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private seller legal help please


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Hi guys,


Need some help and advice please. 


I owned a mk4 golf gttdi and put it for sale on various sites.  Bought my wife another car and due to work commitments the car was sat on driveway for about 2-3 months.


Had some free time so decided to sell it.  Asking price was £1000. Somebody came to see it and liked it.  The only defect with the car I was aware of was an intermittent brake light switch which told the buyer about.  The car was sorn'd but had mot til May of this year.  The buyer wanted to test drive the car but when asked if he had insurance to drive another car he said no.  I did say he won’t be able to take the car on a test drive due to lack of insurance but his brother who was on his way and was insured will be able to drive the car.  I also informed them both that the car had no tax and with a police station literally 100m up the road it was their risk if they wanted to take it out.  No test drive was taken.  The buyer haggled me down to 875 and we shook on it.  Made him out a receipt with our details, car details, price and the following statement.


"The undersigned purchaser acknowledges receipt of the above vehicle in exchange for the cash sum of £.........., this being the price agreed by the purchaser with the vendor for the above named vehicle, receipt of which the vendor hereby acknowledges. It is understood the vehicle is sold as seen, tried and approved by the purchaser."


We both signed it and off he went.  He came back an hour later saying he didn’t want the car, giving excuse that clutch was shot (it wasn’t, bite was still really low down on pedal) and the camshaft was gone (it hadn’t).


He threatened me with court action if I didn’t give him a refund.  Low and behold a letter from the county court has come through yesterday. 


What shall I do now??  I was a private seller and not in trade.


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Very sorry to read about your problem.
I’m no expert, but
1. Are you sure the letter is real? Could it be mocked up?
2. And the buyer signed a receipt that states ‘sold as seen’, in my eyes that’s sealed the deal! They have no leg to stand on.
But I could be wrong. Good luck

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You have put sold as seen on your receipt but the "tried and approved" part is what will trip you over at court as they never tried it.

Let it go to court. You done what was right in refusing the allow a test drive as that would have been illegal. The buyer still wanted to buy the car. You gave a reduced price almost as a bargaining factor against the lack of test drive and factoring in the risk of buying with no test drive.

Clutch could have been tested on the driveway. Handbrake up, first gear, no revs and find the bite. Keep releasing the clutch and see how far you can go before the car stalls. If it's almost instant, you have a good clutch. If you get near the top of peddle the clutch is on the way out. (might not be a perfect test but it's a good indicator.)

Your case will be:

Sold as seen and agreed with buyer.
Would've been illegal to test drive and buyer knew the risk.
Discount given on original price factoring in no test drive.
All defects that you were aware of were disclosed to the buyer.

If you're concerned about the reality of the court letter, give the court a call and ask for confirmation.

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