AVOID BUYING A PUP
People buy classics all the time, but what if the one you buy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
‘The statement “sold as seen” does not give a trader a getout clause’ ANDREW LEAKEY, STEPHENSONS
April and May are traditionally strong months for classic car buying. Owners get itchy feet around this time, keen to offload a car or two in order to free up space, so that another classic can be bought.
Buying classics from traders might be the safest option legally, but there are other advantages, as Richard Wrightson of Cotswold Collectors Cars of Bibury, Gloucestershire explains: ‘Apart from legal protection, buyers also benefit from trader experience. We encourage customers to be part of our ‘club’. Should something go wrong postsale, we do all that we can to help. It is highly unlikely that you will get this support from a private vendor.’
However, while most classic traders also provide extra guarantees, Andrew Leakey, head of the Dispute Resolution department at national law firm, Stephensons, says warranty – or a lack thereof – is not a black and white issue. He says: ‘Independent warranties cannot affect your entitlement enshrined under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, when you buy from a trader. The statement ‘sold as seen with no warranty given or implied’ does not give the trader a get-out clause. The court will also consider the purpose of a car sale. If a vehicle was intended for spares and not for roadworthiness, a court would not require a trader to bring it up to running standard.’
Buying privately might be a cheaper option. But you have few come-backs, unless you can prove that the vendor’s primary motive was for profit; making them a trader/ dealer in the views of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and, therefore, restoring consumer rights that would not apply otherwise. You might wish to see if other vehicles are advertised for sale and methods that you could use include checking if the yellow section of the V5C is missing and verifying that the vendor is selling cars via a trade/ business account on a physical or online auction.
However, should a domestic seller make false claims in an advertisement, thereby misrepresenting the vehicle to inflate its value, you could consider making a personal legal claim for a partial refund, at least.
Even so, you must never be unreasonable. It can be impossible for an innocent vendor to be aware of every past repair and current foible affecting a car that is many decades old.
Looks great, doesn’t it? But there’s redress for buyers if a classic turns out to be a bad ‘un.