/ Selling a car - contract?

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Fozzy on 13 Jun 2018

I’m getting rid of my old knacker of a car tomorrow to some bloke from a FB selling site. It’s not in the best of condition, and is losing both oil & coolant at a reasonable rate. 


The chap has said he’ll definitely buy it, and hasn’t asked any questions about it (nor have I made out that it’s in good nick on the advert, just that it’s got 4 wheels, seats and other normal car parts.)

As the seller, is it a good idea to do a contract saying it’s sold as seen, no warranty & the buyer has inspected it, so if or when it does die, he can’t come back and complain to me about it? Or is that opening me up to legal issues if it’s worded incorrectly? 

The way I see it, a car for £200 isn’t going to be amazing, but some people don’t tend to be as logical.  

balmybaldwin - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

I thought as a non trade seller the same is always sold as seen buyer beware as neither the seller or buyer have any real expertise. Certainly I didn't both when I sold my old jag for 3k

Luke90 on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Have you actually told him that it's "losing both oil and coolant at a reasonable rate"?

I can't imagine that you'll have any legal hassles unless you've been dishonest. Even if you have, I think it would be unlikely anyone would pursue legal action, let alone succeed.

If it was me, I wouldn't bother with a contract but I would clearly tell the buyer about any issues with the car that I was aware of. Not really for legal reasons, it just seems like the right thing to do.

Fozzy on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

No, but he’s not asked. If he does, I’ll be honest about it, but I’d be an idiot to go around pointing out all the faulty bits. 

The last MOT report says it’s got an oil leak, so if he’s done his homework then he’ll see that. 

I just don’t want to end up with him not being happy after a few or so and trying to get his money back, caveat emptor or not. 

Luke90 on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

You can see it as "being an idiot" or you can see it as "doing the right thing". Personally, I think it's the latter.

If, as you assume, he's savvy enough to be expecting issues like that at the price then he won't much care when you tell him about them. If your argument is that he must be expecting it anyway then you've got nothing to lose by telling him.

If he's naive enough to think he's getting a brilliant car at a bargain price then you've bought yourself some good karma by clarifying for him. He might be impressed by your honesty anyway.

I know that's not necessarily the way most people expect sellers to behave but it would be a nicer world for everyone if they did.

I wouldn't go around a car I was selling pointing out every bump, scrape and imperfection. Those are clearly visible to anyone who cares to look, regardless of their expertise. I would point out any significant issues I'm aware of that aren't visible to inspection. The kind of things, like pissing oil and water, that you only discover over the course of time. Perhaps I'm being a complete fool but that just seems like common decency to me. (Though I wouldn't be naive enough to expect the same from anyone I bought from.)

It also saves you from having to worry about him hassling you later, as you currently seem to be. Perhaps your conscience already thinks you should be more forthcoming.

Post edited at 18:26
Dax H - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

I'm with Luke  tell him and he can make an informed decision. Personally I wouldn't sell a £200 car privately  I would either part ex it or bung it through the block or just scrap it, a decent yard should go about £100 on it for scrap and save you any potential hassle. 

Fozzy on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

I got offered £50 PX or £68 scrap on it (after shopping around), thus why I chucked it on FB. If he does ask about it, I’ll be completely honest. 

I’ve had a look elsewhere for contracts & it seems AA have one you can pinch so I think I’ll give that a go. 

bedspring on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

You are over thinking this, take the money, make sure you do the log book correctly, and send it on its way.

Blue Straggler - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to bedspring:

You make a contract that is also a receipt.

It is no hassle. You either type and print out, or hand write, on a piece of A4, “I bedspring have accepted £200 from FB guy in exchange for this old banger sold as seen, and V5 documentation is already taken care of” and you sign it and give it to him.


Also make another “contract” in the same way “I, FB guy, accept my purchase of this old banger in a ‘sold as seen’ state”


I have done this with the last three cars Ive bought privately and one I sold privately 

it is legally binding yet not daunting or onerous. Buyer should be happy to know that you are not about to phone the police to report it as stolen

Wainers44 - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

It's not a contract, but a receipt signed by him stating sold as seen, no warranty as to condition either given or implied. For £200 if he isn't happy with that then tell him to Foxtrot Oscar.

