A member asked about 8 years ago

Bought a defective car, what can I do?

I purchased a used car in a private sale 10 days ago. Seller says bought car brand new. All services on time, i know of the mechanic that seller claims to do service with, (know several people who have their car serviced there) 'must be great car'. Car shows problems next day of purchase. Only when warmed up. Have documentation from seller that unsafe problems with car fixed prier to me buying it. Contacted seller, claims to not know anything and now not answering. No documents from mechanic he claimed to do services. Also missing documents for services. Is there anything i can have done? Do i have any legal rights? Only want seller to pay for repairs or money back. 

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. It sounds like you are in a difficult position. Your purchase of the vehicle was pursuant to a legal contract that was formed between you and the seller. A contract does not need to be in writing – it can simply be an oral agreement between two parties about a particular transaction. Your legal rights will depend on the terms of that contract.


From the information provided, it appears that the seller has failed to hold up their end of the bargain by providing you with a defective vehicle. This is likely to be a fundamental breach of the contract, entitling you to bring a legal claim for compensation or ‘damages’. You may also be able to make a legal claim against the seller for ‘misrepresentation’, which means the seller made false statements to you during negotiations about the status or history of the vehicle. These legal claims would need to be made in the NSW Local Court, which decides small civil disputes such as yours.


You should note that, although you may theoretically have a legal claim against the seller, enforcing your rights may be practically difficult or costly. Before pursuing court proceedings, you may want to send a letter to the seller setting out the basis of your legal claim and formally requesting payment for repairs or a total refund on the sale. This is called a ‘letter of demand’ and is best prepared by a lawyer.


Suggested way forward

You can find out more information about fair trading and consumer disputes by visiting www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au. You may also want to consider speaking to a lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and advise you of the best course of action. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered about 8 years ago   Legal disclaimer

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