I bought a used car from a private selle...

Asked by Lourensia on 02-03-2024 15:12:31
Question posted in the Consumer Protection Law category relating to North West

I bought a used car from a private seller. It started giving me problems the first day so I took it to a service agent for overall inspection and service. They found so many things seriously wrong with this car that they didn't even want to repair it. They deemed it not roadworthy and a danger for me. They said it shouldn't even be sold. Just as scrap. They gave .e a full report. I informed the seller. This was 4days after sale. He denied knowing about any problems. And refused to give me a refund. He didn't disclose any of the serious damage on the car. It cost me R30 000

Further information relating to Question:

I have a full inspection report from the service agrnt as well as written conversations with the seller

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 02-03-2024 18:52:01

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

O my gosh ... I'm really sorry to hear that your car is giving you so many hassles. It really can't be nice having to deal with all of that. 

The default position in our law is based on the Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) principle.

Caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that translates to "let the buyer beware." It means that an individual buys at their own risk. Potential buyers are warned by the phrase to do their research and ask pointed questions of the seller. The seller isn't responsible for problems that the buyer encounters with the product after the sale.

In many jurisdictions, it is the contract law principle that places the onus on the buyer to perform due diligence before making a purchase. So, it would really have been up to you to inspect the car, or ask questions of the owner as to the quality of the car, or send the car for a proper inspection, BEFORE you buy it. 

The only escape that you have is that if the seller KNOWS that there is some sort of defect, and he fails to disclose it, and it is a material defect, and he tries to cover it up, then the seller can't rely on the "buyer beware" principle and you could then hold the seller liable for the costs of fixing that specific issue. 

So it really does come down to what questions you asked of the seller, and whether you can prove that the seller knew of certain issues and tried covering those issues up...

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