined
b) selling or offering to sell vehicles which are not of a satisfactory quality or fit for their purpose
c) supplying, offering to supply or exposing for sale on your forecourt, in your showroom or other part of your premises including on the highway, an unroadworthy3 vehicle, in contravention of section 75(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and/or regulation 9 of the General Product Safety Regulations 1994
d) altering4 the construction, weight or equipment of a vehicle so that under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it would be unlawful to use it on the road in that condition
e) obtaining or providing stolen or fraudulent MOT documents
f) using terms such as 'trade sale', 'must not be driven on public roads until put into a roadworthy state' or 'awaiting preparation' in a consumer transaction. .....

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
p.s. add the following:

The following will also be considered to have a bearing on the fitness of a licensee or applicant:
using or making restrictive statements in particular those that purport to restrict Sale of Goods Act 1979 rights

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - pd
It's quite true that statements such as "sold as seen" have no meaning in law.

In some ways, I think that is quite restrictive. There are lots of car buyers (such as many people here) who would quite happily buy cheap cars such as px's etc. from main dealers on a sold as seen basis and waive their rights to comeback. They can't because such rights can't be waived so the dealers won't sell them leaving auctions the only source for non-trade buyers to buy cheap.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Galaxy
Cars of this nature are usually sold from the roadside in a lay-by, like in a recent edition of "Rogue Traders".

Here the SoGA doesn't apply, well, actually it does apply but it's almost impossible to enforce and anyone who does try to enforce it is likely to have a breakdown truck driven at them!
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Thommo
Sorry PD but theres a strong whiff of 'I want this to be so' in your post.

The law seems to me fairly clear and the situation seem to me to be fairly clear. A car dealer sold a car to punter. What he writes on the receipt is irrelevant.

The case would only go to Small Claims and the only legal fee would be the cost of filing and if my experience is anything to go by the dealer will cough something to make the whole thing go away. In the Small Claims court common sense generally prevails and the result would likely be price less x for 5 months use.

Is the law an ass? Maybe. Is the customer extracting the Michael? Definitely. Are laws only ever used for what they were intended to be used for? Well you might want to ask 3 English guys currently sitting in Houston about that.

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - bell boy
no wonder banger bomb sites no longer exist if members of the public want a 6 month warrenty on a bag of tosh,no wonder auctions are full of scrap as well,(incidently i dont take worthless scrap as p/x as they are not worth the hassle (they are at the minute if you can weigh them in and nick the spare mind)
As regards the scrap marker to dvla a dealer or member of the public can only tick this box if he is personally scrapping it (ie breaking it down into composite bits),he can advise dvla of where its gone to be crushed but its up to the bone yard whether they decide to put it back on the road or not and as such the dvla cannot refuse to issue a v5c .
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Altea Ego
well its obvious that the dealer should march round there, give them the 250 quid back, snatch back the car and tell them to walk everywhere.

tis the only fair outcome
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
... no wonder banger bomb sites no longer exist if members of the public want a 6 month warrenty on a bag
of tosh,no wonder auctions are full of scrap as well ...

i remember honestjohn predictiing something this when the new rules came into force.

he has the whole soga 2002 amendments listed at

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
and also see his faq no. 2

2. How do I reject a duff car or get compensation for problems with a car I have bought from a dealer?

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Pugugly {P}
Common Sense no longer is abroad in the UK. It's been regulated against, "they're" trying to do it to Common Law as well which is just as frightening.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - DavidHM
As I've said in the earlier post about the Elise though, my view is that something that if you sue over something at this end of the market, it goes like this:-

"Your car that you sold me for £290 three months ago has just snapped a timing belt."

"Did you drive it off the lot?"


"So was the fault present at the point of sale?"

"Er... no."

Then you're back into the satisfactory quality, rather than fit for purpose argument and realistically if it lasts three months at this end of the market, the dealer's not got a lot to prove.

Where problems might arise would be things like suspension, where the punter might not notice a failure until the MoT tester points it out and there is less likely to be any verifiable evidence one way or another.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - pd
The whole issue with the SoGA with regard to used cars is how on earth "satisafactory quality" is defined. With a new TV it's pretty clear, with a used car there are so many variables each case is different.

It is obvious that a 5 year old car with 100,000 miles has less stringent criteria than a 3 year old one with 20,000 miles. In the case of a £290 car "satisfactory" means it stops and goes for a few miles. I do not honestly think a buyer would have any case whatsoever after 5 months. In the case of used cars the price does make a difference - your rights are still there - but the level at which a car is considered to have been satisfactory are drastically reduced.

Various test cases on used cars seem to have set some guidelines. For a start, the general warranty period considered as reasonable seems to have been decided at about 3 months by test cases, trading standards, dealer bodies etc. and it also appears to have been decided that the market price paid is a factor. In other words, a car purchased at Glass's book on ebay the level of "satisfactory quality" is less than that for a full retail price from a franchised dealer. None of this removes your rights - just changes what is claimable under those rights.

The EU says you're entitled to all sorts of compensation when your flight is delayed. Try getting that off easyjet or Ryanair. Just because something is written on a website doesn't mean it works like that in practice.