As a very un streetwise 19 year old I managed to sell a car for a few hundred quid to a total nutter who took me to court for the cost of repairs he said the car needed! I had no money or choice but to try to defend it as he wanted more than he had paid for the car!! He agreed to settle for £100 quid on the steps of the court. I was just relived not to have to find all the money.

Get the signed receipt. Its not completely nutter proof, but having it would help.....

Big Steve - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Sold as seen. If he asks, be honest. If he doesn't ask, it becomes his problem.Never heard of anybody using a contract for a privately sold second hand car before

Ferret on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

What Blue Straggler says - I've done that mostly so both seller (myself) and Buyer have something to show car is/is not their problem any more. Date and time - no ambiguity if he fires through a speed camera 5 minutes after leaving your house and then claims later that he bought the car 5 hours later and the points must be yours etc.

Nothing heavy or scary - just names, addresses, car, mileage, sold as seen and date and time to the minute.

As others have said - I tend to fess up to anything relevant that I know about (note that all sellers will have their own personal definition of relevant however) - not bumps and scrapes (although I have also pointed them out iun adverts before now to remove opportunity for a buyer to haggle over them all) but actual ongoing/known problems. I wouldn't say 'the brakes probably only have a few months left on them' as that is vague and pretty much expected... wear and tear items, but I would say I have to top up the coolant every X days/weeks and it is leaking oil at rate of X amount of top up every now and again as they are not really expected and are a problem rather than wear items. Relying on 'he didn't ask' seems a bit unfair and at £200 the buyer should be expecting issues in any place. Far easier to be upfront about everything and say that it is all reflected in the price in any case. Were it perfect you wouldn't be after 200. Far less chance of either outrage from the buyer or a brick through your new cars window if he is a nutter who takes umbrage when it blows up in an oil-less engine seized kind of a way next week.

Fruit on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Look up car sale contract pdf, I’m pretty sure the AA have one on their site. Print two copies both sign. Job done

James Malloch - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Without knowing anything about cars, could losing oil and coolant cause  more serious damage to the car? Or cause unexpected breakdowns?

If he knew about the problems he could keep on top of it to reduce these risks? It could be that he has very little money and needs to get his kids to school or have it in case of emergency. 

You're clearly not obligated to tell him but for the sake of a hundred quid it would be be a decent thing to do. Or at least chuck a bottle of coolant and oil in the boot so he can top up when getting warnings miles away from home...

NottsRich on 14 Jun 2018
Kemics - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Bit cheeky to say you'll only mention if he asks. That's stretching the definition of honesty. Kind of like saying "i cheat on my wife but if she ever asked i would be completly honest about". Maybe just mention it in the first place? Like will you answer if he asks if there's anything wrong with it generally or does have to ask specifically. "Is there anything wrong with the window mechanisms" no. "Anything wrong with the alternator" no. "Anything wrong with the coolant system" ah fair cop, guv. Im an honest bloke; yeah its pissing out coolant. 

For £200 car you expect things wrong, its unlikely to put them if you rip someone off they always know where you live  

Toerag - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

In the world of boats (which is not dissimilar), the document you need to use is a 'bill of sale'.

Post edited at 13:05
Fozzy on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

> Might be useful:

Cheers, I used the AA template in the end. 

When the chap & his dad eventually turned up (40mins late), I discovered they were motor traders rather than a normal bloke after a cheap car as he’d initially said, so any chance of actually pointing out faults to them went straight out the window.

They spent ages checking it out, signed the AA contract and went away happy. As did I knowing the absolute crapheap isn’t my problem any more. 

springfall2008 - on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

I've always done a printed receipt for the amount with the registration number and the persons details and mark as sold as seen.

Get the buyer to sign and take a copy for yourself.

Why, because if he gets 3 speeding tickets on the way home or asks for his money back you have proof!

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