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Should the seller beware?

Six months ago I sold a 40 year old classic Honda 250 trail bike to a fella in the West Country. I live in Kent. Everything was fine, the bike was in really good order and he got a good deal at £2,500. I made a loss on what I paid for it. Fast forward six months and the buyer phoned me up ranting and raving that the starter motor had failed and he wanted his money back. When I refused he said he was going to bring it back, ram it through my front door and knock my [edited f-word] head off! I told him I’d phone the police if he turned up at my house. He then said he would “take me to court”. Obviously I’ve been on tenterhooks ever since!
Does he have a case? Should I give him his money back?

Anonymous, by e-mail



The basic rule in English and Welsh Law is ‘caveat emptor’ – let the buyer beware. It is the buyer’s job to exercise due diligence and ensure that he is getting what he is paying for. If you were selling in the course of business, (e.g. as a garage or motorcycle retailer) the Sale of Goods Act 1979 implies into contract various terms to ensure that the goods are of satisfactory quality. However, you were not selling in the course of business. Providing you did not make false statements or give false assurances in relation to the bike you are not guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation and as such caveat emptor applies – you are under no legal obligation to provide a refund.

The amount of time that has passed since the sale would also imply that any issues with the motorcycle were not present at the time of the sale.



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