The SoGA is generally a good thing and as long as you use a bit of common sense is there to protect the consumer. As long as a buyer is reasonable in their expectations then the courts & trading standards will be on the consumer's side. In the case of silly claims they will be on the dealers.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Andrew-T
In these days when bread-and-butter cars lose all value at ten years old, the trade must be awash with roadworthy vehicles which are - realistically - only worth scrap. This environmentally idiotic situation doesn't mean these cars are only fit for scrapping. If a punter pokes around the back of a trader's lot where he parks the hulks he has to accept in part-ex, and finds one he likes, why must the trader say 'sorry mate, daren't sell you that, it's scrap'? Provided the terms are made clear, of course. Punter gets a cheap car, trader gets more than scrap value.

After all, one can buy back a written-off car from one's insurance company - far more risky IMHO.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Gromit {P}
"why must the trader say 'sorry mate, daren't sell you that, it's scrap'? Provided the terms are made clear, of course"

Agree completely, Andrew. But that's why I asked earlier in the thread what the law was, not what was fair or reasonable - the two aren't necessarily the same!

I appreciate, too, the problem the trader faces. A friend asked my brother some time ago to help her find "a cheap runabout to get to work and go shopping". He found her a tidy Skoda Felicia estate at a very keen price locally. She complained at length to him - and the dealer - about it. Why? Because the radio stopped working...
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - robcars
I cant believe anybody could whinge about condition of a car at 290 quid.

I cant believe the (small claim) courts would entertain any claim either.

You can not expect any warranty or comeback at this price regardless of "law".

It would cost more in fees (and sloicitors advice ) to even entertain it.

As always the best advice is (was) if you dont like the deal dont buy the car, at any price level.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Thommo
'I cant believe anybody could whinge about condition of a car at 290 quid.'

People whinge about anything and everything these days and certain punters expect a Rolls Royce for the price of a pint.

'I cant believe the (small claim) courts would entertain any claim either.'

If you file the claim (£30 for claim under £300) the court will hear the case if you get that far, most are settled before the case. Put yourself in the dealers place. Hassle or a bung for the whole thing to go away.

'You can not expect any warranty or comeback at this price regardless of "law".'

Yes you can. Its the law. Common sense is not an issue the law is the issue.

'It would cost more in fees (and solicitors advice ) to even entertain it.'

In Small Claims the only fee is the filing fee you don't need a solicitor and costs of opponent are only awarded against you in extreme cases. This case would not be extreme IMHO.

The OP's original question was 'does writing scrap sale' on the receipt achieve nothing and the answer is no it doesn't. Everything else is up to the court.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - robcars
If i was the dealer I wud be happy to say see you in court!

No way would he bung to silence it, there wasnt enuff money in it to do that
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - bell boy
i totally agree robcars
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Thommo
OK. Lets say your right and the judge will laugh the case out of court.

You will not be awarded fees.

You need to decide if you will engage a solicitor. If so it will cost you more than the bung.

You decide to represent yourself. You must document everything, takes time. You have to attend the court, takes time.

You might have the moral high ground but you also will almost certainly be paying handsomely for the privilege.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Armitage Shanks {p}
Thommo, what you are saying is correct but does not apply to a hearing in a Small Claims Court. You can get a case to court for under £50 and if you lose that is your financial loss. If you win you will get it back. I am not commenting on the merits of the situation described here but on the finances of a Small Claims Court action.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
... does not apply to a hearing in a Small Claims Court ..


armitage: eh? are you sure? i think thommo is talking about the dealer defending a case brought by a consumer, and is correct.

general comment:
afaik - there is nothing in law to stop someone(dealer or not a dealer) selling any car as "scrap" - provided this is made clear rtight at the outset and at no point has the seller tried to describe the car as anything else but scrap and provided the "punter" has accepted that this is the case from the initial discussion about the sale. the seller must at no point describe the car as roadworthy or have it on his premises displayed in a manner which could lead buyers to believe it was anything other than scrap. in other words, a dealer can put up a sign on it saying " lump of scrap metal for sale - £300 only ", but must not describe it as a car.

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Andrew-T
"the seller must at no point describe the car as roadworthy"

Why ever not, if the car is in fact roadworthy? Presumably in this particular case, both parties believed that it was, and (also presumably) the car had a current MoT. The trader effectively said 'you can buy this car for £290 without warranty, but if you don't I shall probably send it for scrap'. That is not the same as saying 'this car should be scrapped'. I don't see ant legal problem unless there has been deception.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - Dalglish
... Why ever not, if the car is in fact roadworthy? ..


cos that is the law, and the law won.

rtf law.

if it is scrap, call it scrap. if it is roadworthy, sell it as that. but then at the last minute do not tell the buyer "by the way, i am going to put on the invoice/receipt that it is scrap".

got that?

Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - pd
Most dealers I know of would most certainly fight it - in fact, you might even find all the local dealers in the area would club together to fight it! It's much cheaper for the dealer in the end to fight one silly claim and win even if it costs them in the short term than set an example by allowing such claims.

I'm not a car dealer but I am involved in the motor trade and believe me most dealers do talk about such things. Most are decent people and follow the rules but they are equally determined to stop silly claims becoming the norm and have a very strong opinion on the subject.
Dealer selling a car as 'scrap' - pd
One extra comment on common sense v law. The law clearly allows for common sense by applying such a vague term as "satisfactory" to the goods in question. In the case of a used car for £290 common sense will almost certainly mean that unless it is a death trap you have no comeback.

Ask Honest John

Value my car