I sold a car and the engine failed the next day making it a right off. Do I have to refund the buyer?


I sold a ten year old car to someone and they have already paid for it. The next day the cambelt snapped shattering the pistons. The car needs a new engine, making it a right off. The buyer has requested a full refund. Do I legally have to refund them?

In the UK, legally no. They can make as much fuss and noise as they like, but particularly in the case of a cambelt, it’s just tough luck. There’s no way a failure can be predicted.

There’s also the possibility they’re trying it on. It’s not uncommon for people to buy a car then swap the good component for a bad one and try to claim their money back..Tell him to do one.

It seems you did everything right and being a private sale with no warranty then you are not obliged to give a refund.

You say the car is a write off… how do you know this… a new engine may make it a write off but what about a second hand one? Hard to make suggestions because no details of the car.

If the car could be repaired with second hand parts, and if you feel bad about the situation you could offer to pay towards costs, but… I’m not suggesting you do that… that’s down to how you feel.

Bottom line is you got lucky by selling a car just in time, as for the new owner, that’s just his bad luck I’m afraid.

No, you don’t have any obligation to refund the money if you sold the car privately.

Who is to say the buyer didn’t get over excited with his new car &amp: give it a bit of a thrashing which finished off the cambelt?

I was a bit confused there for a moment until I realised you meant ‘write’ off lol. It depends on how you described it. If you said it was in good condition then it obviously wasn’t and so you would be liable. Did you tell the buyer that it hadn’t had a cam belt change? Did the buyer ask if the cam belt had been changed? Did the buyer ask if it had a full service history? If it had a full service history, it would be reasonable for the buyer to assume the cam belt had been replaced. Other than that it’s a case of ‘caveat emptor’ or buyer beware!

If it was a private sale it is sold without a warranty and is sold as seen. Bad luck to the buyer, you are not obliged to give a refund.

You know the car inside out, so legally you don’t owe them a penny but deep down you should know whether you should give them back nothing or a certain percentage.

If you were a private seller (not in the vehicle trade), in the UK, then legally no. However you may feel that you have a moral obligation to refund some or all of the money

You’re in the clear, tough luck on the buyer i’m afraid.

maybe he damaged the cambelt, or changed it, and now he wants the money back

BUT LISTEN, he might get angry and some day do something really bad against you because he knows where you live (e.g. put it on fire, becuase I would) 😛

legally no, morally yes, life is much better when you as a good person do the right thing..you will feel better when you return the money and will be able to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing…

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