When a person buys a second-hand vehicle from a private seller, their rights will be somewhat limited and will not be as extensive as if they had bought it from a dealer.
In general, there is no legal requirement for the vehicle to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose. Therefore, the buyer will only have rights in the following situations:
• If the vehicle did not match the description given, whether in the advert or any subsequent discussions. This would amount to breach of contract or misrepresentation. So the key here is whether the car was advised as having never been on an accident or if you had asked them this question and they confirmed that it hadn't been involved in an accident. Failure to mention anything about this would not be unlawful because the seller would not have made any claims about this issue so it is not like they can be accused of misrepresenting the position
• If the seller broke a specific contractual term – e.g. if they fail to do something they specifically agreed to, for example, fix certain faults or provide an MOT. This is also going to be a breach of contract
• If the seller was actually a dealer posing as a private seller - this is an unfair commercial practice and can even be a criminal offence
• If the vehicle is unroadworthy – this occurs if its brakes, tyres, steering or construction make it unfit for the road. This will also be a criminal offence.
In the first instance, any issues with the vehicle should be resolved directly with the seller. You can also use threats of legal action as a negotiating tool, although I would only recommend formal legal action if you have valid grounds where you can show your situation falls within one of the circumstances listed above.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you must follow if you decide to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you